June 30, 2016

Outer Banks Angling: Independence Day


2016 continues to scoot on by at lightning pace as July 4 is already upon us. The Outer Banks has had decent weather for summer. While it has been very hot at times, we've also seen some cooler and wet days.

Fishing is approaching the inevitable summer slow down. As the air and water temps continue to rise, the catching generally falls.

The cobia have fallen off considerably, but they are still around and continue to make the reports daily from piers and boats.

The numbers do generally plummet, so a lot of captains are hesitant to chase them for clients. But, professional and private boats do manage to find cobia cruising the surface each day that is fishable. The northern piers have even seen a fair surge in their cobia catching with recent northeast winds.

There will definitely be cobia in the reports to some degree for weeks to come.

The inshore boats near Hatteras Inlet continue to do well with red drum of all sizes. Puppy drum and small yearlings dominate the scene, but citation size fish are also being picked off. Hatteras Inlet can be productive for drum of all sizes in the summer months from boat and surf. That area can hold them all summer long at times and is definitely a good spot to check out if drum is your target species.

Some of the area’s top captains have a tough time navigating the inlet, shoals, and channels around Hatteras inlet, so I warn recreational boaters to use caution. There are quite a few local inshore captains who target summer drum and hiring one can be extremely productive and a much safer way to go.

The big drum from the surf do typically hang around Ramp 55 and checking with local tackle shops for info is highly advised, as they can give the best up-to-date info on the bite.

Along with drum and cobia, the inshore fleets near Hatteras have also had good catches of Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Scattered flounder and trout have hit the boat coolers also.

Summer surf fishing is typical, with a variety of bottom fish being caught. There are generally no massive runs of any particular fish, but there are enough to keep anglers interested.

Black drum, sea mullet, pompano, blow toads, flounder, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and small spot and croaker make the reports. Depending where you are fishing, along with the wind direction, will generally dictate what you catch and if you catch. This knowledge takes years to come by and if you don't know, then a  trip to a local tackle shop can dramatically increase your chances of catching.

Billfish are being caught offshore, with sailfish being the number one winner. As summer progresses, we should see more whites and blues make an appearance, but each year is different from the last, so there is no guarantee in that.

A variety of tuna and mahi-mahi of all sizes continue to be caught.

I saw a video recently of a friend and editor for Saltwater Magazine, Ric Burnley, aboard the Dream Girl out of Oregon Inlet when the anglers managed to have a crazy time catching yellowfin tuna on top water lures. Kiting baits, jigging and trolling are producing everything from big eye tuna to blackfin tuna.

Tunas are a true crowd pleaser, as they offer up an excellent fight and great table fare.

The wreck and tower fishing still provides great entertainment.  Amberjacks and triggerfish  are a lot of fun and plenty of near-shore boats have caught  their fair share of both.

Inshore boats near Oregon Inlet continue to catch some cobia and when the brown bombers are scarce the bluefish and Spanish mackerel help to fill coolers. Some keeper flounder and speckled trout are being caught, but their overall numbers leave a lot to be desired.

Puppy drum in the area are about as common as white whales.

Interestingly, there seems to be a decent number of 5- to 15-inch striped bass in the backwaters of Oregon Inlet and the surrounding area. While you won't be catching keepers, they are still better than catching nothing.

Rodanthe and Avon piers are entertaining anglers with a variety of fish. Spanish mackerel and bluefish typically make an appearance in the early mornings and late evening and are scattered throughout the day. Some flounder, sea mullet, black drum, sheepshead, pompano, blow toads, flounder and other small bottom fish are also hitting the planks.

Pier fishing still remains the most economical way to fish if you do not do a lot of it and do not own your own gear. The piers rent gear and can supply everything you need to make a day of fishing with family or friends a breeze. Give them a call or stop by for rates.

Summer is in full swing with stop-and-go traffic, wait lines, and a chance of showers almost everyday. But, the salt air in the wind still smells great and the water is prime for swimming and cooling off.

Don’t sit at home and read my reports -- come down and make your own.

Go fishing and play hard.

(Rob 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.)

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