my last article I wrote that April shouldn't have long periods of bad
weather without some decent breaks. I also wrote a disclaimer saying
not to hold me to that.
It's a good thing I wrote the
disclaimer, because between the wind and rain, the weather hasn't been
all that great. But that doesn't mean that the fishing hasn't been
fair, when the weather has allowed anglers to wet a line.
finally upon us, and I am truly hoping that the weather is going to
relax in the near future and allow for more fishing than not. My
fingers, toes, arms and legs are all crossed for good luck.
When the fleets were able to fish in April, the reports were solid.
the bluefin tuna fishing is now slowing down and should end in the
coming weeks, the bite was intense several times this past month.
if you will, the size of a 14- to16-pound bluefish (roughly 3 feet) --
and now imagine using that whole fish for your bait.
Schools of bluefin would corral these citation-size bluefish and prey on them.
charter boats would take turns backing down on the bluefish and gaffing
them. They would then proceed to hook them alive directly through their
back and pitch them back out into the mix. It would only take a few
moments before a beast of a bluefin would have the reel screaming for
Now that's some intense fishing!
The bluefin have been picked at lately, but that will continue to diminish.
However, the yellowfin tuna has continued to get better for the offshore fleets, along with the mahi-mahi (dolphin) fishing.
mixture of bailer- and gaffer-size dolphins have been making the
reports regularly of late and that will only get better as May winds on.
nice wahoo and a few billfish have begun to show up. It's a sign that
warmer weather is definitely trying to make a regular appearance.
inshore boats from Ocracoke to Oregon Inlet have done very well
stalking puppy drum. The pups are very thick and it has been rare to
hear of a slack fishing day recently.
Some of the inshore boats around Ocracoke and Hatteras have also had some luck finding schools of citation drum.
fishermen along the islands have found a mixed bag of flounder,
bluefish, sea mullet, and blow toads. Puppy drum fishing from the
beaches has remained fair, and the bluefish have made a decent showing
at times. Some bluefish have been near 10-pounds.
These size bluefish are generally very long and narrow, but are still a feisty fight.
Citation red drum have been put down on the south end of Ocracoke, Hatteras Inlet, and Cape Point.
Cape Point has had some really good runs of drum.
Cape Point is closed to all ORV traffic, but it is open to pedestrian
traffic and this does include having to walk around a bird enclosure. I
highly recommend talking with a local tackle shop employee to make sure
you fully understand this process.
I recognize and fully agree
with the fact that these closures are a pain in the rear and are
unnecessary. I also fully recognize that the very young, old, disabled,
and large families would have a difficult time making this walk.
I know of several people with some decent physical impairments who are
making this short walk. If you have an ORV driving permit and park next
to the closure, the walk is not all that bad.
My stepson and his
uncle recently parked at the cleaning stations at Ramp 44 and walked
in. It took them about 35 minutes to do so.
Pack light and travel light and the walk will be less than what most do around their neighborhood in the evenings.
see no relief from the current ORV management plan in the immediate
future. I do not expect the current lawsuit or the bills in Congress to
be expedited in any way.
So, for the physically capable, you can
sit at home and whine and moan, while letting others walk out and catch
your fish-- or you can make an effort and probably be rewarded for it.
The serious drum hunters whom I respect and have learned from have described the recent bites on the Point as “epic.”
Rodanthe and Avon piers are open and in full swing. They both are
reporting a mixture of blues, sea mullet, croaker, spot, small
flounder, and puppy drum.
gotten out a few times in recent weeks in my kayak chasing puppy drum
in the sound and while I've managed to hit them each time, some days
have been better than others.
But when the bite has been hot, it’s really good. I caught 25 pups in 30 casts one day.
also made the 3-mile paddle from the Frisco closure to Cape Point with
a friend the other day. It's wasn't that bad for either of us, as we
both have some time spent in a kayak.
But, the conditions were a
tad brutal. We faced a steady headwind from the southeast, along with a
steady 1- to 2-foot swell and chop that was white-capping.
Yes. This was less than ideal, but we have to make our runs when we can.
were tons of sea life all along our trip -- tons of bait, dolphins, sea
turtles, bluefish, sharks and drum. Although we both hooked a drum, we
both pulled the hook on them next to our kayaks.
It happens. It's not the first time and it will not be the last time a hook is pulled.
I do not recommend any newbie making that run -- ever. It's a long way in open water and a lot can go wrong.
best, an intermediate paddler can make this run, but be aware of your
limitations and always have a plan and at least one other person with
It took my buddy and me an hour and twenty minutes to make that crossing in those conditions and we never eased up.
be making that run again real soon. I liked what I saw and feel like
another run or two and we could hit the drum in a big way.
So, the fishing is good and the weather can be questionable, but when the weather is good, it's really good.
sit on your couch wishing you were fishing or complaining about the
Park Service. There has been enough complaining from every household
about this year's weather.
Get outside and blow off some cabin fever.
down to the islands and make a go of it. The local tackle shops,
restaurants, stores and motels are ready to accommodate you, your
friends and your family.
Anything is better than being at work.
Go fishing and play hard.
Alderman has lived on the Outer Banks for more than 13 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,
Release Reels, Yakattack and is an ambassador for Ugly Stik. You can
follow his adventures at www.FishMilitia.com or