You don’t need to be a meteorologist to realize that so far, the weather for May has been anything short of ugly. Wind, rain, cool temperatures and then more wind and rain have all contributed to the slow start of a month that is normally considered the kick-off of prime fishing season. Water temperatures that had been reaching the upper 60s have remained stuck on the 65 degree mark now for more than a week. But despite the wicked weather we’ve seen, there is hope that the month can rebound and anglers can get to fishing and catching as they should be. The weekend is looking to provide some much needed sunshine and warmer temperatures; although it appears the wind will still be hanging around for the most part.
Since the improvement in the weather department has stalled, so has the fishing. Normally by this time we’d be talking about large Spanish mackerel being caught to our south and Atlantic bonito being chased along our beaches, but unfortunately none of that has materialized as of yet. The worse thing is that the fish might just be there but the sea conditions are not allowing anyone out to check and report back, and it looks as though that problem may continue at least for the near future.
Inshore, the fishing has been decent, but nothing spectacular. Some nice speckled trout are being caught in the lower Cape Fear River with some better fishing being found in the areas around New River. Red drum are being found in the same locations as well. Around our neck of the woods, a few trout are being caught here and there but you really need to work for them.
Red drum are still being found around the jetties and inshore docks and they can be tempted by soft artificial baits; some anglers are finding it easier to bait with fresh shrimp or cut bait to get more bites and more action. Those using natural baits are also having some success catching black drum, especially around the jetties. Some chopper blues up to 7 pounds have started showing up in the inland creeks and channels
The seas have not been conducive to venturing off the beach and further offshore. Areas around Sheepshead Rock should be holding some big Spanish mackerel and hopefully once the boats can get out there they will find the hefty fish still biting. Atlantic bonito were being caught just off of New River Inlet a week ago but conditions have not allowed many to get out there recently. Hopefully some will show off our beaches and allow anglers a few days fishing for them before the water warms and they disappear. The Gulf Stream had been producing good catches of wahoo and once the weather settles, they should still be around in good numbers.
Pier anglers are finding some decent action with bluefish in the 1-3 pound range on Got-Cha Plugs. The better fishing has been early and late in the day. Fresh shrimp is getting some blowfish and a few Virginia mullet.