May 27, 2016
Outer Banks Angling: That time again
By ROB ALDERMAN
time is once again upon us. The time when taking a five-minute drive
turns into 15 or 20 minutes. The time when you walk into your favorite
restaurant and you don’t know everyone sitting inside. The time when
you go into the grocery store and there is no bread on the shelves. The
time that no matter where you go, all you smell is suntan lotion. It’s
that time when the life’s blood of the Outer Banks -- our visitors --
begin arriving in large numbers.
Yep! It’s Memorial Day weekend.
And, while meteorologists might disagree, the nation considers it the official start of summer.
Anglers can expect a longer wait at their favorite tackle shop and more
people on their favorite pier or in their favorite beach fishing spot.
But, tourism is what keeps this area alive and visitors are welcomed
Although the tourist season is just about to heat up, the fishing has been fairly decent for a couple of weeks now.
The offshore fleets of the Outer Banks have had a great few weeks of
mahi-mahi fishing. The reports have been filled with pictures of
gaffer-size fish, day in and day out. Most days, anglers have caught
the limit or near limit of fish, which makes for a lot of meat to take
Good catches of yellowfin and blackfin tuna have hit the docks. There
definitely seems to be a good showing of the yellowfin, as of late.
But, I do not want to take away from the blackfin. They also will
continue to get caught in good numbers, as they have most of the year.
Billfish are being picked at, but I’d expect that to heat up any moment.
The inshore boats near Hatteras are catching some puppy drum, along
with the occasional citation. Bluefish, Spanish mackerel, flounder and
gray trout have also been caught. And some nice coolers of clams are
The inshore boats around Oregon Inlet are finding some Spanish mackerel
and bluefish around the inlets, along with small stripers and speckled
trout in the back waters.
And, while an injury keeps me out of the fishing game for the time
being, I've talked to some local guides and boat captains, and there's
no sign of puppy drum in the northern backwaters.
Charter fishing is hot right now, and whether it’s inshore or offshore,
I’d recommend looking at some of the marinas to see if they have
something that can suit your needs or wants.
Surf fishermen and women have been catching a mixed bag of fish along
Hatteras and Ocracoke beaches. Puppy drum, sheepshead, sea mullet,
bluefish, Spanish mackerel, black drum, flounder and pompano have hit
if you are looking to dial into a specific fish and have the best
chance of catching it, then I recommend you stop into a local tackle
shop, where they can point you in the right direction and help set you
up with what you need to catch it. Locations and methods change daily
and the tackle shops can help you in both departments.
Pier fishing has been decent.
Avon Pier has seen some nice catches of good-size sea mullet, along
with bluefish and some speckled trout hitting the deck. Rodanthe Pier
has seen a mixed bag of sea mullet, pompano, sheepshead, black drum,
and bluefish thrown into coolers.
Now for the cobia.
The season began a few weeks ago, and while some very large fish have
been caught, the overall catch hasn't been nearly as hot as last year
-- at least thus far.
Last year, the weather was very conducive for keeping these fish near
shore and in tight packs. This year, the weather has been spotty at
best and so has the cobia fishing. This doesn’t necessarily mean we
will have a bad season, but we are definitely off to a rocky start.
Does this mean that all the recent talk of hurting cobia stocks is true? Absolutely not.
Cobia are migrating and spawning, and they will not stop their track
because of poor inshore conditions. These fish will just push farther
offshore and look for warmer water to swim north in. This is proven by
the fact that cobia are currently being caught in fair numbers in the
The weather has managed to pull back together somewhat the past few
days, and, once again, the cobia have made the local reports, but still
not in overwhelming numbers.
This is my 16th summer here, and I’d say that the cobia seasons have
been half and half -- half what we are seeing now and half what we saw
last year, which was red hot. This is nothing to be alarmed by and is
one example of how the fish themselves and Mother Nature preserve the
I do believe that no matter what, cobia will continue to be caught to
some degree for the foreseeable future. Some days are going to be good
and some days not so good, but that, my friends, is fishing.
So, the fishing is good and the weather is hot. Businesses are in full
swing and everybody is open. All you have to do now is get down here
and take advantage of it.
Go fishing and play hard.
Alderman has lived on the Outer Banks for more than 16 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.)