May 29, 2015
Outer Banks Angling: It has begun
By ROB ALDERMAN
Day has come and gone, and judging by the traffic all along the Outer
Banks, I’d like to think it was a successful weekend for locals.
The weather was drop dead gorgeous. It was mildly cool at times, but the sun was out with hardly a cloud in the sky.
While the true boom for summer visitors generally begins around
mid-June, Memorial Day weekend generally marks the start of the season.
Some schools in other states have ended the year by then, though that
might not be the case this year since many schools are having to make
up for snow days.
One thing is for certain -- after a long cold winter, businesses and
their employees are definitely ready to get the ball rolling. And the
marinas were among the businesses that had a really busy weekend.
Everywhere I looked, there was a boat being towed down the road or
parked in front of a rental house. It made sense. Beautiful weather and
cobia in the water equates to a lot of business, especially during a
I took an offshore trip on Sunday and saw the madness first hand. The
public ramps at Oregon Inlet and Teach’s Lair Marina were busting at
the seams with trucks and trailers. And most of the inshore and
recreational fleets were gone from the docks.
Cobia fishing proved to be really good on Saturday for a lot of people
and seemed to slow down as the weekend went on and the fish felt the
pressure of all the additional anglers. Cobia that are constantly being
thrown on by sight-casters tend to become more skittish and develop
But cobia still made the reports every day, and photos of anglers and their catches flooded social media.
The cobia have been pushing hard the past few weeks, and my thoughts
are that their overall numbers will drop dramatically really soon, but
the fish will continue to get picked at for weeks to come. So booking a
cobia trip at this point would still be a good idea.
Along with the cobia, there were good reports of puppy drum for boaters
near Hatteras Inlet, where anglers also caught Spanish mackerel and
Surf anglers managed a variety of fish. Pompano, sea mullet, Spanish
mackerel, bluefish, small spot and croaker all were caught, along with
the occasional cobia from the sand.
No. These fish were not hauled in all along Hatteras and Ocracoke
islands. These fish are on the move, and their best biting locations
will vary by species with water temps and wind direction.
Always seek the advice of a local tackle shop on where, when and how you should fish the different areas of the islands.
has been decent on the Rodanthe and Avon piers recently, with a variety
of fish getting caught. Bluefish, Spanish mackerel, sea mullet,
flounder, small spot and croaker all made their way over the railing.
I’ve said it before—pier fishing can be a great way to get your family
out to wet a line, as the piers have everything you need to fish,
including a blanket fishing license. Check them out.
Offshore fishing was a little scattered this past weekend, but overall
it was still good. Mahi-mahi and tuna continued to dominate the scene,
though their numbers were hit or miss.
One thing is for sure. June is generally a very hot month for yellowfin
tuna, and there were some good reports recently from Oregon Inlet and
even better from the fleets out of southern Virginia. My guess would be
that the yellowfin bite lights up any day now, so booking a trip soon
will ensure you have a shot at them.
As I mentioned earlier, I made it offshore with the wife, kids, and a
couple friends. The girls fished from the boat, while the fellas
launched kayaks on a weed line that we had all to ourselves.
It wasn’t long before I heard my buddy come across the radio and say he
was hooked up and minutes later, so was I. We can target mahi the same
way from a kayak, as one would from a boat by trolling baits down the
And this would be how my buddy, Matt, hooked his fish.
But from the kayak you can cruise 10 feet or so off the weed line and
sight-cast them, which is what I did using a trout rod and power bait,
which is similar to a grub.
Shortly after landing my first bailer that was 5 or 6 pounds, I was
hooked up with another fish that was around 10 to 12 pounds.
The fun part of sight-casting for these fish is that they immediately
start flying through the air and putting on quite the aerobatic
display. But, this is also where, a lot of times, an angler loses these
After my second fish, several more were hooked but lost amongst us. The
girls ended up catching a couple from the boat and that was our day.
We saw a fair amount of mahi, but getting them to bite or keeping them on the hook wasn’t easy.
This type of trip is not something you can just call up any Outer Banks
captain and sign up for, and that's for obvious reasons. There are some
dangerous creatures that roam are offshore waters and an encounter with
one in a small piece of plastic that sits only inches off the water
could prove interesting.
The wife allowed our 17-year-old to do this trip only after years of
his pleading -- and only because it was all he wanted for his high
school graduation present.
I’ve worked with a few different local captains doing this over the
years, and I’d like to thank the guys over at Twisted Tuna Sportfishing
for accommodating us this time and doing a great job.
The weather forecasts continue to look good. After such a harsh winter,
we have definitely been rewarded with one of our best springs in recent
The official Outer Banks tourist season is here and we welcome all of you.
There are plenty of activities to keep you busy, but whatever you do, 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 OuterBanksKayakFishing.com.)