October 16, 2012
Outer Banks Angler:  The heat is on


While fall weather is gradually cooling things down, the fall fishing is heating up.

Reports of red drum are coming in from all directions. The big boys have moved in and are biting fairly decently.

Some have a hard time understanding why people fish for something they have to release because of a slot limit. Truth is that the big red drum put up a heck of a fight, and those hooked on them are happy to catch, release, and try again for another battle.

The northern Banks from Carova to Jennette’s Pier have seen a stellar year of catching large, red drum.

Fair weather kept the fish migrating out of the Chesapeake Bay pinned down between Avalon Pier and Back Bay Refuge for almost 10 days. These drum feed hard and gave many anglers numerous days of catching.

Pods upon pods of menhaden and mullet could be seen at any moment pouring down the beach ,and most had red drum swarming through them.

I have friends who caught more than 50 citation drum from the northern Banks in a matter of a week or so. That’s amazing. The bite at Avalon pier is unlike anything I’ve seen in eight years of chasing drum in that area.

These Chesapeake Bay fish are important to Hatteras Island. These will be the fish that be caught in the coming weeks from the piers and surf.

These drum will be taken from the eastside of Hatteras Island from Rodanthe to North Buxton.

A few may wander to Cape Point, but they generally push back offshore for the winter before they ever make it onto Diamond Shoals.

Why? I really don’t know.

A lot has to do with there migration patterns and following the bait.

Most of the drum around Cape Point will be puppy drum and yearlings, along with some smaller citations and a few really large fish that come out of the sound.

Now while the bite seems to still be hottest to the north, these migrating fish are being picked at here and there already along Hatteras Island --  mainly from Rodanthe and Avon piers -- but it is a sign of a righteous amount of fish spread out all over.

Now I expect the bite of the migrating fish to still be a little slow on Hatteras, as the water is still hovering around 70 degrees and the big schools of menhaden are just not being seen yet.

However, the current weather patterns are conducive for sending the fish and bait down the coast slowly but surely, as long as we don’t get any major weather systems that could disrupt that.

In other words-- it promises to be a stellar drum season for Hatteras Island.

One can only hope.

Cape Point has had some solid bites of the yearlings and puppy drums. Some citations have been caught, and I don’t want to make it sound like they don’t get caught at this time of year. But the real big drum in any numbers generally hit Cape Point in the spring.

Nevertheless, catching yearlings is highly entertaining and a real crowd pleaser. These fish can get caught up in the north and south currents coming together at Cape Point and can give a massive fight at any size.

There are reports of drum being caught at both Hatteras and Ocracoke inlets by inshore charter and private boats.

Tradewinds Tackle reports scattered large drum from the surf of Ocracoke, but South Point is still closed to ORVs because of a turtle nest.

This is the prime area for fall red drum fishing on Ocracoke. It has been suggested that this area may be opened by the coming weekend. That would more than likely increase the drum reports dramatically.

Reports from pier and surf along Hatteras and Ocracoke seem to be the same. Sea mullet, spot, bluefish, pompano, and flounder are being taken all over. Nothing seems to be real hot just yet, but as soon as the water temperatures drops a few more degrees, I think that will change.

The fishing could be really hot for the North Carolina Beach Buggy Annual Red Drum Tournament, which is just a week away.

There are still some openings for this tournament, and you can get more information on the NCBBA website, http://ncbbaonline.com.

Offshore reports from the fleets are still solid. White marlin, yellowfin tuna, and blackfin tuna are being taken. And there is a really good bite of wahoo right now.

So if you are interested in the deep blue, now is still a good time to make a run.

While the weather looks good for the most part, it is October and some days can be blustery, but blustery can be a good thing for fall fishing.

There are plenty of accommodations. There are plenty of places to eat. There are plenty of places to buy your bait and tackle. There are plenty of fish.

Go fishing. It’s always better than working.

(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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