September 3, 2014

Outer Banks Angling:
September brings signs of what's to come

By ROB ALDERMAN


Hard to imagine that yet another summer tourist season is over and another school year has began. Unlike some places, such as Orlando, Fla., where there is a very strong tourist season year round, the Outer Banks' really busy season lasts about three months.

We slowly build into summer through the spring, but the tourist season still hits hard and fast. You can usually look at  locals and see August-itis ( burned out) written all over them.

But then September hits and most of us breathe a sigh of relief.

Generally, September brings a little relief from the heat, a break in the traffic, and beaches reopen -- to some degree -- after seasonal resource closures.

Residents relax a little and want to play more. And visitors can take advantage of smaller crowds, more beach access, and better deals on accommodations, along with some price cuts from local retailers looking to move overstocked items.

Most importantly, September means fall fishing could begin very soon. The crucial factor is the weather pattern over the next couple of weeks.

What are the air temps?  What are the water temps? And, finally, what direction is the wind blowing?  All of these will affect fishing.

A good sign is the movement of mullet in the sound and ocean, which to some degree has already started. I have recently seen photos of commercial guys catching these sought-after bait fish.

As the air temps drop from hot and humid to cooler and drier and water temps inch down around 70 degrees, we should see more and more bait in the water and more and more fall fish migrating.

Both locals and visitors are ready for some good pier and surf action.

Weather patterns have been truly strange around here with fall-like conditions for a few days and then tropical the next day.

The fishing has been in line with what you would generally expect in August -- not a whole lot to it, but fish have been caught.

Pompano, sea mullet, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, flounder, spot, croaker and all the usual suspects from the bottom have made the pier and surf fishing reports most days, but none has been hitting in overwhelming numbers.

The bigger runs of these fish will occur in the coming weeks with the shifting of the seasons.

You can expect big runs of sea mullet, spot, croaker, and puppy drum from pier and surf, along with good runs of tailor blues and Spanish mackerel, as the water temps begin to cool.

The offshore fleets have done better some days than others on the billfish scene, but white marlin and blue marlin fishing has been productive, along with some good mahi catches. Wahoo fishing has been mighty decent, and a variety of tuna are still hitting the docks.

The inshore boats near Hatteras and Ocracoke have found gray trout, speckled trout, puppy drum, and even some schools of citation and yearling drum, along with Spanish and bluefish.

The same holds true for the inshore boats around Oregon Inlet, but anglers there are still catching some smaller cobias just off the beach and near structures.

Cape Point recently reopened to all traffic, and that is always nice for many.

Plenty of anglers love to fish Cape Point, and even those who try to avoid fishing in larger crowds enjoy making their way out there to observe or to see friends.

My 14th summer season on the Outer Banks has come and gone. Each one has been considerably different from the last, and each one has seen change in the area.

But every year I still look forward to the constants of September.

I have a little more space on the beach. I have a little less traffic to deal with. I have a little more time with friends and family.

And it's time to get my fall fishing gear ready.

If you are looking to come down to the Outer Banks from here on out,  I suggest making some calls. Phone around and see when the rental companies, campgrounds, and local motels will begin their fall rates.

Find out about upcoming fishing tournaments, marathons, and music festivals. There are still plenty of events and attractions at this time of year. You can come down and fish with the family and do a whole lot of extra things while you are here.

One thing is for certain -- you can't do them from home.

Go fish and play hard.

(Rob 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 OuterBanksKayakFishing.com.)



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