October 27, 2010

Outer Banks Angling: Where’s the Fish?


I’ve got to go a little different direction this time rather than trying to write a report. For weeks I feel like I’ve struggled to give a Hatteras and Ocracoke fishing report because of the lack of fish.

Being clipped by hurricanes, tropical depressions, and coastal lows have made for a slow go of things.

When the wind, current, and swell have permitted fishing, the air and water temps have not.

The overall air and water temperatures have been way too warm to drive any real numbers of fall fish. I’ve personally put on a sweatshirt only about five times all fall, and I’ve yet to pull out my waders to fish. It’s just too warm.

I had a good conversation with friend and fellow fishing reports writer, Ric Burnley, last night. Ric collects fishing reports from Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina for a few magazines and his website, http://www.FishCrazy.info.

The two of us talked about our personal recent fishing experiences, along with what we’ve heard from professional captains and recreational fishermen. Ric and I agree that the fish are just not moving.

There seem to be very good bites of fish inside the Chesapeake Bay and the North Carolina sound waters, which tells us that the fish have yet to have a major weather system to drive them on their fall migration to the south.

Typically, the Virginia and North Carolina coast can be slightly brutal in October. Dominant northwest, north, and northeast winds bring cooler air temps and help to push fish out of the bays and sounds, which is what drives our fishing season.

Is this due to global warming or some other weather phenomenon such as an El Nino? I don’t know. I am not a scientist, and I don’t combine politics with my fishing any more, because it takes away from the fun and stress relief my fishing is there for.

What I do know is one of two things will happen from here on out.  We have a cold front pushing in from the northwest late this week and that will bring much cooler temps than anything we’ve seen thus far this year in our area. The coming cooler temps will help to drive some fish if the temperature comes down gradually. However, if the coast gets slammed by cold system after cold system, the fish may never really come down, but just push out and be gone. Only time will tell.

So, the fishing remains scattered up and down the islands of the Outer Banks. Reports of good runs of blues or a few red drum are sporadic at best and have been very short lived.            

I’ve had my kayak out a few times since my last report, and outside of a few fair days of puppy drum fishing in the sound, I have little to report. Usually, I would have been bragging about all the fish that were getting caught, but that is not happening.

I hope that the temps come down gradually, and the fish make a great appearance for the month of November. This would help our local fishing economy with anglers who may not usually be here at this time of year.

I hope that by next week I have a blistering fishing report, but once again -- only time will tell.

Until next time, tight lines and fair weather.

(Rob Alderman is the owner of the Hatteras Island Fishing Militia website and is a kayak fishing guide. Rob has 10 years of fishing experience on the Outer Banks, and is host of the “Outer Banks Angler” television show. You can follow more of his extreme adventures or contact him at www.FishMilitia.com)

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