October 8, 2015

Outer Banks Angling:
The light at the end of the storm


For two weeks now, we lived in a different world here on the Outer Banks.

While fall generally has crazy weather, the past couple of weeks have made no sense. Northeast winds, rain, and general doom and gloom have dominated our scene almost nonstop.

There were a couple small breaks when we saw some sun and a little more pleasant weather, but it was not much more than a span of several hours and we were right back to the unpleasant.

The weather made it highly difficult for the offshore fleets to run most of the time and also made it very hard, if not impossible, to fish from a great deal of the surf, whether because of the surf being too rough, the tide being too high along the beach, or even the beaches being closed for safety by the Park Service.

Does this mean that no fish have been caught? No.

When the weather did allow for a little fishing, some drum were caught from Cape Point, along with some scattered small fish along the beaches.

Some puppy drum were caught from shore in the sound and from inshore boats. And some nice drum made an appearance on the north beach piers, which is always a decent sign of fall fishing to come.

But, overall, fishing has been a tough go.

Our weather forecasts for the immediate future truly look fall-like. Mostly light and variable winds, along with cooler air temps, should help motivate the fall fish into biting.

My concern after this type of storm system would be overall water quality. I would think that the ocean would be less affected by stormwater runoff, but it could potetntially affect areas near the inlets.

Millions upon millions of gallons of freshwater runoff from the interior of the state have already found their way into the sound. This water packs all types of pollutants that will affect the fishing grounds, and it will also drastically lower the salinity of the water for some time to come.

The runoff will find its way through the inlets, and it may or may not impact the fishing in a broader area.

It could also possibly force a lot of fish out of the sound and into the ocean and lead to a  really good fall season.

But the truth is that no one really knows how the long-term effects of this weather will play out. 

Only time will tell.

There has been a fair amount of flooding in some areas of Hatteras and Ocracoke, along with a considerable amount of beach erosion. Access to some of the more popular spots could be limited for a little while, and, once again, we’ll have to wait and see, as the stormwaters continue to recede.

We anglers also get concerned about our wooden piers along the Outer Banks during storms. Most fared well for the beating they took, but yet again, the Rodanthe pier took quite a pounding  and suffered some serious damage from the pictures I saw.  The owners say they intend to rebuild.

I know a lot of anglers are anxious to come down and try their hand at fall fishing. It is prime time for it, and it is also tournament season.

Just remember to be patient and expect that, in some cases, fishing may not be simple for a few weeks to come.  This is fishing and there are no guarantees in this sport/hobby.  

I know that smelling the salt air, seeing the blue ocean, and feeling sand between your toes is much better than working. Catching fish is just a bonus.

Some places are open and some are closed, but that shouldn’t stop you from heading down and wetting a line.

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 www.FishMilitia.com or OuterBanksKayakFishing.com.)

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