July 30, 2013

Outer Banks Angling: Up and Down


The latter half of July saw some up and down weather. While for about seven to eight days, we saw the hottest temperatures of the year thus far, the end of the month cooled down considerably.

The heat spell consisted of light, easterly winds and that drove our temps through the roof. Brutally hot and humid days prevailed and, in many cases, slowed the inshore fishing considerably.

When the weather finally made a change, it made a huge change. The wind went northeast and brought much cooler days and evenings with it.

If you factored in the heat index, there was a 20 degree difference between the two weeks.

The cooler temps helped out the inshore fishing slightly.

Most people definitely consider the hot summer months to be a slow fishing time, and I would agree. Most folks find it hard to eat in high heat and so do the fish.

There were times during the super hot days that I was seeing schools of puppy drum and speckled trout, and I couldn't get them to bite anything. And, believe me, my clients and I threw everything at them but dynamite.

I believe if I had been able to find these fish in the dark, wee hours of the morning when the surface temps were cooler, I think we would have had a better chance of catching a few.

When the weather cooled down, the fishing got a little better for me. It wasn't record breaking, but it was a noticeable difference.

Professional, inshore captains and even recreational boats were able to do a little better the past couple weeks overall as opposed to the surf fisherman, waders, and kayak fishermen because they could reach deeper, cooler water.

The fish are looking for relief from the oppressive heat and will tend to move into deeper water if they can. If there is no deep water for them to move into, they just hang in the shallows and torment the fisherman, by being seen but not biting.

For the immediate future, the forecasts show our high temps in the low- to mid-80s and not-so-bad humidity levels. While there seems to be a chance of thunderstorms almost daily, that is nothing new for summer on the Outer Banks. 

Reports of small spot and croaker up and down the islands have made the surf reports almost daily and are a standard-issue fish in the summer months.

Bluefish, sea mullet, puppy drum, and pompano also made the surf reports frequently, but they are more sensitive to the weather. Each species prefers different conditions.

The conditions that each like takse a fair amount of time to learn and even longer to understand how the conditions may not be right for a species on one part of the islands, but great on a different part.

You can bypass some of this learning curve by visiting a local tackle shop. The tackle shops can help point you in a direction based on the current weather and what's biting.

The reports of citation drum from Hatteras Inlet by surf fishermen have slowed some.
However, the recreational and professional boaters have been doing well with them around Ocracoke and Hatteras inlets.

The inshore boats have also seen fair catches of Spanish mackerel, puppy drum, speckled trout, and bluefish.

Offshore boats out of Hatteras and Ocracoke have done very well with wahoo of late and have had scattered billfish and mahi-mahi biting.

Rodanthe and Avon piers both continue to produce small spot and croaker, along with bluefish, sea mullet, and pompano during the day. Bluefish and Spanish mackerel bites have not been uncommon in the early mornings and late evenings.

The water temps at the piers have averaged between 75-80 degrees.

Waders and kayakers can still find puppy drum, speckled trout, and flounder in the sound waters, no matter the weather -- although some days will assuredly be better than others.

Yet, there is a lot of real estate to cover out there, and I once again recommend visiting a tackle shop and getting an opinion on the hot spots.

Big-eye and yellowfin tuna fishing remain good for the fleets running out of Oregon inlet, while billfish, wahoo, and mahi-mahi add to the entertainment factor for those fleets as well.

Inshore boats in the Oregon Inlet area continue to pick at a few cobias and even some citation drum.

Speckled trout and puppy have also remained solid for the charters and recreational boats that can find cooler water.

Sheepshead fishing continues to be good for those in boats and those fishing from the catwalk on the Bonner Bridge

We are now entering August, and I would expect the fishing to remain the same over the next few weeks.

I also expect that we will see the gradual lifting of some of the seasonal beach closures to pedestrians and ORVs, which will open up some more fishing grounds for the surf fishermen.

I really do not care if you fish or not. The weather is great for the beach right now. Even if it's blistering hot, there is a large body of water for you to cool down in.

So if you don’t have plans right now to come on down, just think about the fun and sun you are missing.

Get your butts down here and have a good time.

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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