September 4, 2013

Outer Banks Angling: It's a white-out


Well it's the beginning of September and Labor Day weekend is behind us.

While there are still plenty of people here, traffic has dropped off this week. If you are here and you are reading this, then you need to go fishing.

In true August and September form, the white marlin are chewing hard. Offshore boat after offshore boat is returning every fishable day with numerous release flags flying.

The bite has been hot, to say the least.

And while this is the prime season and hardcore anglers book months in advance for this bite, you should still be able to find a charter for your party or a make-up charter for yourself or small group.

Blue marlin, sailfish, wahoo, mahi-mahi, and a variety of tuna are all hanging in the same area as the white marlin and are being caught also, which adds to the excitement.

This is truly a great time to get out into the Gulf Stream and make a go of our world-class fishing.

The inshore boats from Oregon Inlet to Ocracoke are still doing well with puppy drum, speckled trout, and scattered flounder in the backwaters of the sound.

Near-shore boats in the ocean are doing well with Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and some scattered citation drum and cobia.

From Oregon Inlet to Hatteras Inlet red drum of all sizes are being caught. Not so much in huge numbers, but they are being beached anywhere in size from undersize fish, slots, yearlings, and the occasional citation.

This is a good sign as the fall red drum are a huge draw to the area in September and October. Pier and surf anglers from all over make their first or annual pilgrimage to the Outer Banks to chase the spot-tail.

The sea mullet continue to be caught from the surf, and while the citation-size fish have slacked off slightly, there are still plenty of healthy eating-size fish being caught.

The sea mullet should continue to be caught for at least the next several weeks if the weather conditions allow.

Pompano are still being caught from the pier and surf at times, but are fewer in numbers. These fish will continue to hang around for the next few weeks or until the water temps start to drop.

With the reopening of Cape Point to ORVs, the reports of Spanish mackerel and bluefish have increased. Cape Point is a prime location for targeting these species at this time of year, and you can expect that there will be a showing of the fall red drum in this area in the coming weeks.

In general, the fishing this year has been mighty good for all the different types fishing.

The cobia bite was good this year, and while their sizes weren't some of the greatest we have seen in the past, they have hung around most of the summer and provided some action almost daily. The tuna action was excellent in early summer and continues to be good. Puppy drum and speckled trout have provided countless hours, days, and weeks of entertainment for the public and for professional guides this season.

And now the bill fishing is hot.

All signs point to a strong fall season.

Fall is also the time of year that places like Rodanthe and Avon piers will see an influx in business. You can expect to see sea mullet, spot, croaker, speckled trout, and drum of all sizes to begin to make a regular appearance on the planks.

The two piers have seen a mixed bag of sea mullet, spadefish, sheepshead, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, pompano, and a scattered puppy drum in recent weeks.

Sound fishing for waders, kayakers, and small boaters has remained solid, with great catches of slot-limit drum, speckled trout, and the occasional decent size flounder.

At this point, different size mullet are moving out of the sound and into the ocean. This will lead to many an angler standing in the surf with cast nets, trying to catch themselves some fresh bait.

But not to worry -- the local tackle shops should have a good supply of this bait if you are not one to chase it down for yourself.

As fall approaches, you will also see the Internet come alive with promotions and chatter for the upcoming tournaments.

If you are interested in any of the fall tournaments, you can contact a local tackle shop, and they should be able to help you learn more about each tournament and how to possibly participate in them.

In the very near future, the rates for accommodations will take a sharp turn downward as the prime season is over. This is a great thing to take advantage of  for a week-long or weekend trip.

A little shopping around with some of the Island Free Press advertisers, and you can be on your way to enjoying some great fall fishing.

For now, the weather looks fair, and there is no immediate threat from the tropics.

As usual, I highly recommend following the local tackle shops through their websites or social media for the most up-to-date reports, while also visiting them upon your arrival for the hottest spots and tackle you'll need.

It's almost time to say goodbye to summer and hello to fall.

And most anglers can't wait.

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 or

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