June 25, 2012

Outer Banks Angling: Reeling them in


Summer is here and the weather is definitely heating up -- bringing with it some of the warm water fish species.

As the air temps and humidity rise, so does the chance of catching a favorite local fish and excellent meal, the pompano. From Ocracoke to Hatteras, there are daily reports of some nice-sized pompano being caught in fair numbers when the weather allows.

Pompano enjoy shallow, warm, turbulent water, but can also be found in deep water spawning. This fish can be caught on a variety of rigs. The rigs can be bought at local tackle shops or made by hand.

 I recommend rigs that are made from fluorocarbon leader, as these fish like shallow water, have excellent eyesight, and can detect thicker monofilaments.

With a simple search of Google or You Tube, you can find an abundance of how-to’s on making up a rig in short time.

The recommended bait, in general, is going to be sand fleas or shrimp, which pompano find in their normal hunting grounds. But even other types of small crustaceans, such as pieces of crab, will work sometimes.

The pompano appear to be semi-thick from Buxton to Ocracoke, and if the weather allows, they may be around for a while.

But understanding that the Outer Banks has no set weather patterns means you may want to try your hand at them while you can.

Once again, I recommend talking with your local Outer Banks tackle shop for more help and info on targeting these fish.

The pompano hasn’t been the only thing biting solidly from the shore. Good-size and citation sea mullet have been caught quite frequently.

Using the same bait and rigs as the pompano, you can target both species at once.

If you are lucky, you could walk away with quite the meal.

The surf has also been producing bluefish, Spanish mackerel, flounder, and spot.

Most beach fishermen have been satisfied along Hatteras and Ocracoke recently, and if the weather cooperates, I figure that will continue for at least another couple of wee

It’s typical in July when the air temps are extreme for beach and pier fishing to slow down.

Rodanthe Pier reported a variety of bottom fish being caught in good numbers this past week. Spot, flounder, sea mullet, spadefish, and pompano all made the list.

Lots of bluefish were reported on Gotcha plugs, but there hadn’t been many Spanish mackerel.

 Water temp was holding around 71 degrees.

Avon Pier reported a 75-pound tarpon caught on a live bait rig. Lots of bluefish and Spanish mackerel had been caught on the end of the pier.

Bottom fishing consisted of lots of spot and a few sea mullet.

Water temps were holding around 80 degrees.

The offshore fleets out of Oregon Inlet  are still catching a great amount of tuna and dolphin, along with some billfish.

The inshore boats are doing very well on Spanish mackerel, bluefish, speckled trout, and flounder.

Boats out of Hatteras Inlet are crushing dolphin, along with some wahoo and blackfin tuna.

Billfishing has been excellent, with numerous reports of released blue and white marlin and even some sailfish.

Inshore boats have had their fair share of nice-sized Spanish mackerel, bluefish, speckled and gray trout and some flounder.

Keep an eye on the billfish reports. You will notice that Hatteras boats dominate in early summer until the fish start to push farther north with the warm water.

By mid-July or the first of August, there will be more billfish getting caught out of the Oregon Inlet area.

The overall speckled trout reports from the sound remain the same -- excellent. A mild winter has lead to an absolute explosion in the population.

These fish are thick from the Currituck Sound down to Ocracoke.

Everyone I speak with has done very well when targeting these fish.

Live bait, artificial bait and even top-water poppers have produced time and time again.

I chased them twice this past week out of my kayak and had no issues catching them or flounder.

While most of the fish are throwbacks, there is a good number of 1- to 2-poind pound fish to be had.

The extended forecasts are shady to say the least.

For now, it appears that the wind will spin several directions over the next week and at times be quite breezy.

It’s hard to say what if anything that’ll do to the fishing.

 If it doesn’t blow too hard from anyone direction, then the fishing should rebound just fine.

There is a lot beach that is closed to both ORV and pedestrians, but there are still beaches open and fish being caught from them -- which means there are people willing to make the best of the current closures.

In the end, this is the most important thing for the economy of the two islands -- persistence.

You can’t catch fish from 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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