March 16, 2012


Outer 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 Ocracoke.

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 bluefin tuna.

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 economy.

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 said. 

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.

(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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