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  • It hasn't quite happened yet, but the indicators are finally in place that the fall king mackerel season is about to take off. I hate that everyone has to endure all the rain this week, but it will help greatly. The rain will flush the baitfish out of the rivers and sounds and into the ocean.

    Once that bait is flushed into the ocean, it won't be long before the kings zero in on them. That much activity should get the attention of hungry kings pretty quickly.

    The rainfall will also cool the water, which should make the kings and other fish more active and really put them in a feeding mood. Being in the right place should soon turn fishing trips into catching exhibitions.

    One of the places this happens best is at the mouth of the Cape Fear River at Southport. The timing is a little later than usual, but hopefully just in time.

    If the weather allows, the US Open King Mackerel Tournament will be held in Southport this Friday and Saturday. There is some question with the tropical system forming in the Caribbean reaching the Carolina Coast late this week, so keep an eye on the weather and the tournament will announce their go/no go decision on their website ( soon.

    Next weekend (Fishing Oct. 9) the Oak Island Classic Kayak Fishing Tournament will be held at Oak Island. This tournament features the standard inshore species of specks, flounder and puppy drum, but also has a king mackerel division. The timing on the bite should be just about perfect to see some kayak fishermen taking Cape Fear sleighrides. For more information visit

    Good fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    September 28, 2010 at 8:40am

    The puppy drum bite went off this weekend along the southeast coast. The pups were biting from back in the creeks out into the ocean. There were nice pups caught from the surf and the piers. Even the surf from Hurricane Igor didn't slow them down.

    The mullet minnows have been streaming out the inlets and down the beach for a week or so and it was only a matter of time before something noticed. The puppy drum have noticed first. There were drum from mid-slot to well overslot caught over the weekend.

    The drum bite also ramped up a notch back in the creeks and marshes. Maybe with the fall high tides missing for a while they have realized they need to feed on the bigger baitfish out in the creeks. Whatever the reason, no one is complaining about the action.

    The young man in the attached picture caught this big fellow well back in a creek known for having lots of small reds, but no larger ones. Someone forgot to tell this pretty pup.

    There are also Spanish macks, pompano, and some flounder biting and a few spots are beginning to show. As soon as the water cools a little more, it will get even better.

    Good fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    September 19, 2010 at 10:10pm

    Sometimes we get so hung up on all the special gear and boats it takes to catch fish, we forget we used to go fishing just to go. The past couple of weeks I have been revisiting some places where we have to fish from docks or the bank or sometimes wade.

    The puppy drum have rewarded us well. Sure it's difficult to cover much ground, but with some patience and working through a tide change or two, you can usually find a window when the fish move through. The pup in the pic was foraging along a little rip when he couldn't refuse a new penny Gulp suspended under a popping cork.

    Within a hundred yards of where this fellow bit, we have caught several more pups, a few specks and s few short to keeper flounder. All have been caught on artificial baits fished slowly. The artificials have ranged from an Aqua Dream Spoon, to jerkbaits, MirrOlure MirrOdines and Gulp shrimp.

    The point I'm trying to make is there are some scattered fish to be caught in many places if you will take the time to work the water and find them. These were on a bottom with a lot of rubble and rocks. However, we often see the fish smoke a small school of bait and then cast if they are in range.

    The other folks in this park, which I won't name, are always surprised to see us catch fish. I have to admit it is fun to catch fish where observers think you are wasting your time.

    The next time you want to go fishing, but don't have much time, give a local park or place you can walk to a chance. Sometimes you'll fool even yourself. I keep a couple of outfits and a small tackle box in my truck all the time. This guy was caught right at the end of lunch break.

    People wondered what I had been up to when I went back to work with a big grin!

    Good fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    September 07, 2010 at 1:04pm

    It seems odd to me to be posting a fishing report as a hurricane is bearing down and passing offshore, but the fishing has been pretty good. That is the inshore fishing anyway. The ocean has been swelly and is about to get real bumpy, but should be OK again by the weekend.

    The good fishing has been for puppy drum and flounder. I don't do much for flounder intentionally, but still catch a few while drum fishing. In the past week or so, more of them have been keepers.

    The drum have been moving into the marsh grass a lot lately on the high tides. Some have been tailing and others just waking as they move. Capt. Tommy Rickman of Southport Angler Outfitters led John Wash to the impressive overslot pup earlier this week. Even better, Walsh landed a fly just right and caught it on a buggywhip while Rickman poled the boat across the marsh chasing it. That's why both are smiling in the attached picture.

    We will have some high tides with the push of Hurricane Earl, but no one should be out fishing today and maybe tomorrow. Thankfully it doesn't look like it will affect our end of the state too badly, but let's all pray for the folks farther to the north. Once it passes and the barometer stabilizes, the bite should be back on.

    The new moon is next Wednesday and the tides will be increasing. The weekend and early week may be a good time to chase some feeding pups through the grass.

    Batten down the hatches and let's hope for an eastward turn.

    Good fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    September 02, 2010 at 8:23am

    Puppy drum and flounder are biting well and got me into a bit of a situation one afternoon last week and I felt like I should eat a little crow and pass it on as a warning to others to pay more attention to the weather.

    I had been invited on a kayak fishing trip with Michael Garet of Hobie Kayaks, Mark Patterson of the NC Kayak Fishing Association and Phillip Ruckart of Native Kayaks. We were fishing the Basin and Second Bay between Fort Fisher and Bald Head Island, near Wilmington. This is a protected area that is isolated from the Cape Fear River by a rock breakwater and fish love it. Much is very shallow and it is only used by kayaks, jon boats and flats boats.

    We sat out a rainstorm at the Federal Point ramp at the end of Hwy 421 before launching, then headed out once the weather cleared. Mark and Phillip stayed in the Basin, which is the bay closest to the ramp, and Michael and I pushed ahead to a little point in Second Bay where I had caught good pups in the past. The conditions were about right when we got there and we beached our kayaks and got out to wade and fish. Unfortunately the weather hadn’t actually cleared and unwisely we weren’t paying good enough attention to the weather, so we got caught in a pretty nasty thunderstorm.

    We knew we didn’t want to be the tallest thing around during the thunderstorm, so as soon as we realized the storm was closing in on us, we headed back. Unfortunately we were already too late!

    We made it to Zeke’s Island and pulled up into the flooded grass on the lee side to ride it out. The flash bulbs were going off all around and the thunder roaring. Sometimes it was only a two-count from lightning until thunder. There was definitely some “pucker factor” going on.

    The good news was that by reaching Zeke’s Island we were no longer the tallest things around. By staying out on the perimeter, we hoped we were far enough from the trees. We figured they could get hit and we would be missed. Thankfully we didn’t have to find out if that theory actually worked.

    After about an hour the storm moved on and the weather cleared up. We were already soaked, so, after checking and seeing that Mark and Phillip had made it back to their truck and were OK, Michael and I went back around Zeke’s Island and fished some little spots that we had paddled by earlier. Unfortunately the downpour of rain or the rapidly dropping barometer had turned the bite off and we didn’t get a strike.

    To add insult to injury, Mark and Phillip returned the next morning and wore the fish out. Both caught trout and reds and Mark added a flounder to complete a slam, while Phillip found a school of jacks and proceeded to abuse his trout tackle. The attached picture is one of Mark's reds.

    Please heed my advice and pay close attention to the weather. This was not a fun situation and it would be best to be avoided.

    Good fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    August 28, 2010 at 10:42am

    With the temperature being a few degrees cooler around the lower Cape Fear River, it seems a little like a cool front has settled in on us and more folks are going fishing. The kings are still really scattered, with a few dolphin mixed in. There are some sailfish too and they are a big surprise.

    Inshore is where the action has been and some of it has been big. They haven't been coming in waves and rolling and blowing like they sometimes do, but there are some tarpon in the lower Cape Fear. They are biting best in the late afternoon and early morning in the slough that runs from behind Bald Head to Shellbed Island.

    Big chunks of mullet and pogies get the tarpon's attention and they also attract some sharks. The blackfins are almost as much fun as the tarpon.

    The tarpon have been big. The first rumors were of the ones that were throwing the hook or breaking the line, but when Jason McDowell landed the one in the attached photo it became a lot easier to believe.

    McDowell's tarpon was 84 inches long fork length and 39 inches in girth. Using the accepted formula of girth squared X length divided by 800, this tarpon weighed 159 pounds.

    The full moon is coming up next Tuesday and the August full moon is always a good time for Cape Fear tarpon. I'll see you on the water.

    Good fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    August 19, 2010 at 10:38am

    Even in the heat of this week the puppy drum were biting. The New Moon tides allowed them to get into the grass and they took advantage of it. We weren't seeing them tailing, but their wakes gave them away. I made one trip where it seemed like we lost half of our hookups to cutoffs or pull-offs involving the grass. There is no doubt the reds knew where to run when they felt a sting in their jaw.

    The good news is we caught them on a variety of baits and lures. My favorite is a spoon with an in-line spinner and they liked it well also. Jerkbaits fished weedless were also good to cast into the grass flats and work along the edges of the open water.

    I had planned to try some topwaters, but the fish were rushing the grass so strong, I decided not to risk losing lures and pinning fish to grass shoots with the trebles.

    We caught some on live baits, but I thought lures were better on this day. You certainly could fish faster and cover more ground with the lures and the pinfish weren't near as bad. A small pogies or mullet would last a while, but a shrimp was devoured by a pinfish within seconds of entering the water.

    We had one trout too, but it wasn't large and was released to grow larger. Our biggest surprise was not catching a flounder. We usually stumble into a couple of keepers in this area. I guess we were concentrating too much on the flooded grass and not on the edges of the open water.

    It was still a lot of fun!

    Good fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    August 14, 2010 at 9:11am

    The wind has been rather unpredictable along the SE Coast, which tends to keep fishermen in small boats and kayaks in inside waters. This summer the hot weather has slowed the trout bite, but puppy drum and flounder will usually bite if you find them.

    One problem you have kayak fishing is taking pictures of fish on the boat. If you have a buddy along, which is a great idea for several reasons, then he can take the picture unless he has drifted far enough away you don't want to keep the fish out long enough for him to get back. When you have no other choice, put something other people can relate to for a size comparisom. The attached pic uses feet to show the size of this nice flounder.

    Most folks like to fish for flounder with live baits, but they also respond to artificials. My favorite is a 3 inch white, pearl or glow shrimp on a 1/8 or 1/4 ounce jighead. This will bounce along the bottom with the tide and cover a lot of ground in a small creek or along the ICW.

    The good thing about flounder fishing with artificials is they don't have to turn them to swallow them, so you can set the hook as soon as you feel them. With live bait, they can only swallow the bait head-first, so they have to turn it to be able to swallow it and that is why you have to wait so long to set the hook.

    Flounder and puppy drum hang out in many of the same places, so it is very easy to catch both at the same time. It's a good trip when you battle a few upper slot reds and then invite a nice flounder home for dinner. That's happening a lot right now in the lower Cape Fear River and the creeks and bays off of it.

    Good fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    August 06, 2010 at 3:41pm

    The nearshore and inshore waters are full of life right now and some of it is sharks. Sharks can be fun to catch and some are excellent to eat. There are strict regulations for sharks, so be sure to know the species and the regulations.

    Most fishermen would call the shark Capt. Chad Casteen is holding in the attached picture a hammerhead. While a member of the hammerhead family, this is actually a bonnethead shark. These are very common in S.C., but are not as prevalent in N.C.

    This one, along with several others, was caught by Capt. Casteen and friends while tarpon fishing. They were inside the Cape Fear River, near Shellbed Island. On this night the tarpon never showed, but several healthy bonnetheads and some blacktips kept the fishermen on their toes and happy.

    Blacktip sharks are one of the strongest and most acrobatic sharks. In some places they are called 'poor man's mako,' because they jump and fight so hard. Many blacktips are mistaken for tarpon when only seen at a glance and six feet out of the water.

    Blacktip sharks are also one of the best sharks for table fare. They can be fried, baked, broiled and even blackened. Blacktips are biting well right now along the S.E. Coast and fight well, plus put on a show for fishermen. If you have any of those mano-a-mano juices flowing, a trip after blacktips or other sharks is a great way to go.

    Good Fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    July 29, 2010 at 5:45pm

    The weather got a little windy for Friday and the weekend and those folks who ventured out were in for a rough ride, with some dangerous inlet passages. Aoat capsized in Bogue Inlet, but word is that everyone was rescued. Most folks decided to stay inside and wait it out and it may be a few more days before it gets real nice again, especially on the south-facing beaches.

    Those who went into the ocean found some Spanish along the beaches, a few kings and a few dolphin. The big boat that went farther caught dolphin well. Pier fishermen saw a mixture in the sloppy conditions.

    A father and son had 'one of those days' before the winds blew up. Gerald and Mark Turner, headed to the Blackjack Hole in their 27 Contender after some mahi and got a big surprise.

    They had caught a few mahi when they noticed a sailfish free jumping. They turned toward it and hooked a sailfish. Before theylanded it more sails were free jumping and they kept fishing. They managed to land (and release) four sailfish. Congratulations are in order!!!!

    Inshore the flounder bite is picking up and we hope they will get larger. The shorts are about half of the catch. Puppy drum are biting well in the creeks and bays and will probably move up into the grass towards the end of the week and the moon builds to full next Monday.

    Good Fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    July 18, 2010 at 10:39pm

    They're at it again! Tarpon continue to tease fishermen from the Oak Island Piers and some of them are hooked well enough to be brought to the beach. That's what happened to this estimated 125 pounder caught by Fred Leonard of Smithfield. It was released right after this picture was taken and swam back out through the surf beside the pier.

    Kings are also biting from the piers and out. The water is hot and may have slowed the bite a little, but it hasn't stopped. Spanish mackerel, speckled trout and more are also being caught by pier fishermen.

    Boaters are finding mixed bag fishing on the nearshore artificial reefs. King mackerel, Spanish mackerel and flounder are a typical mix. Anchoring to fish for flounder and putting out a light line or two is a standard and productive tactic at Yaupon and McGlammery Reefs.

    Once offshore enough the water clears, dolphin are mixed with the kings and give a little extra to the day when one is landed.

    African pompano are being caught at Frying Pan Tower and many of the nearby wrecks. Bottom fishermen are catching grouper and beeliners, plus some hog snapper. All in all, fishing is pretty good along the SE NC Coast.

    Good Fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    July 12, 2010 at 6:52am

    Isn't it amazing when temperatures in the low 90s and high 80s feel cool. After the past few weeks, I'm glad to see them.

    The wind has been blowing just enough the past few days to make the seas uncomfortable if you head very far offshore. However, about 15 to 18 miles off Oak Island is where you need to be to catch a mixture of kings and dolphin. There are a few sailfish around too and they are always a pleasant surprise to find on the end of your line.

    This weekend there was a summer run of spots on the OI Piers. No one was expecting them when they started biting Saturday morning, but they sure put all the ones that were of any size in their coolers without complaining. There was also a good bite of whiting, a few flounder, some Spanish macks and pompano.

    On the inside, the flounder bite is improving and those flounder that were just short in early May have reached keeper size and are starting to fill out. By October, they'll really be good to invite home for dinner.

    Puppy drum are biting in the creeks too. They aren't particularly choosy and will hit many lures and about any live or fresh natural bait. A few more specks are joining them, especially in the Elizabeth River.

    Good fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    June 28, 2010 at 7:29pm

    While it is starting to chop up a little more, the ocean off Cape Fear has been cooperating for a week or more and lots of lucky fishermen have been taking advantage.

    Many folks have been running a ways offshore and finding dolphin like the one in the picture. There are also lots of kings, some African pompano and a few scattered sailfish.

    Closer to the hill, the kings and Spanish macks have been biting from the ends of the piers on out. The water is hot and 1 jack crevalle and 2 tarpon have been landed on the Oak Island Piers. One of the tarpon was intentionally broke off after fighting it back to the end of Ocean Crest Pier and the other was beached to get measurements and then released through the surf. The measurements equated to an estimated 118 pounds and the one released at the end of the pier was estimated at 120.

    A huge tarpon was fought for 2 hours from Oak Island (Yaupon) Pier Saturday morning, but escaped when the hook broke. The fisherman was in the Oak Island Open Pier Tournament and it would have been the winning fish. That's double heartbreak any way you look at it.

    Plenty of whiting are still biting for pier fishermen and the speckled trout bite is slowly picking up. They are catching flounder from the piers, at the nearshore artificial reefs and wrecks and all along the lower Cape Fear River. The pups are biting well too.

    Sure the weather is mean hot, but the fishing is too.

    Good fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    June 22, 2010 at 8:13am

    The weather might be ridiculously hot, with stifling humidity, but the fish are bitng along the SE Coast and life is good! Be sure to take a towel fishing so you can wipe away sweat.

    A little bit of everything is biting from the sounds to the Gulf Stream and, except for tuna and billfish, right now is a great time to be fishing in the waters around Southport. The flounder are in the lower Cape Fear River and fishermen with longtime knowledge ofthe area are catching some doormats. Puppy drum have been biting well for a while and don't appear to have slowed in the heat.

    Some real good news is the specks are finally beginning to show in fair numbers and at at some of their usual summer haunts. An unusual fishery in this area is specks from the ocean piers. To be successful requires live baits, usually shrimp, and fishing about a foot above the bottom from halfway out to the end of the pier. In many years a limit was possible. The bite only began a couple of weeks ago and has grown to four or five in a morning.

    Spanish macks are biting well from the inlets, out the Cape Fear River Ship Channel and down the beaches. There are some larger spanish being caught by fishermen floating live baits around some of the nearshore reefs, but mainly it is barely legal to 18 inch fish hitting 0 and 00 size Clarkspoons trolled at about 6 MPH.

    Kings have been in on the beaches and some are caught each week from the piers. Boaters after kings are trolling around the nearshore artificial reefs out to about 15 miles and doing well.

    The water in this area is a little dirtier because of all the effluent coming down the Cape Fear River and that has kept the dolphin a little farther offshore than in some places. Dolphin are being caught from 15 miles or so on out.

    Tarpon don't mind the dirty water and several schools were spotted swimming the beaches this week. None were caught, but that's just a matter of time. Maybe one of them will bite my bait?

    Good fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    June 17, 2010 at 9:33am

    Fishing along the SE Coast is clicking along pretty well. There hasn't been a big run of kings at one of the piers for a week or so, but pier fishermen are still landing them occasionally. The good news is the kings have really spread out and might be caught about anywhere.

    Water temperatures have leveled out in the high 70s and will probably reach 80 in a couple of weeks. This has brought dolphin inshore and amberjacks, locally called reef donkeys because they are found in numbers around artificial reefs and shipwrecks and put up a long stubborn fight, have moved to many of the wrecks and reefs, especially around Frying Pan Tower.

    Dolphin are fun to catch and even better to eat, but the smaller ones typically found inshore are not too much challenge to wear out. Kings make a hot first run, but the average 10 to 15 pounder wears down in a matter of minutes, so the challenge is amberjack.

    Hooking into a reef donkey of much size dictates what an angler will be doing for the next 15 to 30 minutes. Occasionally one gives up after a shorter fight, but most dig hard and stubbornly for the bottom and the structure and protection it offers. The fight becomes a game of inches that brings sweat to the angler by the bucket and puts a burn in muscles that don't get used very often.

    Most reef donkeys are released and it is usually a toss-up to tell whether angler or quarry is more worn out by the battle. However, there are areas, like the Gulf Coast of Florida, where amberjack are held in high esteem for the dinner table. I know it is difficult to believe, but I've visited restaurants in that area where amberjack was considered the delicacy and was more expensive than grouper or dolphin.

    They are actually pretty tasty, but many have a tapeworm-looking parasite that runs through much of their body. Simply seeing this tapeworm while cleaning them turns many folks off to eating them, but the folks at UNC Sea Grant say even the tapeworm is edible.

    My suggestion is to cook only the meat not affected by the tapeworm and you might be surprised. It can be fried, baked, broiled, grilled or blackened.

    Good fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    June 08, 2010 at 6:40am

    It seems the dang wind doesn't want to get below 10-15 and the ocean seas below 3 feet for any length of time in the past few weeks. This is right at that point it is uncomfortable in the ocean for smaller center consoles, but it isn't so rough it is unsafe. The best approach seems to be going early, before the wind builds and then having it on the stern for the ride back that afternoon.

    There are kings being caught from the piers on out and dolphin join the mix somewhere between 10 and 20 miles, depending on exactly where you are. The dolphin are a little farther offshore at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, but the king action has been better there.

    Kings are still biting at the Oak Island piers. A push may come through and spike the numbers at either pier for a day or two, but both are producing kings well. The 39 pound, 7 ounce king (picture) Bryan Wilson caught at Ocean Crest Pier is the largest so far this year and there have been another half-dozen or so in the 35 pound range. That size could be pushed to more than 40 pounds on any day.

    Pier fishermen are catching lots of 10 pound class bluefish. They don't fight like a king, but they are fun. Other pier catches include smaller blues, Spanish mackerel, flounder, whiting, pompano, and a couple of speckled trout and red drum.

    Inshore, the flounder bite is pretty good as is the puppy drum action. The speckled trout bite is slow overall, but there are occasional reports of good catches. With the trout bite as slow as it has been, most successful trout fishermen aren't mentioning where they caugh them.

    Another windy and hot weekend is on tap for this weekend. Hopefully the action continues. Most folks don't mind sweating a little if they are catching fish.

    Good fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    June 04, 2010 at 7:42am

    Fishing along the SE Coast is good for everything except speckled trout! It is becoming more apparent every day that the unusually cold winter affected the specks far worse than anyone thought. However, the good news is that everything else that should be biting is.

    The top story this week is 17 king mackerel were caught from Oak Island Pier, between noon Friday and Sunset Sunday. Most were teenagers, but there were several in the 20s and two in the 30s. The largest was 37.8 pounds. Yowza! another handful of kings was caught from Ocean Crest Pier.

    The IFA Redfish and Kayak tours were at Surf City, which really isn't anywhere near the SE Coast, over the weekend. The boaters fished primarily from Wrightsville Beach to the north on Saturday, but the kayakers headed south on Sunday and that is where the SE Coast connection comes from.

    A large majority of the kayakers fished in the bays behind Bald Head Island that are accessible from the Federal Point ramp at Fort Fisher. Several others traveled all the way to Southport and fished the Elizabeth River, Dutchman Creek and Wildlife Creek areas.

    IFA kayakers catch, photograph and release their fish, so the upper slot on reds does not come into effect for them. As the attached picture will show, it can sometimes be difficult to get a good picture of your own fish in a kayak. IFA kayakers have to take their pictures with the fish laying on a tournament-issues measuring stick. That sometimes is a talent in itself.

    The tournament was won by Nathan Raycroft, who fished in the bays behind Bald Head Island and reported landing lots of reds and a few trout. His big red was 29.75 inches and his big trout was 16 inches for a 45.75 inch total. Allen Cain caught the largest trout of the tournament in the Elizabeth River, but had a smaller red and had to settle for second place with 45 inches total. His big trout was 18.5 inches. Justin Carter caught the largest red behind Bald Head and it was 30.75 inches.

    The dolphin numbers continue to grow and they are moving inshore. This week they were reported as close as the 15 and 18 Mile Rocks.

    This is Memorial Day weekend, so a big crowd will be headed to the beach. It appears the fishermen should have plenty of fish to keep them occupied. Be courteous and patient in the traffic jams at area ramps.

    Be sure to take time on Monday to honor our service men and women who died protecting our freedoms. It is because of their sacrifices that we are able to enjoy the things we do--including fishing.

    Good fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    May 26, 2010 at 7:17am

    Fishing is good along the SE Coast!

    This might be a good time to quickly plan a fishing trip to the SE NC Coast. There are many different species of fish biting from the creeks out to the Gulf Stream--and they are biting in good numbers most days.

    Dolphin have arrived offshore and join the wahoo and blackfin tuna already there. A few yellowfin tuna are being caught, but they are more scattered than the billfish.

    Offshore bottomfishermen are filling limits most days and having to release a lot of the red snapper that supposedly aren't here. The red snapper closure is being reauthorized until December 5 under the Interim Rule provision, so they will continue to be closed until at least then.

    One unique catch was a 30-something pound Warsaw grouper by Robert Beard, who was fishing with Captains Tommy Rickman and Chad Casteen of Southport Angler Outfitters. A picture is attached. Federal regulators say Warsaws are only found off N.C. in water 240 feet and deeper, but this one was in 130 feet southeast of Frying Pan Tower and it sure looks healthy.

    King mackerel have arrived and are biting from just off the beach on out. Several more have been caught by pier fishermen and there has been a hot bite from the Cape Fear Sea Buoy out to Lighthouse Rocks for the past several days.

    Spanish mackerel and bluefish from snapper to chopper sizes are also being caught from the beach on out.

    Flounder are along the beaches, with many being shorts, but get mostly large enough to keep at the nearshore artificial reefs. There have also been some big (40 inch plus citation size drum) red drum at the nearshore artificial reefs.

    Puppy drum and flounder head the inside catches, but a few specks are being caught too. The water is warm enough the pups and specks will hit tipwater lures, which is always fun to watch.

    The fishing along the SE Coast is really good and, except for speckled trout, may be one of the best springs in recent years. It definitely is time to quit wishin' and go fishin'.

    Good Fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    May 19, 2010 at 10:00am

    Fishing along the SE Coast is good and getting better! This is a good thing for fishermen from the area and those who visit there to fish. The water has warmed about 5 degrees in the past week and the fish have really responded.

    Starting with offshore fishing, dolphin have joined the mix. The mix also includes wahoo and blackfin tuna in good numbers. Yellowfin tuna are still few and far between, but a few are being caught. Fishermen who would like to jig amberjack can have their string stretched at almost any offshore rock or wreck.

    A little closer in the bottomfish are also biting. Everything but red snapper is currently open and they are biting. Many limits have been reduced, so check the regs before heading out.

    King mackerel are starting to find their way into the mix from the offshore edges to the beach. The biggest news was the run of kings from the piers late last week. Fishermen at Ocean Crest Pier landed a pair in excess of 30 pounds, a couple more in the 20s and then some smaller ones.

    Congratulations to 17-year old Thomas Cutler for winning the Rebel Pier King Tournament over the weekend with a 35 pounder.

    Cobia and Spanish are also being caught. The Spanish are in good numbers, with the cobia just showing up.

    Inshore the puppy drum and flounder are biting well. Speckled trout are starting to bite, but the bite remains slow.

    Overall, life is good and the fishing is good and getting better.

    Good fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    May 11, 2010 at 12:37pm

    Fishing and life along the SE Coast are good!

    My special adventure this week was spending Saturday and Sunday with the ladies at the Eighth Annual Women Anglers In Training (WAIT), ladies-only, fishing school. This is a highlight of the fishing seminars I do each year and this year was no exception. Saturday was a classroom situation, with Sunday being a time to put all that new knowledge to use. Options in the class structure allowed the ladies to register for the class and fishing on the pier for a base fee or they could upgrade the fishing to being on a boat with a local captain.

    The other captains who spoke in the classroom on Saturday included Capt. Todd Streeter,; Capt Michael Brazil,; Capt. Marty Wright, Wright of Passage; Capt Steve Smith, While I did the basic sessions and taught the ladies to tie a few knots, Capt. Streeter spoke on catching flounder and puppy drum, Capt. Smith spoke on catching speckled trout, Capt. Brazil spoke on king mackerel and specialty rigs and Capt. Wright taught the ladies to throw cast nets and gave a very nice presentation on cleaning fish after catching them.

    About half the ladies opted to fish from boats and the weather turned out to be much better than expected, so they had an easy trip. In addition to the captains listed above, Capt. Karen Haas, Ladyfish Guide Fishing and Capt. Wally Trayah, joined those ladies at the Wildlife Ramp to head to various parts to put the newfound knowledge to the test.

    Rebecca Squires and Jacci Hohnstein of the Oak Island Recreation Department and I joined the other ladies for a day of fishing from Oak Island Pier. The first thing we did was have all the ladies tie a double drop rig from scratch and attach it to their fishing outfits. It didn’t take but a couple of minutes for the first fish to come in and all of the ladies were soon catching fish on a rig they made themselves.

    The previous day fishermen at the pier had caught good numbers of Spanish mackerel, bluefish and whiting. The Spanish were in lower numbers on Sunday, but there were two times when schools of baitfish erupted as larger predators sliced through them. Unfortunately those baitfish schools stayed out of casting range from the pier.

    The ladies caught plenty of bluefish. There were also a lot of sand or silver perch. The total tally of flounder was more than a dozen, with one lady catching half of them. After the third one, we thought she had found a honey hole, but she would move and catch another. Unfortunately none of them quite measured up to the 14 inch minimum to invite home for dinner. A couple of nice whiting were a prize for one lady and she said she planned to introduce them to some House Autry seafood breader and hot grease later that evening.

    The ladies all said they had a good time, but none could have outdone mine. It is really special to introduce someone to fishing and give them enough of the basics they can go with it and make it succeed. All of their fish were caught on rigs the ladies made themselves. What keeps me on my toes and makes it exciting for me is to receive questions from a different perspective. The ladies often ask questions I have never considered and I have to admit I learn something every year. Approaching things from a different point of view has helped my fishing too.

    Thank all you ladies, I really enjoyed it. It will be a long WAIT until next spring, but I’ll be looking forward to seeing you.

    Good fishing,
    Capt. Jerry Dilsaver

    May 03, 2010 at 2:13pm
    A comment titled: Piebalds in Randolph County in response to a report titled: Piebalds in Randolph County

    Congratulations. Those are interesting deer. They make great pictures and now you have stories to tell your grandchildren.

    September 28, 2010 at 8:08am
    A comment titled: Drum fishing in response to a report titled: Drum fishing

    Great fish guys! Those are some biggies. Were you usinf the standard Owen Lupton style rig with a big chunk of bait or do you have a secret you might share?

    September 28, 2010 at 8:05am
    A comment titled: Just wondering in response to a report titled: Just wondering

    Richard, It won't be too long before the fish show up. The water needs to cool another 7 or 8 degrees and things should get interesting. It will be good to see how many trout survived last years cold.

    September 19, 2010 at 10:00pm
    A comment titled: 28 1/2 ' drum in response to a report titled: 28 1/2 ' drum

    Nice pup! That rig and bait combo sounds like you were fishing for flounder. Did you catch any flatties?

    September 02, 2010 at 8:04am
    A comment titled: mahi dolphin in response to a report titled: mahi dolphin

    That looks like the parking lot for the ramp under the Hwy 17 Bridge at Little River/NMB. It is a long run to the Blackjack Hole from there. What else did you catch?

    September 02, 2010 at 7:58am
    A comment titled: A good day of king Fishing off the NC Coast! in response to a report titled: King Mackeral Fishing

    A very nice day of kingfishing indeed! It looks like king steaks for all. There will be a king recipe in the October NCS you should try. It's simple and I believe you'll like it, I sure do.

    August 24, 2010 at 6:32am
    A comment titled: New River Reds in response to a report titled: New River Reds

    Good Job Hayden--Nice fish! Your smile says it all. I caught some reds in New River last week too, but yours were larger.

    August 24, 2010 at 6:29am
    A comment titled: 10.8 lb Sheepshead in response to a report titled: 10.8 lb Sheepshead

    Nice Fish Hunter! Congratulations.

    August 24, 2010 at 6:26am
    A comment titled: Crossbows in response to a report titled: Crossbows

    This is excellent advice! Please everyone heed it. I have hunted with xbows in other states and found them to be capable weapons, but with far more limitations than most folks believe. The ability to have it cocked and to aim like a rifle is nice, but I have found my compound to be a more deadly weapon from about 30 yards on out.

    August 14, 2010 at 8:45am
    A comment titled: REDS...REDS....REDS in response to a report titled: REDS...REDS....REDS

    Good job. Those are some nice fish. It had to be fun. Would you care to share what part of the coast and what baits you had the best luck with?

    August 14, 2010 at 8:36am
    A comment titled: 35 inch red in response to a report titled: 35 inch red

    Good job Amanda. That's a nice fish. Those Cape Fear reds hold so much color on their backs. Most have a mean streak too! I bet he fought good.

    August 05, 2010 at 7:08pm
    A comment titled: First Dolphin in response to a report titled: First Dolphin

    Great catch Lisa. That's some good eating you are holding.

    August 05, 2010 at 7:04pm
    A comment titled: hammer head in response to a report titled: hammer head

    Those sharks that size can be a lot of fun on lighter tackle. The blacktips are usually good to eat too. If you want to see some big sharks close to the beach, go out on one of the longer piers when the tide is high right after dark and look for a while. There are some monsters! The state record tiger shark (over 1000 pounds) was caught from Yaupon Pier (now Oak Island Pier).

    July 29, 2010 at 8:52am
    A comment titled: ANDY'S 4 KEEPER FLOUNDER in response to a report titled: ANDY'S 4 KEEPER FLOUNDER

    Good Job Andy. It's about time for the flounder fishing to really pick up in CB Inlet and Snows Cut.

    July 29, 2010 at 8:48am
    A comment titled: Swansboro Flounder in response to a report titled: Swansboro Flounder

    I was there and this was fun! Thanks Dale, I had a great time. That one small place was amazing and we kept wondering 'Will this be the last one?'

    July 29, 2010 at 8:43am
    A comment titled: Live Bait Fishing in response to a report titled: Live Bait Fishing

    Good fish guys! Tarpon can be a pleasant surprise--even when fishing in a king tournament. There has been a couple of schools of tarpon milling along the East Beach of Bald Head through the sloughs at the shoals and down to Oak Island. It looks like you were pretty close to land--is this where you were?

    July 25, 2010 at 9:02am
    A comment titled: Flounder are biting! in response to a report titled: Flounder are biting!

    Good job girls! You're smiling like you had a good time, but I'll bet your dad has an ear-to-ear grin.

    July 25, 2010 at 8:55am
    A comment titled: July redfish in response to a report titled: July redfish

    That's a stud red Gary. Do you think we might have time to tangle with a few of these after trout fishing when I come up? I know a red like that will stretch my string.

    July 14, 2010 at 6:44am
    A comment titled: Anthony's Sheephead in response to a report titled: Anthony's Sheephead

    That is a great sheepshead. Congratulations! Were you using fiddler crabs, barnacles or something else for bait.

    July 14, 2010 at 6:39am
    A comment titled: Suuuuuueeeeeee!!!! in response to a report titled: Suuuuuueeeeeee!!!!

    Chevy--you are tearing me up with your porker pics. I really enjoy the taste of the lean meat of feral hogs and I'm almost out. Your posts keep my adrenaline flowing until I can get back out. Keep up the good work!

    July 14, 2010 at 6:36am
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