October 28, 2011 FacebookTwitter More...

Outer Banks Angling:  A Legacy


Another fall week has passed and so has another red drum tournament.

The North Carolina Beach Buggy Association’s annual Red Drum Tournament has been run by a few different folks over the years, but continues to do well amongst participants.

Anglers continue to show up in good numbers to chase one of Hatteras and Ocracoke’s most prized fish.

Last weekend, 235 anglers were fishing.  They caught a total of 41 drum, 32 of which qualified for the minimum 40-inch length needed for a North Carolina release citation.

The second-place overall winner in the tournament was a young angler, 15-year-old Logan Sheriff from Palmyra, Pa., with a 50-inch drum.

Despite this win by an angler in the tournament’s junior division, I have to wonder if there are fewer young anglers in our sport and in the chase for red drum.

I still see a fair amount of youngsters who travel to the Outer Banks to chase fish, but in a lot of cases, it seems it’s the same young faces each year.

I have to wonder why this may be.

Many a national magazine has written about the issue, and the articles attribute the annual sportsman loss to a variety of reasons -- loss of access, competition from other sports, extensive fees or rules, and even just the modern family not having the time.

I don’t know why it is that the fishing world is losing young participants. I just hate to see a legacy fall by the wayside.

Chasing the red drum on the Outer Banks is a passion.

While most do stand a chance of catching one of these fish by purchasing a few pieces of gear and finding a decent place to fish, those who catch these fish over and over again during a season do so because of skill.

Catching red drum is a game, a sport, and a thought process.

You have to make sure that your gear is constantly right. You have to have the freshest bait. You have to read the water and understand the many weather factors that drive these fish.

Being able to chase these fish from pier, surf, and boat truly separates many red drum anglers from others.

There are only a handful of adult anglers that do so and the youths are even fewer.

Now only a few young kids follow in the footpaths of those before them.

Boating is getting expensive and it’s hard for adults to afford to own and operate them.

Piers seem to fall in the water, never to be rebuilt.

And, more beaches become harder to access.

I just hope that someday, in some way, we can find a way to preserve this art form in our young people.

Yes, being good at Outer Banks drum fishing is an art form and after decades upon decades of anglers practicing this art form, it would be a waste to see it lost.

It was a great week for red drum fishermen on Hatteras and Ocracoke with many citations and fish of all sizes being landed on the South Point of Ocracoke. And Cape Point saw over 300 fish get caught over a four to five day period.

Yes, this is considered as good as it gets, especially if you were there for it.

I just happened to be there for Sunday night’s bite at Cape Point and it was very good. I was happy to beach a few fish for myself, while also helping my fiancée’s 14-year-old son catch his second Cape Point fish.

I’ve been very happy to try and pass on to this youngster the knowledge shared with me by those I consider to be the best.

It has brought me great personal pleasure to watch him try and take to the sport and to be catching fish so early in his training.

Yes, it is training, and there is a lot to be trained for -- proper casting techniques, rigging, knowing how to follow your line in a crowd, knowing when to change your line or re-tie a shock line, how to properly cut, preserve, and hook your bait, and the list goes on.

Lots of bluefish continue to be reported all over Hatteras and Ocracoke.

Some blues are caught on lures, while others are taken on cut bait.

A variety of small bottom fish are also being caught along the surf and from the piers, including sea mullet, blow toads, spot, and some flounder.

I‘ve heard reports of puppy drum being caught from numerous locations, although they do not seem to be hot and heavy.

Offshore boats running out of Hatteras seem to still be doing well with wahoo, with fair numbers being caught.

There were also reports of blackfin and yellowfin tuna being decked from the area marinas.

Inshore boats around Hatteras have been able to find some speckled trout, along with some red drum and bluefish.

Oregon Inlet fishing boats are still having good luck with catches of blackfin tuna, yellowfin tuna, and even a few billfish.

The inshore boats produced some speckled trout, flounder, and even a few inshore stripers.

So, fall fishing remains good, and while we are currently in the middle of a serious weather change -- things are cooling down quickly -- I feel like the fishing still has a week or so of good conditions to bring fish to the piers, boats, and surf.

Now, all you have to do is come on down and try your luck.

And, don’t forget -- take a kid fishing.

(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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