May 9, 2013

Outer Banks Angling:
The wheels on the bus go round and round

By ROB ALDERMAN


In the movie, “Ground Hog Day,” Bill Murray plays a weather forecaster who goes to   Punxsutawney, Pa., to cover the prediction by the furry groundhog, Phil.

Unfortunately for Bill Murray, he becomes trapped living the same day over and over again.

It would seem that the Outer Banks and most of the Eastern Seaboard have found themselves in the same twilight-zone like scenario.

This spring has by far been one of the most unfavorable weather-wise in the recent past.

The northeast winds seem to just go round and round and barely let up. For every couple of days of the preferred spring, southerly winds, we get numerous days of hard northerly winds.

Northeast winds in the spring keep down the water and air temps that we need to rise in order to bring the fish in. The weather not only dampens the fishing but also has the same effect on tourism. Many folks make their shoulder-season plans at the last moment, basing their decisions on the weather and fishing.

In the big picture, the fishing has been fair for the weather we have gotten. But a lot of people do not want to contend with the weather. It's not generally considered rest and relaxation when you are bundled up trying to stay warm and hiding behind structures to get out of the wind.

Nevertheless, there have been anglers making the best of it.

And whether on a foul day or a good day, fish have been caught.

The bulk of the surf action has continued to revolve around sea mullet and blow toads, although some of the larger bluefish have made an appearance.

A lot of us refer to these blues as all head and no shoulders. Most of these fish range between 8 and 10 pounds and have a lot more head than body. But they fight hard and eat just fine.

Spot and black drum have also been put into coolers from the beach.

The big red drum have been few and far between from the sand, and only a handful have been taken by the inshore boaters.

The drum just need some steady southwest wind to help drive their bite and bring them in to feed.

Puppy drum catches have been scattered along southern Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.

In years past, cobia have started to be caught by this time in May, but having checked reports as far south as Georgia, I can tell you that the cobia are few or have not been seen at all down south.

Now that could be a good thing. Maybe the big drum and cobia will appear in good numbers at the same time.

While both species will be a little difficult to chase down from the sand with the annual and seasonal beach closures, a good run of both could help to resurrect the inshore boat season.

The charter boat community has had its fair share of problems with the weather, rising fuel costs, and treacherous waterways to navigate.

Both Oregon and Hatteras inlets have had issues with shoaling and both continue to be worked on by dredges, though both should be done before long.

Anglers are hesitant to spend big money on a trip when they will be in big seas because of weather or have a white-knuckle trip just trying to punch out of an inlet.

So a strong cobia season would be very nice, as the fish attract a lot of anglers.

Now, with that said, offshore fishing has been good overall.

 A few billfish have found their way onto the end of a hook and the mahi-mahi fishing has been really good.

Wahoo, king mackerels, and tuna have all made the recent reports on fishing sites.

The pier reports from Rodanthe and Avon have basically mirrored that of the beach fishing.

Sea mullet, blow toads, spot, black drum, and bluefish have all made the recent reports.

The average water temps from the piers has ranged from 58 to 62 degrees.

Those temps definitely need to begin to inch their way up in order to get better inshore productivity.

It is no secret that nowadays I prefer my fishing from a kayak, not just because I am a guide, but also because I love the complexity of this form of fishing. And I am willing to travel 100 miles in any direction if I think I can catch a fish from surf or sound.

So I keep up with a lot of sound fishing because of my business and passion.

When the weather has been nice, the puppy drum and speckled trout fishing has been mighty good. Both species have been caught in fair numbers of all sizes on artificial lures. Oregon Inlet, Bodie Island, and the Manteo Causeway have all produced these sought-after fish.


The weather forecasts show an improvement in our weather for now. More southerly winds and some warmer temps will dominate for now. But the forecasts also show a slight cooling and more northerly winds by next week.

So when will this weather madness end and the fishing get good. Who knows?

If anyone could predict that, he or she would be a billionaire.

What I do know is that we all have to make the best of it and remember that a bad day of fishing is always better than a good day at work.

The highway is open to all traffic. Area businesses are open. The restaurants have plenty of food. The motels, hotels, and cottages have vacancies.

Why don't you come on down and roll the dice with the rest of us?

A few smiling faces and southern accents will brighten your day.

Go fishing.


(Rob Alderman has lived on the Outer Banks for more than 12 years and has worked in the recreational fishing industry the entire time. A former variety fishing TV show host, beach fishing guide, tackle shop and pier employee, Rob currently owns and operates Outer Banks Kayak Fishing. He is on the Pro-Staff of Bending Branches LLC, Wilderness Systems Kayaks and Release Reels. You can follow his adventures at www.FishMilitia.com or OuterBanksKayakFishing.com.)




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