August 25, 2016

Outer Banks Angling: Almost there

By ROB ALDERMAN

We are in the final days of August and rapidly approaching Labor Day weekend. While meteorologists do not consider Labor Day the end of summer, a tourism-driven community does.

Depending on where you live, schools have already started back, or are about to. There has already been a downturn in numbers this week for that reason, but the difference will become more noticeable after Labor Day.

Along with dwindling numbers of visitors, we usually start getting some cooler weather after Labor Day. It may not start off as much, but the daily highs do start to make a downturn as we see some more of the northerly winds and humidity drops.

This is also the starting point for fall fishing—something we all look forward to.

It will not be long now.

For now, we continue to see some hot days, although the past few have been very nice, as a northeast wind has dropped the temps and humidity. The extended forecasts show the wind doing some spinning, so I expect some hot and some semi-comfortable days for the next week or so. We’ll have to wait and see on that one.

The fishing has been fair overall.

The beach has seen some decent days.

Spanish mackerel and bluefish have made some good appearances along the shore in early morning and late evening. Cape Point has had quite a few nice runs, with other runs along Hatteras. Behind the Buxton motels has been very good also, as reported by Red Drum Tackle.

Some areas are more conducive for pulling these fish to shore, but that doesn’t mean that it will not happen where you are fishing. I recommend visiting a local tackle shop to see what color metal lures are the must-have, just in case you find yourself in the middle of a run.

There have also been reports of citation sea mullet and pompano being beached, along with small flounder, croaker, and spot.

Pier fishing has been so-so as of late. Small croaker, spot, flounder, sea mullet and pompano have been taken. Bluefish and Spanish mackerel make an appearance in the mornings and evenings. The occasional sheepshead or spadefish is caught --  one that has pushed in from an offshore structure to hang around the pier pilings.

Rodanthe Pier recently reported a citation king mackerel and even a small sailfish.

Sure as I sit here in the coming weeks, as the winds continue to spin and bring some cooler temps, the pier and surf fishing will pick up even more and with larger-class bottom fish, along with the fall puppy drum and citation drum. It’s only a matter of time.

In my brief decade and a half here on the Outer Banks, I’ve seen several drum runs at Cape Point on or very near Labor Day weekend.

Inshore boats out of Hatteras are still doing well finding schools of puppy drum, along with some schools of big drum. Bluefish and Spanish mackerel are almost a daily trip event. They are thick.

Near-shore boats continue to do well with grouper, triggerfish, sheepshead and amberjack.

Inshore boats near Oregon Inlet have been finding some schools of red drum of all sizes just outside the inlet or down along Pea Island. Some of the schools are good size and have provided a great deal of fun for anglers. The occasional cobia continues to be caught, along with bluefish and Spanish mackerel.

The offshore fleets have seen a serious wahoo bite lately, especially out of Hatteras. Dolphin and sails have also made a decent showing down south.

There has been a good show of flags flying for white and blue marlin for the Oregon Inlet fleets. It’s August, and it’s generally like this on the northern offshore lines. Good reports of tuna and dolphin have hit the web, along with some wahoo.

I’ve run my kayak a few times in the backwaters, and I’ve continued to find lots of throwback stripers, puppy drum, flounder and speckled trout. While I am not coming home with much meat, this still excites me, because this year’s throwbacks are the coming years' keepers.

However, I have seen more and more slot puppy drum gradually making an appearance, along with some over slot. I’d expect that uptick to continue to some degree with the cooling temps.

All and all—this summer has had some decent fishing given the temps.

I don’t expect many will make a mad dash right now, with school approaching. Parents generally start planning weekend trips and the non-parents will start looking at bigger trips.

Nevertheless, fishing is good and booking a charter or coming down to see what pier or surf has to offer isn’t a bad move.

Labor Day is almost here. The fish will begin to migrate and the fall anglers will begin to appear. We’re almost there.

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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