November 14, 2017 November Fishing Report - it’s King Mackerel Season
By CAPTAIN DAVID WILSON
around the docks in November, you’ll quickly notice that things have
changed in the fishing fleet of Hatteras Village. A number of the
charter boats have removed their fighting chairs, which were used daily
for anglers to battle their “fish of a lifetime.” In their place,
“kill boxes” have been positioned, which is the first place a
commercially caught king mackerel lands after being brought aboard.
Kill boxes usually hold 400 to 1000 pounds of fish and can be made of
foam and fiberglass, or simply built out of plywood. Most boxes
have one or two “de-hooking” bars, which make removing the hooks from
the fish simple, safe and quick.
The average size fish caught trolling is 10-15 pounds, although bigger
fish are often caught. Kings are brought in on downriggers and
electric or hydraulic reels. The reels are filled with cable or
heavy welding wire, which attach to planers. From the planer is a
long monofilament leader with either a sea witch, double hook set and a
strip, or a drone spoon. Once the planer is wound in, the mates
pull the leader in by hand until the fish is slung or gaffed and thrown
into the box.
A hot mackerel bite can last all day, and fish often have to be moved
from the kill box to another box where they are packed in ice until the
end of the trip. 2,000 pounds isn’t uncommon on a good day.
There are still charters going out in November, many taking advantage
of the abundance of king mackerel and opportunity to catch them on
light tackle during the peak month. Yellowfin tuna can be
abundant, usually east of Hatteras, while the best wahoo bite is
usually south of the inlet. Dolphin and billfish are usually
pretty scarce by now. Bottom fishing is still red hot if you want
to try for triggers, b-liners, grouper and tilefish.
We’re right at the end of the fishing season in the sound by now.
Cooler water temperatures have the fish moving into deeper water and
into the ocean. Many of the inshore fishing guides are beginning
to get their duck blinds ready for the visitors that head to the Outer
Banks for the wintertime waterfowl hunting.
Fishing in the surf is still great in November, and those fishermen who
are willing to challenge the cooler air and water temperatures will
usually be rewarded with a big red drum.
There’s nothing more pleasant than a light northeast wind in November,
but during one of our many three-day, 25 knot northeasters, it can
become quite blustery.
Most days I find myself in jeans and a sweatshirt, as the chances to wear shorts and crocs are fewer.
By now, a number of the area’s gift shops have closed, and many
restaurants are closed or have limited days that they are open,
although Thanksgiving is usually a pretty busy weekend. The
traffic on highway 12 is pretty light now, and for locals, you
generally know half of the people you pass.
It’s a refreshing time to be here. The beaches are quiet;
seashell hunting is great after a blow, very little traffic, and great
fishing. Come on down!