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Inshore anglers are looking toward the weekend after being kept away from the water by the high winds from Hurricane Sandy. Water clarity might be a problem for a while, but fish should be on the move and biting.
The piers were reporting their first decent catches of spot before the storm hit. Sunset Beach Pier had a nice morning run last week. Hopefully, the storm will have pushed the larger spot schools southward and they will be in our waters soon. The window to have a good season for spot is growing shorter but there is still time.
With the waters churned up, anglers on the ocean side should concentrate on fish that feed by scent, like spot, black drum and sea mullet (whiting). Fresh bait or artificial bloodworms will catch them on the bottom in and past the surf line.
Inshore, the fishing was good before the storm and the lowered temperatures should have fish on the move and feeding again. The winds continue to be the biggest issue but, hopefully, they will lie down enough this weekend for folks to get a lot of fishing in.
Visibility is a big key in flounder fishing, and although flounder were hitting lures fine before the storm, it might take live bait to tempt them for a few days. Mud minnows, finger mullet and small pinfish are all fine choices for flounder fishing.
The flounder will be there for drifting the inlets and cuts, but the key will be the water clarity, and if it is poor that will reduce strikes when drift fishing. In that case, you should concentrate your time casting live bait to flounder around structures like bridges, docks and rocks.
There were big, over-the-slot red drum at the jetties and in the surf before the storm, but they might have moved on. If they are around, they will hit chunks of fresh cut bait. Slot size and smaller redfish will still be inshore and will hit the same live baits as flounder.
If temperatures are in the low 60s and winds finally slower than 10 mph, this could be a good weekend for fishing. The key is going to be how soon the water clears up enough for visibility not to be the overriding factor.
It is possible the best fishing of fall is still to come and a weather event like the one we have had often jump-starts things. We will know soon, but there is no way to find out if you don’t wet a line.
Jeffrey Weeks, author of “Surf and Saltwater Fishing in the Carolinas,” is a fishing columnist for the Beacon. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow updated fishing reports at www.saltyweeks.com.