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The weather has been anything but stable over the past couple of weeks. There have been a few tolerable days in which fishermen have been able to venture offshore, but for the most part we’ve been relegated to boat maintenance.
The shame of it is the fishing is actually very good right now. Over this past weekend the Ocean Isle Fishing Center hosted Capt. Kyle’s Thanksgiving Speckled Trout Classic. Despite a cold, soaking rain all day long, participants turned up with good catches of trout. The results were based on the heaviest three fish aggregate:
First: Mike Fields/Adam Sellars, 14.90 (first big fish, 5.20).
Second: Brandon Sauls/Clay Morphis, 12.00 (second big fish, 4.60).
Third: Kyle Hughes/Nathaniel Hughes, 11.00 (third big fish, 4.20).
Fourth: Robert Hughes, 9.40.
Fifth: Larry Spainhour, 8.20.
The offshore waters have been producing good catches as well. Last Friday, I guided the O’Neal family, of Monroe, for a morning of nearshore fishing aboard the Carolina Cat. We headed offshore some 8 miles and bottom-fished for sea bass over an area of rocks.
The O’Neals caught sea bass hand over fist; unfortunately, most fell shy of the 12-inch minimum size mark. They did manage a keeper flounder and a few keepers before I decided to make a move.
The seas were a bit rough, so I decided to head back inshore to an area of rocky bottom off Shallotte inlet. We fished 3 miles off the beach and again found the sea bass, this time the O’Neals hooked up with double headers of keeper-size sea bass and we were quickly making dinner. By morning’s end, they had boated a bucket full of jumbo sea bass.
Farther offshore, the king mackerel bite has been red-hot around the Frying Pan Tower. As is typical for this time of year, the kings congregate and school around this tower as they feed on the abundance of bait fish.
Last Saturday, Randy Lingerfelt and family, from Albemarle, weighed in a 37.5-pound king caught at the tower to take over the lead in the Ocean Isle Fishing Center year-round rodeo tournament.
Finally, the Gulf Stream is producing and will continue to produce wahoo from now right on through the spring. The Black Jack and Steeples areas are typical hot spots, so if you have the urge to hear a reel scream, that may the way to go.
Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention the giant bluefin tuna. They are starting to be caught off the Morehead City area, and there have been reported sightings of jumping fish in our area. Last year’s action was not very good in the Carolinas and many blame the unseasonably warm weather. That will certainly not be the case this year, and many of the old-timers are very optimistic the bluefin will again show in good numbers.
That’s pretty much all for this week. I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and is looking forward to the holiday season.
I plan on continuing to fish for bluefin and kings with a trip or two to warmer climates during the winter. I will sign off for now, but if any news of bluefin tuna or other spectacular fishing breaks, I’ll get the full scoop and report.
Brant McMullan is a charter captain and fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.