Capt. Noah Lynk of Harkers Island is pleasantly surprised with the excellent fishing around Cape Lookout; the bluefish and Spanish mackerel are supposed to be there this month, but the false albacore have arrived a little early. The puppy drum and speckled trout are in the surf, tarpon are still a little farther off the beach and king mackerel have moved in. Apparently, the fishing just outside the hook is off the hook.
“I’m pretty sure seeing all these fish at one time is directly related to the odd weather we have been having,” Lynk said. “The best example is the redfish and trout. It rains a bunch, and they move out the inlets and into the surf. Then, we have a week with only a little rain and they move back inside the inlets. We get another weekend long downpour, like last weekend, and the trout and drum are back in the surf.
“We’ve seen tarpon most of the summer,” said Lynk, of Noah’s Ark Charters. “They didn’t catch many in Pamlico Sound this year, and I believe it was because so much fresh water kept pushing them out. These tarpon are moving and will be gone in a week or so. They’re eating small baits, and I’m surprised one hasn’t pushed a fat albert out of the way to grab somebody’s fly.”
Lynk (252-342-6911) said the bite from bluefish, Spanish mackerel and false albacore has been the most consistent. They have been anywhere outside the hook and always hungry. The bluefish are ranging up to a couple of pounds and many of the Spanish are 3 pounds or better.
“There are already mullet minnows streaming out Bardens Inlet, and with this little blow this weekend and the cooler weather next week, there will be even more,” Lynk said. “The fishing is excellent now, and cooling a few degrees will kick the blues, Spanish and alberts into high gear. They will be feeding heavily and that will make them even easier to catch.
Lynk has been trolling with homemade tandem rigs he calls a Mackerel Master that combines a skirt with a hook 15 to 18 inches in front of a Clark Spoon. It works best without a sinker or planer, allowing it to be fished by lighter outfits. Lynk said about 6 knots has been the most-productive trolling speed.
Lynk said most of their false albacore his parties have caught have been on the skirt, so he began making the rig with just the skirt, and it can be cast or trolled. He calls that rig the Intruder. When casting and reeling, start slow and speed up until you find the speed the fish like. He doesn’t think you can reel fast enough to keep it away from an albacore that wants it.