There is some good news for fellow fishermen.
March is a mere two days away and already fishing conditions have started improving for the better part of the last week or so.
Water temperatures have remained steady in the lower 50s but should start to slowly rise.
A few nights of freezing temperatures should not put much of a damper if in fact the warming air temperatures and sunny skies donít disappear.
Of course, the month of March can also throw a curveball or two, so we canít quite predict that weíre on the home stretch, but it appears we may be close.
Sunny skies prevailed for most of the weekend and that brought out plenty of anglers to try their luck at what they could. Inshore, fishermen reported finding some schooling drum eager to attack a jighead tipped with Gulp baits. Areas in the lower Cape Fear River around Bald Head Island and also around the Topsail and Surf City areas seemed to produce the most reports. Some sporadic action from speckled trout was also reported coming from these same areas.
Just remember, in case you happen to land some speckled trout on your next outing, itís strictly catch and release until June, as the fishery is closed.
Offshore, itís been more of the same, with some small windows of opportunity opening for those that are ready at a momentís notice. This past weekend was no different and those who headed out found conditions fishable but not exactly delightful, depending on the day they chose to try. Gulf Stream fishing produced reports of wahoo, blackfin tuna and even some decent mahi. Bottom fishing between 30 and 40 miles was decent for triggerfish and some b-liners. Currents were reported to be strong and difficult to get baits down to the fish.
So with small but welcomed increase in reports, what can we expect in the coming weeks? As stated earlier, a lot depends on the weather and after that it is how soon the water temperatures start to warm. Bluefish have been reported from the jetties as early as the first week in March, but unfortunately that doesnít appear it will happen this year.
My best guess is that by the third week of March weíll start to see a decent increase in inshore fishing, mainly with red drum reports becoming more abundant as more anglers get out and fish. Although bluefish are not the most favorite fish of anglers, their arrival is a sure sign to the beginning of the spring fishing season. Even if you donít like them, wish for their quick return, because the sooner they get here, the sooner better fishing will be here.