We’ll get to the fishing forecast in a minute, but first there are a few thoughts that need, for whatever two cents is worth, to be shared.
There are four months left in this, what has been, the strangest year in as long as most of us can remember.
Rioting, looting, violence, ignorance, political stupidity – on yeah, and a new version of the flu that, quite frankly, is probably overrated but no less deadly.
Jobs lost, businesses closed, some for good, fine people struggling to make ends meet.
But there are a few silver linings, especially for those of us who love to fish and hunt, hike in the woods or mountains, go bird watching, or just sit in a chair with a cold beer and watch the midnight sky.
Life in the outdoors brings us some sort of sanity, a reality to the world we used to know, a place where we felt safe and happy. And the good news is that it’s still there for us to enjoy.
Will next year bring a world we recognize more? Heck if I know. But the outdoors remains a constant that won’t let those of us that love it down.
Might just be a good time for those who don’t or have never loved the outdoors to give it a try … right now it’s the only sure thing we have.
So, about the forecast – We’ll get to fishing in a sec, after we talk about the wonderful break in the weather we have coming.
Who can remember the last time we had temps in the low 80s with decent humidity? I can’t remember lunch yesterday and I doubt most remember fall-like weather.
That all starts Saturday and it looks like it will continue for the next, at least, 10 days. I for one would love to kiss the 90s and high humidity goodbye for a long time.
Better weather doesn’t mean better catching, but it does mean better fishing conditions.
So here’s what’s on tap.
Where to start?
Bluewater trolling has been producing lots of white marlin and that’s only going to get better as fall approaches. Throw in some tuna, dolphin, swordfish, blue marlin, wahoo, big shark and who knows what else and everything looks promising.
Friday night’s passing cold front could make seas a little dicey, but so far it’s not looking bad.
If trolling ain’t your thang, deep-drop baits to the bottom for tilefish, black bellied-rosefish, sea bass and who knows what else – maybe even a few snowy grouper.
Nearshore wrecks will give up sea bass, flounder, triggerfish, amberjack, bluefish and shark.
Closer to the coast, spadefish, triggerfish, flounder and bluefish can be found around just about any bottom structure.
Along the coast, it’s time for cobia to start schooling up to feed and head south. Jump on ’em quick, because the season ends at the end of the month.
Big red drum also will be found close to the surface in schools that can produce some of the most exciting action you’ve ever experienced.
Sheepshead and flounder are a good bet around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. Also look for flatties throughout the lower bay and around coastal wrecks.
Speckled trout fan, are you? Can you remember a better summer for one of the prettiest inshore fish there is? No, you probably can’t. Look for them throughout the Poquoson Flats, Eastern Shore bay-side creeks, throughout Oyster backwaters, in the Elizabeth River and in all three Southside inlets.
And where your find the sharp-toothed, yellow-mouthed trout, you also will be find plenty of puppy drum.
Spot and croaker are becoming more plentiful throughout the lower bay.
Coastal trollers continue to haul in plenty of Spanish mackerel and bluefish. A few king mackerel and a whole lotta sharks will be willing to participate.
NORTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA
As much as the blue waters off the coast deserve credit for most of the region’s fishing economic impact, not talking about the inshore season would be a disservice.
If you get a chance, check out the social media pages of guide Peter Cruger – sneakypeteobxfishing.com – if you want to see what’s happening on the coastal and sound waters of the OBX.
The guy is slaying it – with his clients loading up on puppy drum and speckled trout. To his credit as a conservationist, all of the big specks – some topping 30 inches – are being released so they can make babies for his future clients.
He’s not the only one enjoying such action, but his catches are noteworthy.
OK, bluewater trolling is the OBX’s money-maker and things have been good. Blue marlin, white marlin, lots and lots of dolphin, some wahoo, shark and king mackerel have been keeping clients plenty busy.
Bottom fishing has been producing more species that these fingers can type.
Cobia and red drum, along with lots of Spanish mackerel and bluefish, have been keeping near-shore trollers plenty busy.
Hit the beach or the piers and the action will include all four, along with sea mullet, spot, croaker, flounder, shark and pigfish. A few kings also will be taken from piers.
The waters throughout the region are hot tub hot, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch a few fish.
Bluegill and other panfish will be your best bet because they just don’t seem to care about living in boiling water. Most of them along shorelines, however, will be small.
Look for bigger shell cracker and bluegill in waters around 10 feet deep.
Crappie are hiding out in structure in water as deep as it gets until the shorelines cool off.
Largemouth bass will venture into the shallows early and late – even into the night – to look for dinner. Night time topwater action should be good right now because of a nearly full moon.
Catfish are a great bet. Use fresh cut bait on the bottom of the deepest holes to entice a strike.