May 31, 2013
Outer Banks Angling: Recapping Memorial Day Weekend
BY ROB ALDERMAN
was a blustery and semi-stormy start to the Memorial Day weekend. Gusty
winds and scattered thunderstorms led the charge on Friday and
Saturday, but by Sunday the weather became as good as you could ask for.
Clear skies, light winds, and warm air made for an excellent second half of the holiday.
The beautiful weather brought out the fishermen in droves.
boat ramps were slammed with trucks and trailers. The piers had good
crowds and the beaches had plenty of lines in the water.
The true story lies in the current cobia fishing, which is super hot.
local fishing reports, Facebook, and Twitter were overwhelmed with
pictures of these brown studs being held and hoisted as weekend
From what I am currently seeing and reading and the info I am gathering, these fish are stretched from Wilmington to Rodanthe.
And that's impressive.
those that have never caught a cobia it is an explosively powerful
fish. Some fights can last an hour. Cobia can easily range from 10 to
100 pounds, but no matter the weight, they can give an angler a run for
Probably one of the biggest reasons they are stalked
so much -- other than they are good eating -- is that they are almost
This means the boats are looking for these
fish swimming on the surface or tagging along with a ray or turtle.
When they are spotted, the angler will then throw one of many types of
lures or live eels in the hopes of hooking up.
One can generally watch as the cobia swallows the presented bait whole. It's very exciting.
rods are generally light in the big picture, so that maximum distance
can be obtained during the cast. The reels are generally spooled with
braided line, which is highly sensitive to feel. Combine the two and
you have quite the fishing and catching experience on your hands.
fishery is very hot for now, but that could change quickly, so if you
are even thinking of chasing these fish now is the time to book a trip.
mahi-mahi fishing has remained very solid for the offshore fleets and
recreational boaters. Lots and lots of mahi of all sizes have been
thrown on the docks.
Yellowfin tuna and scattered billfish have
also made the reports, but, honestly, a lot of the big boats have been
getting in on the hot cobia fishing.
Most of the inshore boats
have been hunting cobia, but those running in the Pamlico Sound have
been wearing out the speckled trout and puppy drum.
Some decent numbers of Spanish mackerel and bluefish were also caught by the boats out of Ocracoke and Hatteras inlets.
fishermen had a fairly decent weekend on the sea mullet front. Numerous
citation sea mullet were taken. Pompano fishing was pretty fair also
and some nice size fish made their way into coolers.
Scattered bluefish, Spanish mackerel, black drum, spot, croaker, small flounder, and sheepshead made the beach reports.
18-pound Florida permit was landed from the surf in Avon. While
catching this fish is a rarity in the big picture, it does happen from
time to time. I saw a report from the weekend where a 20-pound permit
was taken in the Surf City/Topsail area.
Rodanthe and Avon piers reported some bluefish, sheepshead, small flounder, spot, croaker, sea mullet, and a few speckled trout.
Kayakers and waders did manage to find plenty of speckled trout and puppy drum.
Both species have had a decent showing in recent weeks.
ran guide trips hard on Sunday and Monday and can honestly say we
caught more puppy drum than I could begin to count. Both throwbacks and
slot-limit fish were thick and feeding aggressively. It's nice to see
the state fish thriving so well.
My friend Johnny Berquist and I went hunting cobia from our kayaks the other day.
a big ocean to be hunting these fish from a kayak. However, Johnny
managed to hook a 6 ½-foot sand tiger shark and was able to get it to
the surface. When we inspected it, we noticed a tag in its dorsal fin.
I was able to get along side the shark in my kayak and get the tag info.
called the toll-free number on the tag, and we were shocked to find out
that this big fellow was originally tagged in Panama City, Fla., in
August of 2011. At that time, the shark was 5 feet long.
means this shark traveled from the panhandle of the Gulf of Mexico,
through the Florida Keys, and back up the Atlantic for roughly a 2,000
mile journey -- that we know of.
As with the Florida permit that was caught, sometimes there are no rules to how far marine creatures might travel.
you are looking for the current fishing hot spot and gear, look no
further than one of the many local tackle shops. They know their stuff
and will set you up right.
The weather is gorgeous, the fishing
is fantastic, and there are vacancies at local accommodations. So
book a place to stay, grab your gear, pack your vehicle, and get
yourself down here so you too can get in on the good times.
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.)