Fall fishing really kicks off as October marks the start of steepest drop in water temperatures | Sports
Here we find ourselves in October along the Crystal Coast, the month with the biggest drop in surf temperatures, from almost 80 degrees at the end of September to almost 70 at the end of the month.
Thus, between the drop in water temperature, the decrease in daylight, the southern trace of the sun, the migration of monarchs, the sulfur butterflies in the air, the ripening sea oats, the dragonflies, and of course, mullet strikes, these are all signs of falling and invigorated fishing.
Yes… “Sign, sign everywhere a sign blocking the landscape, breaking my mind, do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign? “
We and the fish read these signs, thanks to the “Five Man Electrical Band”. Water temperatures will continue to drop until January and will not return to the 80s until July 4.
I mentioned the mullet strikes, but not only are mullet plentiful for many predators, we also see large schools of capucettes, anchovies, and menhaden offering an assortment of food options as well. Some of the first responders are the long lost chompers, mackerel, blues (Where were they this summer?)
False albacore and blues will stick around until fall, but Spanish and Royal macks are starting to move as water temperatures drop into the ’60s. They both tolerate temperatures of up to 68 degrees. about, but if the bait is plentiful, the Spaniards will hold it around 65 degrees when exiting around Cape Lookout and the warmer east side of Lookout Shoals. This year, so far, the king’s bite has been excellent, and I’ve never seen the number of big and fat, beefy Spaniards in the 4 to 8 pound range. Really muscular Spanish!
Although the old drum bite continues, it is fading in the Neuse and New rivers, and exhausted spawners are now returning to the ocean and are now targeted along the surf area around the inlets as ‘they come out for the winter. Ocracoke and Portsmouth Islands are expected to be hot spots, as well as Topsail Island’s surf and piers for these fish. The top bait is the mullet cut in the waves on circular Owen Lupton-type hooks, often in the middle of the night. We also see slit reds entering the fall waves after coming out of shrimp and mullet.
Of course, fall fishing is traditionally highlighted by speckled trout fishing in the waves. It has a long and rich tradition. In years past, some of the best peaches have been in the weeks around Thanksgiving. More recently, this peak catch season appeared to be earlier and shorter as the spots head south for the winter. We have had several good summers of trout fishing in our backwaters and no serious winter trout have been killed recently so we should have a great fall comeback every time that happens.
In the good old days, some of the best hot spots were the areas just east of our sea fishing piers. This was the time when we had eight fishing piers, now reduced to two due to storms and the proverbial wrecking ball. The areas east of Oceanana and Bogue Inlet piers remain good targets, and if you remember where the old piers were, you can still fish for their remains. One location with remains of a pier and other hard structures is the Iron Steamer access to Pine Knoll Shores where pieces of the scuttled blockade runner Pevensey still remain near the shore.
Wade? The season is closed, and we only have visions of plum because we have no idea what 2022 will bring us in terms of regulations, and this after a great short two-week season.
Next week I’ll be writing about bottom feeders, spots, mullet, pompano and puffers.
As I walked the Bogue Inlet pier daily to collect my daily buckets of water to measure surf temperatures, the past week was marked by some nice catches of pompano.
After a bit slow summer catches, the pompano bite was excellent. Sand fleas, prawns, and pink fish bites all grabbed this excellent fish. I have seen double digit catches of these silvery fish with striking yellow highlights. The sea mullet and the possible start of a good fall run, hopefully, were also part of the mix. Interestingly, a few puffs started to appear as well. The action of the pier is also reflected in the surf if you know where to go.
Surfing action is finally showing signs of life, especially around the calanques of Bogue and Beaufort. There were some good runs of early morning Spanish, blues and false albacore, with Fort Macon out of The Point in Emerald fishing.
By the way, over the weekend the Big Alberts took over the Morehead City Turning Basin. They competed everywhere with the Spanish and blue monsters for the capucette and the red mullet. To my delight, slit reds are finally appearing around both areas on cut mullet baits and metal spoons, like the Kastmaster. I like the gold version, three quarters of an ounce. There are also mentions of black drum landing from the waves and even of a speckled trout or two from early scouts. I’m ready.
Fishing inside reds and trout continues to be very good with reds on the shallows. Both fish take artificial ones, but the live shrimp on a plug were hard to beat, especially at the onset of the ebb tide.
Last week I fished a few of the streams on Hwy 24 without finding any trout so I tried a few of the streams in White Oak River with some, but minimal success. Another fisherman claimed to have caught a 4.5 pound trout in one of these creeks last week. Unsurprisingly, the New River is still home to some of the biggest trout. If you are bait fishing indoors the black drum catches are always great with fish weighing up to 10 pounds, and while it lasts the sheep head action is really good as they flip over. in the ocean. This is a good time of year to target sheep heads from the fishing docks.
From the Atlantic Beach King Mackerel Fishing Tournament this weekend, we know some of the best fish have been caught at Big-10 / Little-10, Northwest Places and 14-Buoy through 90-Foot Drop. . As you move into the deeper waters, beautiful wahoos are also captured. The winner ABKMT was disembarked from the Easy Out boat and weighed 47.54 pounds. By the way, the triggerfish action is really great right now, and there isn’t a better tasting fish IMHO.
So how about the fishing docks?
Oceanana Pier again reports BIG Spanish at 6 pounds, false albies, blues, red drum, a few spots, mullet and a brief (very brief) tarpon hookup.
Bogue Inlet Pier had a mix of fish ranging from Spanish and blues to sea mullet, a few points and some nice catch of fall pompano on prawns, chips and pink fishbites. In a warm-up for their annual fall king mackerel tournament, the anglers landed five kings last week.
Seaview Pier brought back six kings last week, BIG Spanish, spots, pompano and blues.
Surf City Pier reports that the spots present themselves well on bloodworms, mullet and a mix of bottom dwellers. There were also three kings captured last week.
Jolly Roger Pier brings back good fishing with well presented spots, blues, spanish, mullet and a king last week.
FYI: The Bonner Bridge Fishing Pier and Viewing Area opened last weekend.
This is the southern remnant of the dismantled Bonner Bridge and spans 1,046 feet (https://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/bonner-bridge-pier.htm).
There is more information on the bridge with work on the Emerald Isle Bridge continuing this week with likely lane closures overnight. They will be working from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., so be warned. For more information see: https://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/.
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