By now the word is out, and as the title suggests, it doesn’t take much of a change to influence the fishing in our area, whether it be for the worse, or in this case, for the better. Just when we were talking sub-standard May weather, our area welcomed some warmer temperatures and even though the water temps had not yet responded, the fishing did in extremely substantial fashion. Currently, the area water temperatures are reading in the upper 60s, enough of a change to ignite just about anything in the coming days, but it’s hard to believe it can get much better for this time of year. For the most part, it appears the fish have responded by their internal seasonal schedule, and have not been dictated by what are conceivably the correct weather conditions. Whatever the case, spring fishing has really begun.
We’ll start this week’s reports with the Gulf Stream waters, as sea conditions subsided enough for a couple of days of action, and fast and frantic action it was. Just about every well-known blue water location held fish, including the Swansboro Hole, the Same Ole and the Steeples. Dolphin, also known as mahi, were out in full force as numerous boats reported multiple hookups from fish ranging in size from a few pounds up to the 20-pound mark. Wahoo were also abundant, but it was difficult to pull them out from the surplus of the mahi. A few blackfin tuna and billfish were also reported. A lot of boats reported the fish were found on the shallow side of the rips (temperature changes) they found in the area. Some boats also reported locating a lot of fish around the multiple weed lines spotted.
Inshore of the Gulf Stream, anglers were finally able to enjoy fishing for grouper, which officially opened on May 1. While areas in the 30-mile range held fish, some anglers had decent action as close as 10 miles, although they had to weed through the abundance of black sea bass, which have not yet opened. Areas around 20 miles held fish, but the majority of them were short of being legal. Frying Pan Tower is holding a lot of king mackerel and some cobia.
Just off the beach, the Atlantic bonito have finally shown around the near shore wrecks and reefs. Many boats are reporting great action using small spoons and casting to the schools of fish. Also mixed in the schools are large Spanish mackerel, up to 4 pounds, which will eagerly eat the same small spoons and Got-Cha Plugs. Those who prefer to troll Clark Spoons are also getting into the action.
Not to be outdone, the pier anglers have also gotten into the catching mood with reports of bluefish and Spanish mackerel being caught on Got-Cha Plugs. Live bait anglers looking for king mackerel hooked into two cobia: one weighed 67 pounds and the other was a small juvenile fish. Bottom fishermen are finding some Virginia mullet and black drum on shrimp. Inshore, anglers are finding red drum around the docks and in the creeks. A lot of flounder are also being caught but the majority of them are undersized.