September 29, 2011 Facebook TwitterMore...

Outer Banks Angling: Love and Loss


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 uninhabitable.

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 blow.

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 the surf.

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 aware 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 tournaments.

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 follow.

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.

(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

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