Banks Angling: March madness
By ROB ALDERMAN
When I talk
about March madness, I am not referring to basketball. I am talking
about the overwhelmingly beautiful weather.
Since my article late week, the daily average high temperature has been
in the mid-60s.
And the current seven-day forecast shows more of the same.
March is known to go either way in its weather. It could be cold and
blustery with spring storms coming through regularly or it can be
pleasant with the occasional spring storm.
But this March has been one of the more pleasant ones, and maybe it’s a
blessing in disguise after the punishment hurricane Irene handed out.
Maybe we are going to see continued nice weather, which will assuredly
lead to some good fishing and visitors looking to get a break from
colder weather elsewhere.
This nice weather has already led to some decent fishing early in the
year for those trying. .
Blow toad fishing has been fair and scattered from the south end of
Ocracoke to north Buxton, and scattered puppy drum have been caught in
the same range.
Some bluefish and sea mullet have been reported along the beaches of
Scattered big drum continue to be taken from Ocracoke, and a few have
been recently caught at Cape Point.
I am hearing reports of a few big schools of the big drum roaming from
the Point to Ocracoke Inlet and expect them to continue to be caught
with the current weather systems.
The beach fishermen are really going to need a southwest wind to help
drive a big drum bite, but just because you don’t have that wind
doesn’t mean that big fish will not be caught.
However, you can’t catch one if you don’t have a line in the water.
Now would be a good time to take an inshore charter to chase these fish
or even launch a kayak on the calmer days to try and catch one.
If you are going to launch a kayak, make sure you are aware of that
day’s weather forecast, take proper safety equipment, don’t go alone,
and make sure that others know where and when you are launching and
when they can expect you to return.
The shoals and inlets are fishable from kayaks, but the water in those
spots can be treacherous and unpredictable.
Right now, the water temps from Cape Point to the South Point of
Ocracoke are bouncing back forth from the high 50s to the low 60s.
If you combine the water temps with the current weather conditions, you
have a prime opportunity to catch fish in late winter.
Moderate late winter weather can trick plants and trees into blooming,
and so can it get the spring fish migrations started.
I hope the weather holds, and we don’t get clipped by a bunch of cooler
spring weather or storms.
If the fish do start to move up the coast in this fair weather and we
get clipped by prolonged foul weather, it could drive the fish into
deeper water and around us.
So I still suggest making a spring run really soon if you can.
Hopefully everything holds together and we have a stellar spring season.
Boaters out of Hatteras have caught a mixed bag of bluefin and blackfin
tuna, along with some bailer dolphin and some wahoo.
The yellowfin tuna fishing remains hot, as long as the weather is not
too pretty. Gorgeous days are not great yellowfin days. But on the days
with a little more wind and a little rougher seas, the yellowfin tuna
have been blistered.
I stopped by Oregon Inlet Fishing Center and visited the boat launch to
see what the private guys and gals were doing.
It was a pretty day and the seas were calm, so there wasn’t much to
report. There were scattered bailer dolphin, yellowfin tuna, and a few
The private boat trailer parking lot was two-thirds full. While there
were some North Carolina license plates, the Virginia plates dominated,
along with a couple from Delaware and Pennsylvania. That is a clear
testament that fishing brings visitors and much needed dollars into our
I spoke with private boat owner Jay Kiser of Smithfield, Va. as he
strapped down his 22-foot Grady White and asked him how often he came
down to fish. His response was perfect.
“I come down to fish as often as weather and finances allow,” he
A good run of fish from pier, surf, or boat can trigger an upwelling of
these travelers seeking some fresh meat or a hard fight.
It remains of the utmost importance to this area to protect our
recreational fishing and our economy.
The resource must be properly promoted and protected to best ensure its
future and the future of area residents. Recreational fishing has a lot
of history on the Outer Banks, and it’s very important to our future.
Preserving access to our waters, beaches, and our fishery is a must.
Don’t sit on the couch. Go fishing.
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)