It’s time to start the fishing season

-A A +A
By Brant McMullan, Fishing Correspondent

With the amazingly wild warm weather we have had this winter and early spring, it’s hard to declare a start to the fishing season that the weatherman says never closed. Although conditions have been perfect for weeks and the fish have been co-operating, what’s missing are the fishermen.
I can only imagine the number of baby fish being born because of the lack of fishing pressure; so if there is a silver cloud to the high fuel prices keeping fishermen off the water, maybe that’s it.
The result is if the fishing folks say the heck with high fuel cost, we’re going fishing. There should be the real possibility that there are so many fish out there, they may be jumping in your boat.
Faced with the reality of an expensive trip to the Gulf Stream, the only solution is either rationalization or put more buddies on the boat. On the rationalization side of things, fresh tuna, wahoo and Mahi-mahi cost at least $15 a pound. So if it costs $500 of fuel to go to the stream, that means if you catch 33 pounds of fish, you have covered the cost of your trip by keeping your wife out of the seafood market.
Thirty-three pounds isn’t much to catch, considering this time of the year we catch many wahoo more than 50 pounds and on up to 100 pounds. When you start adding all these numbers, heck, I don’t see how you can afford not to go fishing. How’s that for rationalization?
The other tactic is just to take more folks on your boat. If you divide fuel by four anglers instead of three, that is a 25 percent reduction in cost. When considered on a per-angler basis, that means fuel costs only $1 a gallon, which means you can spend a day in the crystal clear deep blue waters of the Gulf Stream, catch enough fish to feed the neighborhood and spend only about $100. Now that’s an entertainment bargain in anybody’s book.
So with those thoughts in mind, let’s declare fishing season is on. April will bring settling weather and dependable calm weather conditions for Gulf Stream fishing on through June. Tuna, wahoo and Mahi-mahi are waiting along with the possibility of a shot at a blue marlin.
Currently on the fishing scene, the inshore game is picking daily. Trout and redfish are becoming dependable. The water is full of tiny mullet minnows, indicating a good food source for the year’s fishing. The ocean water temperature is in the mid to upper 60s and Spanish mackerel are already being caught along the Brunswick County beaches.  
Don’t be surprised to hear of the first king mackerel being caught around Yaupon/Long Beach this week, almost a month ahead of schedule. Offshore, wahoo, Mahi-mahi, blackfin tuna are being caught, and a smorgasbord is available deep-water jigging, including African pompano, cobia, amberjacks and triggerfish.
Come on down. We need some help catching all these fish.
Brant McMullan, a two-time winner of the SKA national championship, is a charter captain and fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at captbrant@oifishingcenter.com.