December 30, 2011

Outer Banks Angling: The Grand Finale


Well, 2011 will be over soon, and the year’s fishing season will end.

I’ve scanned a lot of websites and talked with many friends to get their views of the overall fishing season this past year.

Most felt the season was slow, but also was hampered by other factors

Beach fishermen seem to think that the weather and closures had a lot to do with a poor catch this year.

A  great deal of prime beach closed early this past spring to protect nesting birds and turtles and that made it hard to get in on the early run of bottom fish and red drum.

However, I felt like there was a fair fall beach season for bottom fish and red drum, once the island became accessible again after Hurricane Irene.

Yes, the beach fishermen lost another prime shot at fish for six weeks because of the storm, but there was nothing anyone could do about that.

A bunch of beach fishermen were hoping for a better speckled trout season, and while there hasn’t been a whole lot to write about in that arena, there have been some nice specks caught.

Many of my pier fishing buddies thought the overall fishing was scattered this year.

The fall red drum from the piers wasn’t spectacular, but there were fish caught. And it could have been worse.

The bottom fishing for bluefish and Spanish mackerel was fair.

Most of the plankers were just happy Rodanthe and Avon Pier survived Hurricane Irene.

The boaters have different reviews.

Some of the inshore guys feel as if the season was overall good, but wished for a better cobia season.

Most of the offshore captains were happy about their year.

All the boaters also lost a great deal of good fishing and prime season because of Irene.

I personally didn’t get to fish all that much because of an injury. Actually, it was the least amount of fishing I have done in 10 years on the Outer Banks.

But, when I did get back onto the water in the fall, I managed to catch some nice fish here and there, and, overall, I am happy about this year.

I think if you ask any long-time angler about year to year fishing, he or she will tell you that fishing comes in cycles and all years can’t be great.

When the moon phases, tides, weather, bait, stars, and general, overall luck come together, then we’ll all have a stellar fishing season.

There hasn’t been much to report from the surf for the past few weeks, and it’s easily summed up for Hatteras and Ocracoke islands by saying scattered speckled trout and puppy drum have been caught.

Winter shark season is in full swing and can provide some entertainment for those with the gear.

Serious rod, reel, and rigging are required for shark fishing, and I highly recommend visiting a local tackle shop for more info on this or visit one of the many local websites and ask the people who do this often.

The island offshore fleets have being doing well with the blackfin and yellowfin tuna, when the weather has allowed them to fish.

Some of the dedicated inshore boats around Oregon Inlet have done well catching stripers on eels around the bridge.

The inshore striped bass fishing hasn’t amounted to much in recent years, so it’s always nice to hear of some being caught.

I was lucky enough to enjoy some fresh, local striper recently, when my fiancée’s son managed to catch a 28-incher from the Bonner Bridge catwalk on an eel last week.

The next day his uncle caught a 30-inch fish.

These were the only two fish they saw over two days of fishing, so they are scattered. But there are a few around, and it may be worth spending some free time trying to catch one.

You can purchase some eels from either the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center or from TW’s Bait and Tackle.

I also recommend having a pier net to help hoist the fish up.

Other than this, there is not much to report right now, but with the start of the new year I believe there is always hope of some more speckled trout from the surf, along with bluefin tuna and the chance of stripers from the boat.

Reports out of Virginia give the impression that a lot of their striper population is still holding tight to the Chesapeake Bay and this could lead to those fish pushing south in our direction, when they do start to push out hard -- weather permitting.

We can only hope that 2012 will be more productive for local and visiting anglers on the Outer Banks.

For the ORV angler on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, the fishing will become more limited and more arduous with the implementation of vehicle permits and the final ORV plan.

I am not eager, but I am curious to see how this works out for the local fishing and economy.

I do know that no one will be happy.

I’ve been doing some serious physical rehabilitation and training to get myself ready for a new year, and I am feeling good and strong.

I look forward to chasing fish again from the pier, boat, kayak, and even the surf.

It will not be easy adjusting to the new rules or limitations brought on by the National Park Service’s new ORV plan, but I plan to make the best of it.

I will not allow injury or government regulations to take the fun out of my fishing.

I love fishing, and I live for it.

I will fish by any means necessary until the day I can no longer stand upright.

I wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope everyone has a great 2012 fishing season.

(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


 Comments are always welcomed!

     Subject :

     Name :  (required)

     Email :  (required, will not be published)

     City :   (required)    State :   (required)

     Your Comments:

May be posted on the Letters to the Editor page at the discretion of the editor.