DR. BOGUS REPORT

With Ocracoke Island being a great fishing destination for many here on the Crystal Coast, I often talk with Alan Sutton, owner and operator of Tradewinds Tackle Shop (https://tradewindstackle.com/) on Ocracoke Island.

The first question is how are the beaches and is everything open? The answer is that the access ramps and beaches are in great shape. Things have recovered from Hurricane Dorian’s devastation. The next question is how’s the fishing? Alan indicated that with the recent cold front, things are shaping up for a great fall of fishing.

First of all, there is plenty of bait, finger and striped mullet are plentiful running along the beach, Ocracoke’s version of a mullet blow. This has fired up big blues, slot puppy drum are starting to show, and scattered catches of the old citation drum are being caught at night.

The best bait is cut-stripped mullet on an Owen Lupton style circle hook rig. They get a good spring run as the big spawners arrive going into the Neuse/Pamlico for the summer, and now they are returning to the ocean where they over-winter. This fishery should peak on the beach in the next few weeks. They have been behind the island schooling up and ready to emerge from the inlet. Schooled up, they will take not only nice smelly, oily mullet baits, but even a bucktail. As far as Spanish mackerel, they have seen big fat fish there too in September, but they have moved out pretty much already.

As far as bottom fishing goes, the sea mullet bite is going well, but the pompano have moved south as we can see here on Bogue Banks where the pompano action is excellent right now. The black drum action has been disappointing so far.

How about the rest of the fall? Old reds and slots will dominate for the next month or so in the surf, along with medium bluefish through Veteran’s Day, and the slot black drum and sea mullet should start to make an appearance by mid-November. As far as speckled trout, they traditionally start to show in good numbers after Thanksgiving. Of course, traditionally soft plastic grubs and MirrOlures are the standard baits, but Alan pointed out the three-quarter-ounce gold Hopkins works great in the fall for both specks and slot red drum.

As for the Tradewinds Tackle Shop, they close after Thanksgiving for the season, reopening in mid-March. Check them out at: https://tradewindstackle.com/.

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As far as the local fishing report, you have to realize with the first serious cold front of the season, all I say is probably #$%#@*! history, but here goes anyway.

On Monday, Oct. 11, as I returned from my radio show, I stopped at Bogue Inlet Pier which was in the middle of a speckled trout blitz, where fish up to 5 pounds were caught on live finger mullet and artificials, including GotCha plugs, and that was on top of the excellent pompano bite that continues this week. There are still decent blues and some of the fattest Spanish you will ever see, not only at the pier but along the surf from Fort Macon to where the Iron Steamer Pier used to be in Pine Knoll Shores to The Point in Emerald Isle and in the Morehead City Port waters from the Coast Guard Station out to the artificial reefs and Cape Lookout. There are false albacore and kings in the mix too. On the bottom, the sea mullet action is picking up, hopefully rivaling the spring action.

Inside, the speck bite and slot reds and slot black drum continues with live shrimp leading the way, although I didn’t find any in the Highway 24 creeks over the weekend or at Boathouse Creek either, only massive lizardfish again and one legal-size flounder that I released since it’s out of season. Last year, I was already bringing home quality specks from the creeks, so hopefully this cold snap and falling water temperatures will strike fear into the hearts of the specks. One place surprisingly absent in slot reds has been the Bogue Banks surf. There have been some very scattered fish and even one 40-inch oldie goldie landed from the Emerald Isle surf. Nice job.

By the way, if you are still wondering about unusual fish, the smooth puffers have gone from a curiosity to a nuisance in less than a single season. Sutton also noted their surprising abundance. Another surprising visitor was a bonefish recently caught a bit east of The Point in Emerald Isle. One local angler reports “early signs of decent whiting, a handful of black drum, one speckled trout, some grey trout, croakers and a good whiting bite after dark.” Nice going, Kevin.

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So how about fishing piers?

Oceanana Pier reports super fantastic fishing with big Spanish and blues, croakers, spots and pompano.

Bogue Inlet Pier had a mixed bag of fish from BIG Spanish and blues, to sea mullet, a few specks and nice catches of fall pompano on shrimp, fleas and great on Fishbites. This week, specks are now showing strong on bait and artificials on Monday and Tuesday and also some puffers showing up as well.

Seaview Pier reports a great week of fishing with Spanish and blues as highlights, along with pompano early in the day, spots, late-in-the-day mullet, spot and croakers, as well as a few specks.

Surf City Pier reports fishing is very good with Spanish and blues at daytime and spots at night. They also had a few kings last week.

Jolly Roger Pier also reports good fall fishing, again with big Spanish and blues, along with spots in the dark.

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Offshore, where a few days were lake-like, the fishing has been good with kings 20 miles out from the beach.

Farther out, let me just give you some eye-popping numbers … here are some of the wahoo weighed in at Chasin’ Tails this past week: 75, 80, 85 and 98 pounds. Wow! What a big wahoo bite, along with mahi and blackfin tuna. That was before the cold front, of course.

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FYI: Both the stop-net beach seine fishery and ocean beach gill net fishery have been opened via proclamation for the 2021 season and will go from Oct. 15-Dec. 31, according to N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries.

Refer to proclamations, M-20-2021, M-21-2021 on the NCDMF website.

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Finally, according to the Coast Guard Station in Emerald Isle, the ANT Fort Macon has completed the channel shift in Bogue Inlet.

The previous channel between the Coast Guard channel and Intracoastal Waterway has been disestablished, and all buoys, besides two white shoal buoys, have been removed. So, both dredging of the new channel from the ICW to Bogue Inlet has been completed and now newly marked, so follow the new green and red buoys to the inlet and be safe out there.

Bogus notes

1) Check me out at www.Facebook.com/Dr.Bogus.) Log onto my web site at www.ncoif.com.

2) "Ask Dr. Bogus" is on the radio every Monday at 7:30 a.m. WTKF 107.1 FM and 1240 AM. The show is also replayed on Sunday morning at 6 a.m. Callers may reach me at 800-818-2255.

3) I’m located at 118 Conch Ct. in Sea Dunes, just off Coast Guard Road, Emerald Isle, NC 28594. The mailing address is P.O. Box 5225, Emerald Isle, NC 28594. Don’t forget a gift certificate for your favorite angler for fishing lessons or my totally Bogus Fishing Report subscription. Please stop by at any time and say “Hi” or call 252-354-4905.

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