Being a native of our area, I can attest to the fact that the weather in these parts can change significantly from one day to another. I can also attest to the fact, as Iím sure anyone else who has enjoyed it as much as I have, that the weather weíve been experiencing for the past week has been phenomenal, especially considering we are still pretty much in the prime of summer. The fish are enjoying it too, and the fishing reports reflect just that. Of course better weather means more fishermen fishing, which in turn normally amounts to more fish being caught. But whatever the reason, Iíll take pleasant weather any day of the week, especially in August, and if the fish cooperate or not, itís still fun trying.
Offshore, anglers found some opportunities to head to the deep water late last week and many were rewarded greatly. Those fishing the Gulf Stream found the wahoo bite was back on and some even said it was even better than a couple of months ago when the wahoo fishing was on fire. Of course, itís all a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Some boats even reported having their limits of fish before noon or having no room left in the fish box or fish bag, which is pretty remarkable. Dolphin were also plentiful as were a few tuna and billfish being reported.
Bottom fishermen fishing in the 20-30 mile range found the grouper were eager to eat when they could work their way around the large families of sharks that appear to have taken up residency around just about any ledge or structure you can find. Anglers did report, however, that fewer sharks were being encountered in the deeper offshore water. Areas around 30 miles are holding some good numbers of triggerfish. And as usual, black sea bass can be found just about anywhere starting around 5 miles out.
Right on the beach, anglers are having some fun battling over slot red drum, in the 10-15 pound range, around the Masonboro Inlet jetties. Live finger mullet are the ticket, although fresh cut bait will also work. Naturally this is strictly a catch and release outing for any drum caught that measure more than 27 inches. Should you be lucky enough to wrestle one of these fish to the boat, please make sure it has recovered enough before releasing it.
The kids and I found a couple of these fish just off the inlet, belly up and struggling to swim on Friday, no doubt just having been caught and released from one of the armada of boats fishing the jetty. Fortunately, with a little work between a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old, both of these fish were revived and able to swim away under their own power.
Inshore, the flounder fishing continues getting better with much larger fish showing up at local tackle shops to be weighed. Many fish between 6-10 pounds have been caught the last week or so and with the amount of bait in the water, those fish are going to get even fatter. Slot sized red drum, between 18-27 inches, are being found around the docks and creek mouths in good numbers as well.