Before I get to today’s topic and hunting report, it is September 11 as I write this report, and it is time to reflect on the 22nd anniversary of the horrific September 11, 2001 attack on our country by Islamic suicide terrorists and the many heroic lives that were lost. …
Our waters are very noisy places. Natural and artificial sounds abound – jumping mullet, clicking and popping shrimp, vibrating fish bladders and gnashing teeth, clicking dolphins and whales, boat engines and other boat sounds, thunder and lightning, and yes, even raindrops dancing on the water are some examples. Fish are alarmed by unusual sounds, but can focus on those that mean a delicious meal is at hand. When looking at a fish, it’s easy to think that it might not be very sensitive to sound… where are its ears located? In fact, they have ears, not external ears like us.
They have several ways of hearing. The first is the inner ear confined to the head, which contains several fluid-filled canals, some of which contain hard ear stones called otoliths (Greek for ear stone) which are made of calcium carbonate and are sensitive to high-frequency sounds. It is often associated with a gas-filled swim bladder (if it has one) which can amplify incoming sounds.
Next is their lateral line, which runs the length of their body on both sides and is sensitive to low-frequency vibrations caused by water movement and turbulence. The lateral line is very useful for detecting nearby moving prey or predators. Since the sidelines are bilateral, they are also used to determine the direction and distance of incoming sound.
You also have to remember that they, the fish, are underwater, and light not only behaves differently in water than in air; We’ve heard loud cracks from recent thunderstorms. When I see a flash of lightning, I count the seconds until the sound of thunder…one-two-three-four-five. Every five seconds equals a mile, so in five seconds, sound travels about one mile in the air. In water, in terms of the speed of sound, due to the greater density of water versus air, the speed of sound is about one mile per second, or about five times the speed. Therefore, water is an excellent means of sound travel, traveling quickly and over long distances as well.
That’s today’s science lesson, and over the next few weeks, I’ll be reporting on how important sound is to fishing success using natural and artificial lures from Rat-L-Traps (thanks, Bill Lewis), buzzbaits, popping corks, and my all-time fun favorite – topwater baits. Also, why is it advisable not to rattle your boots, or hit your fishing weights and anchors while fishing, instead, keep your presence hidden. This is a case of bad noise and good noise.
Well, it looks like Hurricane Lee will stay some distance offshore, somewhere between the North Carolina coast and Bermuda.
Like Hurricane Franklin, its effects will be noticeable, ranging from the risk of extreme rip currents to surf and high tides as beaches erode. As seas rise, they will also limit fishing activities offshore and perhaps even near shore. We’re definitely collecting named storms as we approach the peak of tropical cyclone season. We’ve already reached number 13 out of 21 identified names for tropical cyclones.
There is some good news about red drum inshore.
They have been showing up at night at Bogue Inlet Pier last week with some nice catches and as far west inshore as The Point area on Emerald Isle, where they have been caught on cut bait and artificials. Yes! The #1 mullet strike we did last week has faded a bit. It was real but weak, and there were a few days of big and small mullet, lots of silversides, and some schools of menhaden too.
This has brought back 2 to 3 pound Spanish mackerel as well. Closer to shore, spaniels, blues and false albacore all prepare for their fall run. Will trout return to the waves after a year’s absence? Inside, think black stripes. The bite is excellent for both black drum and sheepshead. When sheepshead return to the ocean in the fall, they forage heavily for the winter around inlet structures, piers, piers, jetties, and ocean fishing piers as well around pilings.
As previously mentioned, we got our first mullet of the season, right on time for September 1st. This is the good news. The bad news is that it was a weak response to the remnants of Hurricane Idalia.
Since then, all I’ve seen is the dreaded mullet leaking out of the sound. Just scattered small schools of mullet filtering out of the backwaters in disappointingly low numbers without much predator response. This leak will cause the catch to fall to death. Another event with good north-easterly winds is needed to bring mullet migration and spawning behavior to a good peak, and that will be good sooner rather than later.
On the other hand, the shrimping fishing inside has been excellent. All you need is a cast net and the means to cast it. The shrimp were plentiful and large. Inland fishing also remained excellent for drum, trout and sheepshead with live shrimp on cork being a good bet for hot bait.
With the weather remaining summer-like, the old Neuse River redfish fishery is still hot with artificials on popping corks, menhaden on bottom rigs, and even topwater catches have been reported. Multiple catches are reported per trip, often with double-headed jigs.
Now for the dock reports:
Oceanana Pier is reporting blues and Spanish in good numbers and scattered croaker and sea mullet on the bottom.
The days following the Idalia showed renewed activity at the Bogue Inlet Pier immediately after the storm with not only blues, Spanish reds and larger bass, but the fall series of pompano and sheepshead also beginning to appear. Since then, fishing has slowed back to typical summer fare. The good news is that two kings weighing over 20 pounds were caught last week. I spoke to Mike Stanley, owner and operator of the pier. He said the pier as usual will be closed the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and access to the pier will be closed to public passes and key holders on Dec. 1 for repairs, possibly through February.
Seaview Pier was big on blues and Spanish with a missing king, plus some red and black drums. There are beach spots in the surf around the pier.
Surf City Pier reports Spanish, blues, sheepshead, black drum and a trout or two but no kings.
Jolly Roger reported a very slow week with some bottom fishing at night, as well as tarpon and striper sightings during the day.
Finally, Friday, September 15 is the start of the flounder extravaganza of the year, which is when Hurricane Lee will pass by. Be safe…catch flounder.
Also remember that there will be other types available if you hold an extra line or two during the flop.
1) Check me out at www.Facebook.com/Dr.Bogus.
2) Log in to my website at www.ncoif.com. It’s now better than ever.
3) I am located at 118 Conch Ct. At “Sea Dunes,” off Coast Guard Road., Emerald Isle, NC 28594. Mailing address is PO Box 5225, Emerald Isle, NC 28594. Don’t forget a gift certificate for your favorite angler for fishing lessons or for a totally fake fisherman. Subscribe to the fishing report. Please stop by anytime and say “hi” (252-354-4905).