We all look at the moon and marvel at its beauty, especially during full moons and eclipses. I also particularly like the crescent bursts when the moon is transitioning around the new moon. We are also aware of the effect of the location of the moon as it predictably relates to the comings and goings of our tides.
Years ago, John Alden Knight also linked the lunar cycles to the feeding behavior of fish and land animals… Knight’s solar tables were born.
Last week we spent the full moon and associated excessive tides because our moon was close (lunar perigee) to the earth during the full (or new moon) cycle, giving us the highest and lowest tides. for the month. Several times a year we get what is called the Spring Tides or Royal Tides, which refer, not to the season of spring, but to the “gushing” of the tide on new and full moons. These recent excessive perigee tides unfortunately coincided with the passage off shore of Hurricane Henri and its breaking waves overflowing the beach to the dunes and also threatening the remaining unhatched turtle nests.
But this is a section on fishing, so what effects can we expect to impact our fishery? Since the difference between high and low tides is maximized, we see more water moving in the normal tidal cycle. So not only are the tides higher and lower than normal, but the tidal currents are much stronger as we move through our daily tidal cycle. In addition, flood tides will “flood” areas of our backwaters that are not normally covered at high tide. The currents are stronger, providing an even greater advantage to our predatory fish, and the higher tides can also bring in more baitfish. In the marshes, the spring tides invade the marsh grass, opening up new possibilities for feeding the red drum and other fish.
The royal tides offer us fishermen the opportunity to follow the fish in the flooded marshes in the hunt for redfish tail. With a flat boat or a kayak or a shallow draft boat, we can make our way through the flooded grass, stalk the spotted bass by wagging our tails in the air while looking for crabs, shrimp and small fish trying to hide is relative safety of spartina grass.
In these conditions where the water is only about a foot deep and the waters are rough, the reds are easily frightened and when the tide begins to drop they head for the shallows, followed, hopefully. it, by us, observer fishermen. You don’t want to get stuck high and dry in the grass trying to get your boat out of the mud and grass, or worse yet, waiting for the next incoming tide to float you.
For many fly fishermen, this is the height of fun, stalking easily frightened redfish in dangerously low water. Clousers, streamers, copperheads, crabs and shrimp and surface flies like gurgling are the norm. For non-fly anglers, surface plugs, spinner baits and flavored soft plastic baits like Gulps! on a very light jig head (1/8 or 1/16 oz.) are standard rates. Spotting, throwing, hooking and then fighting a red in the grass is special, very special. Take my word for it.
Finally, it’s summer, and it’s been a hot summer with water temperatures solidly in the mid-80s, so these really high tides bring in cooler, more highly oxygenated water from the ocean. in our backwaters, also helping to ignite the fishing inside. So, for the remainder of 2021, what is the high tide and royal tide schedule? From September 6 to 13 we can expect high and low tides, and from October 6 to 12, November 3 to 9 and December 2 to 7, we can expect full tides: (https: // nckingtides.web .unc.edu / wp-content / uploads / sites / 9933/2021/01/2021-NCKT-Calend0ar-2.pdf). So. mark your calendars!
For this last week of fishing, of course Henri and his associated swells produced some nice surf swells, but made it rather bumpy for boaters, including several days of notice to small boats. Ditto for surfing and pier fishing – rough, dirty and very high waves dominated the week making fishing difficult.
Think of the Sputnik pellets to hold the bottom. There were some pre-Henry reports of successful fishing at Atlantic Beach and Fort Macon for black drum and mullet. The only information I got near the beach showed false albacore mixed with Spanish mackerel and king mackerel. We think Big Alberts are a fall fishery near the shore, but they almost always appear in late August.
Other than that, please note that the amazing catches of ribbon fish continue, especially from the Bogue Banks and Topsail docks, some of which are up to 3 feet or taller. In addition, the indoor red drum action continues to be very strong, from the Morehead City Turning Basin in Bogue Sound to the Newport River and Core Creek and to North River and Wards Creek, and ditto for the Swansboro area. In the mix there are still good catches of black drum (thanks to recent catch and size limits) occasional catches of speckled trout, sheep’s head and lake trout as well.
I know this sounds like last week’s report, but the fishing at Morehead City harbor has remained consistent and reliable with some Spanish and blues in the mix at times. And oh, how could I have forgotten the dab… flounder everywhere but not a fish to keep! Well, not until September 1–14, when regulations permit.
Sure, sea fishing piers in general are a bit slow, but Oceanana Pier got off to a good start last week with the Spanish and early and late blues on live bait, sheep heads, croakers and pigfish. The rest of the piers were not so encouraging.
Bogue Inlet Pier had a few red mullet, puffers, a few blues and spaniards, a small plaice and lots of ribbon fish.
Seaview Pier is always overrun with large ribbon fish. It has become the main attraction of the pier recently. Ribbonfish apparently eats anything, both artificial and natural bait. They also signal Spanish and early blues, mullet, croaker and pompano.
Surf City Pier brings in a slow week with a few spots and mullet and a king.
Jolly Roger Pier had two kings last week, with early and late blues and spanish and a little mullet and croakers. Hopefully the ocean sets in for a good week of fishing on the horizon.
PS Keep your eyes peeled for our first “mullet”. My average date of the first such event of the season is August 29, and this is calculated from my data since 1999, the earliest being August 24 and the latest September 9 during that time period. “MULET BLOW!” My early fall.
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