March 12, 2014

Outer Banks Angling: Monsters

By ROB ALDERMAN


Well, it seems the Outer Banks is starting to get a little reprieve from the harsh winter weather--at least as far as the temps go.

March and April, though, can still be brutal months for northeasters, and we got a good blow last Friday.

But, I think as long as it's not freezing and snowing outside, everyone will be a lot happier with the occasional wind and rain storm, as that is a little more like the norm around these parts.

Puppy drum fishing from the surf has remained solid from Cape Point to the south end of Ocracoke. On most days pups are making the reports, and some days anglers pick at them and other days they hammer them.

You can use a variety of bait on small surf rods to target these fish but a lot of fish are still being caught on soft plastics and lures. Check with a local tackle shop for fresh bait or the lures they recommend.

Scattered reports of a rogue sea mullet and blow toads have also made the reports from Hatteras Inlet down to Ocracoke Inlet.

Water temps are much warmer from Cape Point south to Ocracoke, which is normal at this time of year, and those areas will host the best surf fishing until the water temps rise along the rest of the Banks.

If the weather continues to cooperate more days than not, then it is possible to see some really good fishing in the coming weeks, but we will have to wait and see.

I got out in the sound in my kayak earlier this week and managed a few slot-limit puppy drum. I also had a friend go out into the sound in his boat this week and he found puppy drum and a few speckled trout.

So, from an inshore standpoint, hopefully this is a sign of catching to come.

Offshore the bluefin tuna have finally arrived and I am talking about some "monster" fish for this area. There have been more than a few fish brought in weighing well over 500 pounds.

A smaller class of fish can wreak havoc on rods and reels, so if you hook into one of these beasts, you better have the right tackle or a 600-pound bluefin may turn your reel into a plume of smoke.

With that said, quite a few giant bluefin have been caught on butterfly jigs and top water poppers, which are both typically used on much smaller gear.

Talking with a host of friends, I know the recreational and commercial boat captains are happy to see these fish, as the winter has been long and harsh and made for difficult fishing during the first few months of the year.

I especially know that the crews working the new “Wicked” Tuna TV show in the area are happy. They spent the first two months of filming not catching one fish on camera. There was even a rumor that the producers were ready to throw in the towel altogether on their new series of “Wicked Tuna: North versus South.”

I've been watching a few of the local boats that are participating in the show posting recent pics of some big fish they are taking to the scales, so hopefully they are doing well overall.

The producer's and boat captains are sitting tight on the info pertaining to who is currently in the lead.

Rumors have swirled on social media and other web forums about how these film crews and boats have been filming guys fighting and reeling on center blocks tied to the line or how they have been filming harpoon shots using fake fish-- I am sure they have.

That's exactly how these producers get some of those melodramatic, slow motion shots they cut to in the middle of a real fight or throw. It's just part of reality TV in the 21st century.

It doesn't necessarily mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things.

I can also assure you that a lot of the fish you see on television that were said to bring in $20 or $25 a pound probably didn't get but $15 a pound in real life, but that's reality TV.

The producers job is to create jaw-dropping moments and keep views glued to the set or get them all worked up over the fact that a fisherman just made $10,000 on one fish.

It's hard to find 100 percent real in reality TV.

Once again-- does it really matter? If the content entertains and stirs conversation, then the producers and network have done their jobs.

I am still happy for all the guys and boats involved and wish them all good luck and safe waters.

In recent years, as the bluefin fishing has gotten better, so has the demand for recreational fishing for the monsters of the sea.

I've been by Oregon Inlet a few times recently and have seen most of the fleet out and a fair showing of trucks and trailers parked at the ramp.

In my book, this TV show can only help to boost that aspect of recreational fishing.

This past week saw some outstanding bluefin fishing with the bluefin chasing 15-pound bluefish on the surface and laying waste to everything that moved. I wish I could've seen it first hand.

The weather looks fishable for the most part in the near future. Nothing too dramatic is forecast that would shut it down for an extended amount of time.

But, it is March, and that could change at the drop of a hat.

Spring is almost here--get your gear ready and plan a trip. Leave those cold temps behind and head south.

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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