November 21, 2014

Outer Banks Angling: Deep Freeze


In true Outer Banks fashion, someone threw a switch and the weather took a hard turn to cold.

Any local resident or frequent visitor can tell you that the weather around here can go from one extreme to another in the blink of an eye—and that’s exactly what has happened.

After having had a mild fall, winter has found us overnight and has made for some bone-chilling temperatures. Most of the country has been hit by severe winter weather  in the past week.

But, the cooler temps don’t  mean that the area fishing will crash—just yet.

I’ve continued to see citation red drum caught from both Rodanthe and Avon piers in semi-fair numbers.

While there has been no overwhelming blitz of fish, there have still been fish caught in moderate numbers before, during, and since the cold snap. I’ve seen some pretty fish landed, and some of those have been true fall "slobs" (large fish).

The hardcore pier fishermen are trying to get in all the time they can before Rodanthe and Avon close for the season on Nov. 30, the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Scattered drum of all sizes have been taken by surf anglers all along the beaches of Hatteras and Ocracoke.

Anglers at Cape Point have continued to hit drum of all sizes, and, like most fishing, some days are better than others.

I’ve made a few trips out to the Point in recent weeks and fished both in the surf and from my kayak. There continues to be a ton of life in that area. I’ve seen overwhelming amounts of bait and bluefish, along with the scattered schools of drum and albacore.

Unfortunately for me, I’ve managed to catch only bluefish and sharks, but I never really care. I just love fishing the Point -- in the surf or from plastic.

I love it from my kayak, as it is one of the few places that present the challenges of a lifetime and can also be very rewarding.

I had a friend tell me that there were a couple of kayak anglers out there in recent weeks who found themselves in trouble after being sucked into the shoals and losing their gear—luckily that is all they lost.

While I constantly write about my adventures out there, I highly recommend that most kayakers below the level of expert stay well clear of the Point itself and Diamond Shoals.

It is extremely difficult to read the water and currents, and, without a doubt, the area could end your life. Please be safe out there.

You can launch your kayak into the "Hook" part of Cape Point most days and find plenty of fish and be much safer, but you always need to pay attention to the currents, as they can pull you from deep inside the Hook towards the shoals.

Along with the drum, surf and pier anglers have seen a mixed bag of other fish. Sea mullet, flounder, spot, croaker, bluefish, and speckled trout have all made recent reports.

Boats out of Hatteras and Ocracoke Inlet have done exceptionally well with the king mackerel. Some days hitting the limits of kings has not been a problem, and if you have never done this type of fishing, I highly recommend it.

Most boats will catch live bait on their way to the fishing grounds and then use them on semi-light tackle. Kings make a heck of a run and can easily make a reel scream.

Blackfin tuna and mahi have both made the reports in recent weeks for the southern offshore fleets. Flounder, puppy drum, and trout continue to be caught by the inshore boats.

To the north, the boats running out of Oregon Inlet continue to do very well with the yellowfin tuna, and some days, some of the boats easily hit their limits. Everything from blackfin tuna, king mackerel, wahoo, and blue marlin have been caught along with the yellowfins.

Overall, the northern and southern fleets have had really good fishing.

The inshore boats along the northern beaches are mostly currently targeting stripers.

Yes, you read that right.

Schoolie stripers have made one of the best appearances that anyone has seen in several years now. To a degree, I am not surprised, as they were around most of the summer, and I had quite a few friends catch them most days they went out.

The means of catching the stripers has varied from live eels, rattle traps, and some trolling. A schoolie striper is generally any fish 30 inches or under, so most hope to catch them throwing lures on light tackle.

So, yes, we have had some very cold and shocking weather at times, but the fishing overall has been solid.

How long will that last?

Who knows? It will continue to depend on the weather patterns and water temps.

I have to believe that the striper action will continue for a little while, along with the possibility of another good winter of puppy drum fishing. There have been a ton of puppy drum in area waters all year and they continue to get caught in fair numbers from the surf as the sound fish push out in search of warmer water.

The season is late, and with the end of the month approaching, there will be a fair number of local businesses closing for the season, but there will still be plenty of them open and ready to serve you.

Now is a great time to find good deals on accommodations and sales at local retailers and tackle shops.

Forget fighting the masses at some crazy Black Friday sale and come spend your holiday on a little sliver of sand.

No matter the weather conditions or if the fishing is slow, there will be something to entertain you.

Go fishing 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 or

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