August 7, 2012

Outer Banks Angling: Weather vs. whether


In my last column, I wrote about the area’s unpredictable weather and the fact that this summer’s weather has been relentlessly bad.

Not much has changed since that last column.

The winds have continued to blow, and the thunderstorms have continued to roll through -- along with continued waterspouts being reported all along the Outer Banks.

In the last column, I also asked if you would let a little weather prevent you from making a go of the unlimited fishing around here. And the ultimate question of whether or not prevails when questionable or threatening weather is in the forecast.

As a kayak fishing guide I’ve found myself asking myself this question almost daily this summer.

My experience has taught me that the waters around the Outer Banks can fuel a storm or kill it altogether. I have to wonder before I walk out the door if I am going to get caught in a violent thunderstorm that lasts for an hour or a huge waterspout.

Or will I call off a trip because of an impending storm, and the sun will end up shining all day long.

Bad weather is just out right bad for business--for everyone.

If visitors are already on their vacation, then retailers generally will make out the best, followed by restaurants.

It’s hard to do outside activities, which drive this area, when the weather is bad.
But, if the weather is bad three to four days of the week, then we are back to everyone losing, because people can and will shop and eat out only so much.

However, when the visitors are just coming for a day trip or a few days for an event, then they most likely cancel altogether when the weather forecasts look bad.

And, who can blame them?

Money is tight in most households and the thought of traveling, when the weather looks bad doesn’t make sense.

I’ve personally taken my family for a few overnight and day trips to both Water Country USA and Busch Gardens this year. I watch the weather religiously until the last minute, so I can cancel my accommodations and still receive a refund.

A lot of people do the same around here.

I’ve spoken with a couple of friends that run mom-and-pop style motels, and they have all lost business because of the weather this summer. A blow that affects everyone.

Sure. A lot of people do come and do make the best of it, but every lost dollar in a fragile economy like the Outer Banks hurts badly and can rarely be replaced.

With only a few weeks left before school starts and the visiting population dropping considerably, we can only hope for some fair weather.

Unfortunately the current weather forecast leaves much to be desired. Almost every day this week calls for a 40 percent or greater chance of thunderstorms, along with some strong wind at times.

In an average summer, there is usually a slight chance of storms daily, but we would rarely get them or they wouldn’t last long if we did. This year we have had more of a daily chance of thunderstorms. We have gotten most of them and they have usually last a considerable amount of time.

It’s ironic that the Outer Banks is seeing more summer storms that most people can remember, while most of the rest of the country is suffering the worst drought in 50 years.

Despite the weather, the offshore and inshore fishing have been good. The pier, surf, and kayak fishing have been good.

Some of the restricted access beaches along Hatteras and Ocracoke have slowly begun to reopen. Cape Point reopened last Friday.

Now is the time with the end of summer and Labor Day approaching that the area should be booming with week-long visitors, day trippers, and the weekend warriors.

We do not need foul weather possibly deterring one visitor. Everyone’s livelihood depends on it.

With so much at stake and the true start of the area’s hurricane season rapidly approaching, we have only one request to Mother Nature as a fishing community.

Give us fair weather and fair 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

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