Banks Angling: Love and Loss
By ROB ALDERMAN
It seems like the fishing world had come to a stop on Hatteras and
Ocracoke islands since the Aug. 27 arrival of Hurricane Irene. To an
extent, it did -- like no other time in the recent past.
With Highway 12 washed out and several villages severely damaged,
fishing was not on the top of most people’s mind, unless that was their
primary form of income.
I had a conversation with Capt. Jerry Teal of Got’em Charters. Jerry
suffered terrible damage to his home, which the storm left
This puts a terrible strain on this captain, who also has to deal with
the fact that he has few charters. Most of his clients were unable to
reach the island or were changing their vacation weeks altogether.
It’s very hard to lose your home and your income, all in one fateful
Jerry was saddened by these events, but expressed his sorrow for others
he felt had it much worse.
He was optimistic about a few trips he would be able to pick up during
the coming weeks.
I also had a conversation with Capt. Kenny Kocci of the Big Tahuna, who
said he was rubbing two pennies together, hoping to make a dollar.
Kenny has had a couple charters now that the island is open to visitors.
The few visitors who have been able to get here by ferry from the
mainland are helping to put a little business on his boat, but
not like if Highway 12 was open.
Kenny had some flood damage at his home, but it was livable, and he
also felt for other islanders who had it much worse.
Oregon Inlet Fishing Center has been closed since the hurricane, and
the fleet has been displaced to surrounding marinas.
The fleet docks were severely damaged, as were the public ramps. Two of
the four ramps were damaged.
Oregon Inlet Fishing Center hopes to be fully open to business and
charters by sometime next week. For now, only the two remaining public
ramps are open.
For this past month, all the local tackle shops and piers have taken
some serious business hits, as they rely almost solely on the tourists.
The local dollars could never sustain one of these businesses.
A few of the tackle shops had soundside floodwaters in their stores.
For a few of the tackle shops, recovery has been tedious, to say the
least, and most are working hard to be prepared for when Highway 12
reopens. That date is now expected to be in early October.
Hatteras and Ocracoke have been reopened to tourists for several weeks,
and a lot of the visitors are fishing.
Most of the surf fishing reports note that the catch had included
varying-sized bluefish and Spanish mackerel, with some pompano, sea
mullet, spot, and croaker mixed in. A few flounder have been taken from
There have been some red drum caught, ranging from pups to citations
with most taken from Cape Point.
Both Rodanthe and Avon piers are currently closed, and I was unable to
get details about when they might reopen, although I am not
of any structural damage to either structure.
Offshore reports have consisted of some dolphin, tuna, a few billfish,
and an incredible wahoo bite.
Boats out of Hatteras have reported limits upon limits of wahoo.
This fish is a crowd pleaser and excellent table fare.
Most of you reading this report will not be able to get to any of these
fish until the road reopens.
I know all of you hope that is soon, and so do all the captains and
business owners on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. And I know islanders
are hoping the road opens before the remaining of the fall surf fishing
Those who can get to the islands can expect fishing to be sporadic as
we approach the true fall season.
The area has already had two weather systems that have brought in a
northeast wind, and we are about to receive our third this weekend.
This system is packing the coolest winds of the season thus far and
will almost certainly get some fish moving.
I would expect that the red drum of all sizes will make some fair
appearances along with some fall-size spot and sea mullet.
The islands are ready for some good fishing and the anglers that will
Those anglers and the money they bring are desperately needed for a
community that relies on them so heavily. The money that they spend has
an impact on every type of business on Hatteras and Ocracoke.
When the time comes for you to make your next trip to these wonderful
places, please stay locally, spend locally, and spend generously.
This is the greatest help you can offer the people of these islands.
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)