January 29, 2014

Outer Banks Angling: It's called winter


What a dramatic change we've seen in our weather patterns.

Most of 2013 consisted of outstanding and almost abnormally fair weather.

Most locals would tell you that in January, you could be wearing flip flops one day and snow boots the next.

I don't disagree with that, but since I moved here at the turn of the century weather in January and February seems to have been consistently more pleasant than not.

It seems that I've spent more time in fair weather clothing than in cold weather clothing in the past several winters.

Sure it has gotten cold, but it hasn't seemed to last for extended periods.

I can remember back to when I was a kid growing up in Chesapeake and back then when winter hit you were basically in cold weather gear for three or four months and you could expect it to snow a few times at a minimum.

I can remember the so-called  “Blizzard of 1980” that dumped an unreal amount of snow so fast that it actually trapped people who had come to see the circus inside the Norfolk Scope Arena. My father was an assistant superintendent with the City of Norfolk at the time and my house was buzzing because of the havoc such a storm had brought.

I can remember building tunnels and igloos in the 3-foot snow drifts along our fence. From a 6-year-old's perspective, it was great.

This was prior to my neighborhood having access to cable -- this was before there were 24-hour news stations or even the Weather Channel.

Well, now we do have multiple 24-hour news channels, the Weather Channel, the worldwide Web, and home meteorologists.

Thus far in 2014, the northeast has been hit with one cold and blustery storm after another that has brought snow and ice.

These storms have been blamed by meteorologists on arctic blasts, polar vortexes, and evil elves with black fairy dust.

It was my understanding as a child that this type of weather during December, January, February, or March in an area that is supposed to have four seasons was simply referred to as -- winter.

I acknowledge that there hasn't been a normal or typical winter in the past couple of decades and you could try and blame that on global warming, climate change, Al Gore or George Bush, but that doesn't change the fact that when we actually get cold, snowy weather for an extended period of time that it's simply just winter.

As I sit here and bang away on my keyboard, the forecast is predicting anywhere from 3 inches to possibly a foot of snow.

And, man, you would think the world was ending.

Social media, blogs, and Web forums have been abuzz with pics of bread aisles and milk coolers wiped out in area grocery stores by those preparing for the great Polar Vortex of 2014 to wipe us off the planet.

This is obviously Nostradamus's predicted Armageddon--or it could just be winter.

Water pipes will freeze, car accidents will occur, and children will miss school, but I am sure the human race will prevail in the end.

At 39 years old and a medical record that looks like "War and Peace," there are few parts on me that are looking forward to cold and frigid weather packed with snow and ice.

But I will embrace it for what it's worth and all along I'll be hoping for summer to arrive as soon as possible.

The cold, blustery weather has made it a hard go for fishing on all fronts along the Outer Banks.
When the fleets have made it out, they have reported some good blackfin tuna fishing, along with some great king mackerel fishing.

Bluefin tuna continue to elude the fleets and all those involved with filming for the National Geographic Channel’s “Wicked Tuna: North vs. South.”

The score board for the new TV show remains at zero for all.

Scattered puppy drum and speckled trout have made the reports on occasion from the surf.

These cold fronts could (I stress could) have long term affects on puppy drum and speckled trout fishing this year if the sound waters get very cold and frozen, which can lead to cold-stunned fish.

Small parts of the sound had ice here and there, and it's a little early to know any repercussions from this, although I did see some pics of dead trout up to 26 inches that were said to be victims of cold stun from the Virginia Beach, Lynnhaven area.

We'll just have to wait and see.

I usually end my columns with "Go fishing," but this time I think I'll just say, "Stay warm."

You'll be back in your flip flops and T-shirts soon enough.

(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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