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Finally, the weather has begun to settle, and water temperatures are on the rise. We’ve been back and forth between winter and spring too long, and I’m hoping we have finally shaken that trend.
During the past week and a half, the weather has finally stabilized—allowing fishermen to get out on the water. In addition, the warmer air temperatures have helped raise water temperatures, which has spurred the fish into moving and feeding.
Offshore, the Gulf Stream has finally started to show signs of acting like it’s supposed to. Water temperatures have warmed into the mid–70s, thanks to a large Gulf Stream eddy that has pushed inshore. Species such as wahoo, blackfin tuna and dolphin have been biting. The main species right now is wahoo, but as we progress into May, dolphin will become more prevalent as well.
The mystery is trying to figure out where the yellowfin tuna are. This is traditionally the peak month, but I haven’t seen nor heard of many, if any, being caught anywhere off the Carolinas. They are fish, they have tails and maybe they’ll use them to be here tomorrow.
A bit closer in, the king mackerel are schooling around the Frying Pan tower area as well as most live bottoms in 100-120 feet of water. This time of year, you can find kings in massive schools and literally catch them—some big ones, too—until you are worn out. And then this summer when you are fishing a tournament and need just one good king, you won’t be able to find one. That is how it goes.
Also in this same depth range, the snapper, jumbo sea bass and some grouper are biting. Closer, in the 40-60 foot depth range, the Atlantic bonito have begun showing up. Last weekend, there were good catches around the Jim Caudle and General Sherman reefs off of Little River, S.C. The water temperatures have risen into the mid 60s, and these fish won’t be around much longer as they continue to move north.
However, that is not all bad because as water temperatures push the mid- and upper-60s, the Spanish and king mackerel are closer to moving inshore.
As is often the case in fishing, you wait and wait, and then all of sudden the switch flips and things start happening fast. For the next two months, our area should experience some of the best fishing of the year for many species including dolphin, king mackerel, cobia, wahoo and more.
Oh, yes, don’t forget the inshore fishing. Here at the Ocean Isle Fishing Center, we have been weighing citation trout like they are going out of style. The big fish of the week goes to Brandon Sauls, who weighed a 7.95-pound trout.
Others have reported founder are continuing to move into the inlet mouths and creeks.
All this action is just in time for two upcoming inshore tournaments. This Saturday is the first annual Tripp and Austin’s Backwater Battle. The tournament is hosted out of Holden Beach Marina with registration on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. and fishing all day on Saturday. The targeted species are flounder and trout, so sharpen your hook and get on the water. It should be a great tournament.
Also, the following week, May 2-3 Capt. Kyle Hughes, will be hosting his annual Inshore Classic, Flounder and Trout tournament, out of the Ocean Isle Fishing Center.
For you offshore fishermen, the annual Far Out Shoot Out—Tuna, Dolphin and Wahoo Rodeo will be held out of the Ocean Isle Fishing Center May 9-17.
For more information on these tournaments, visit www.OIFC.com.
Things are happening, so get to the coast and enjoy the great fishing. See you here.