March 13,2015

Outer Banks Angling: A little action


It’s always nice to have a little to report after such a harsh winter. 

I always try and emphasize that I recognize that while our winter was very cold, others had it much worse. The winters on the Outer Banks are always a little tough, especially when it is unpleasant outside.

Businesses are closed or very slow and people have a lot of time on their hands, sometimes because they have been laid off or their hours have been cut back. So, foul weather will lead to a whole lot of dismay.

However, for the past few days, the weather has been gorgeous and I know absolutely everyone is overwhelmingly pleased about it.

Seventy degree-plus air temps and plenty of sunshine earlier this week combined to make us feel like we won the lottery, especially when this was even nicer than the forecasts had called for.

Even before the nicer weather, the puppy drum made a decent showing in the surf. The best bites were consistently reported from Buxton to Frisco. While each day varies in the concentration and the quality of the bite, most days have led to some fish being caught.

The pups have been taken mostly on light tackle trout rods, using a variety of different color lead heads and grubs. Using cut bait in the wash has also yielded fair catches at times.

Last year, the winter puppy drum were more widespread from Oregon Inlet on down the islands, but while there have been some pups at times in the Ocracoke Island area, the bite has not even been comparable.

To add to the excitement, some citation size drum made an appearance at Cape Point during the warm spell. This was a very welcome event for those fortunate enough to be there for it.

Given the warm air, southwest wind and a nice pocket of warm water that was showing on the infra-red radar, it made sense that the fish would show up. You can't always count on that, but those conditions are exactly what you are looking for in spring if you are hoping to have a chance, especially this early.

I know some of the less experienced at this are asking how long this will last – and that’s a million-dollar question. I’ve seen the big drum hit earlier than this and last through May, while I’ve also seen some big drum make a showing before now for a few days and not reappear until May.

The weather is going to dictate how this season -- and every season -- is going to play out.

The best we can do is hope for warm weather and southwest winds, which will help everyone’s odds with all the spring-time fish. 

The surf anglers aren’t the only ones seeing some excitement.

The bluefin tuna have finally appeared off our coast. Pictures and reports have been frequent since their appearance several days ago. There have been fish from a couple hundred pounds up to around 500 pounds.

While the bluefin are not as thick just yet as they were at times last year, the bite sounds steady.

Bottom and wreck-fishing have also been productive, and overall it sounds as if anglers have been blessed with meat during recent offshore trips.

How this fishing will hold up also depends on weather. Anyone with experience on the Outer Banks knows that March and April can bring brutal weather and storms, but I am going to hope for the best.

Hopefully the weather will be moderate and the fishing will continue to get better, but only time will tell.

A lot of local businesses are already open for another season and more are firing back up each day. Plan a week or plan a weekend and leave the snow blowers behind. Stop by a local shop and get all the gear and info you need to thaw out a little.

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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