November 24, 2015
Outer Banks Angling: Red, white, and stripes
By ROB ALDERMAN
The past couple of weeks the weather has been a little more like fall
-- or even more like pre-winter. The winds have seemed to spin in all
directions, and we have had some heavy rains.
Has this affected the fishing?
It would appear that it has affected the red drum bite, since it has slowed considerably.
There have been drum of all sizes caught from Ramp 23 to the
south end of Ocracoke, but nothing like we were seeing at the end of
October and the beginning of November.
I wanted to believe at the beginning of the month that the weather and
fishing were shaping up for a long drum bite throughout the month or
more, but that hasn’t been the case. The drum are being caught
sporadically, and there is no true consistency to it.
But, that's fishing -- there is no guarantee.
The water temp is hovering around the low 60s from Rodanthe towards
Buxton, and it gets a little warmer as you wrap the tip of Cape Point
and head towards Ocracoke. So, the conditions are still conducive for
the drum to bite, and there could still be another solid bite along the
In other news, there is a new pending, state record white marlin. The
138-pound stud punishes the previous record that stood for nearly 40
years by 20 pounds.
The once-in-a-lifetime white marlin was caught aboard the “Fin-Again”
during an overnight trip out of Hatteras. The previous record of 118
pounds was set in 1976 out of Oregon Inlet.
What an excellent surprise for the crew and party, and it’s a testament
to the fact that you never know what might happen when you wet a line.
Some more big news would be the overwhelming striped bass bite. For the
past few weeks, the reports of small striped bass on the area’s bridges
have gotten better and better. While the fish started to make an
appearance in October, as the water temps have begun to fall, the bite
has gotten better.
It has been several years now since there has been much to report in
the striper department. During the winter of 2011, the area saw some
larger fish push in from the north and it led to some decent fishing
for a couple of weeks for the boaters.
Resident fish have been a completely different story for some time now.
Even though there have been some scattered striper reports that were
short-lived each fall for the past six or seven years, I say this is
the most solid and respectable one. Social media and fishing reports
have been alive with the local action.
While there have been some fish caught in the high 20-inch range, the average have been around 18-24 inches.
anglers and professional fishermen have been taking full advantage of
the action. I managed to chase after them the other night with my wife,
Lisa. We launched our kayaks just prior to the weekend’s cold
front Saturday night to chase fish down at a local bridge.
We couldn’t have asked for better night-time conditions in kayaks, as
there was not an ounce of wind, and there was about a three-quarter
moon with a clear sky. We could see the approaching storm front
on the horizon, but it was slow moving and allowed for several hours of
With the slick calm conditions and natural lighting, it made Lisa’s
first night-time kayak adventure as easy as it could ever be. I’ve been
chasing stripers at night from a kayak in Virginia waters for years
now, so it was no big deal for me, but Lisa was little uneasy at first.
Fishing from a kayak is complicated enough during daylight hours,
because of the limited space and how you must deal with certain
situations. Take away the daylight, and it becomes more complicated by
tenfold and definitely takes some getting used to.
On this night, I limited out with my three sound fish, and I completely skunked my wife.
But I’ve been targeting these fish for most of my life in Virginia and
North Carolina waters, so I had a little advantage over her.
The fish were being very finicky, but there was no lack of them. It was
nothing to see a school erupt in the moonlight or to run over top of an
unseen school and have them explode all around the kayaks.
And this went on for hours. And, while Lisa never caught a fish, she
had a blast witnessing something she had never seen before, while
trying something she had never done before.
Those "schoolies" made for a nice fried fish dinner in my house.
Given the overall number of these fish and the vast area in which they
are being caught, I’d expect this to continue until the water drops
below 50 degrees. The sound waters are shallow, so that might not take
too many cold fronts like we’ve seen in the recent past, but only time
These fish are young, so I wouldn’t expect this class of stripers to
push in the ocean and bite when the temps fall. I expect they will just
shut down altogether, with maybe a few larger fish making their way
through Oregon Inlet.
Another one of those "time-will-tell" deals.
Bluefish, sea mullet, blow toads, speckled trout, black drum, flounder
and other bottom fish continue to make the surf and pier reports, and
they should continue for another couple of weeks or longer if the water
The offshore fleets continue to do well.
Tunas of all colors have made the recent reports. Blackfin, yellowfin
and even a few bluefin have been boated, along with good numbers of
king mackerel. Scattered wahoo, mahi, and billfish are still in the
deep for the taking.
Thanksgiving is upon us and the fishing on all fronts is good. The weather looks decent overall for the long holiday weekend.
So, skip Black Friday and make a run south. You’ll still find some good
end-of-year sales at the local tackle shops and area businesses -- and
more than likely will have some fresh fish to go with that leftover
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