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Outer Banks Angling: It’s getting hot out there

The spring has been good to anglers thus far this year. Overall, the weather has been nice and the fishing has been good.

Pier fishing seems to have been real good recently. Anglers on both Rodanthe and Avon piers have seen their fair share of sea mullet and blow toads, along with some good runs at times of bluefish and puppy drum. Some of the normal, smaller spring fish like gray trout, spot, and croaker have also made the reports.  
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Outer Banks Angling: Walk don't Whine

Nothing in life that is rewarding is easy. The same goes for fishing Cape Hatteras and Ocracoke in this day and age. Park Service policies close prime fishing spots such as Cape Point. You don't have to like or agree with the policy, but you can still fish. You just have to work harder. On any given night, you might see 50 to 80 people of all ages who have taken a walk to Cape Point to try and catch fish.  
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Local Catch Summit Aims To Promote Seafood, Educate Consumers

The fourth annual Local Catch Summit drew more than 70 commercial fishermen, seafood retailers and wholesalers, local food advocates, and seafood consumers to the Ocracoke Community Center last month to strengthen partnerships that support and promote NC seafood.

The summit took place in the location where Outer Banks Catch, Ocracoke Fresh, Carteret Catch, and Brunswick Catch leaders in 2011 first explored the idea of partnering under the NC Catch banner to heighten seafood consumer education and awareness.  
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State legislators enjoy a sampling of seafood from the coast

The governing boards and administration of all major fishing industry and seafood related organizations in North Carolina joined forces to put on a North Carolina Seafood Sampler and Fish Fry last month for the North Carolina legislators and their staffs. 
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Outer Banks Angling: Typical March

The weather has proven to be very much as we expect March to be – all over the place. Scattered semi-warm days followed by much cooler days, a day or so of southerly winds, followed by days of northerly wind. Yep.  It’s March. Or even better — it’s spring on the Outer Banks.
 

While the weather is par for spring, so are the water temps. The water is warmer on average from the south side of Cape Point to the south end of Ocracoke, with warmer spikes during southerly winds. Those water temps definitely help to encourage bites.
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Outer Banks Angling: A little action

It’s always nice to have a little to report after such a harsh winter. 

I always try and emphasize that I recognize that while our winter was very cold, others had it much worse. The winters on the Outer Banks are always a little tough, especially when it is unpleasant outside. However, seventy degree-plus air temps and plenty of sunshine earlier this week combined to make us feel like we won the lottery, especially when this was even nicer than the forecasts had called for.

Even before the nicer weather, the puppy drum made a decent showing in the surf. The best bites were consistently reported from Buxton to Frisco. While each day varies in the concentration and the quality of the bite, most days have led to some fish being caught.
  
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Outer Banks Angling: It’s winter

It’s safe to say that a full-blown winter found the Outer Banks this year. While the area saw more snowfall last year, this year has been one of the coldest and has broken records in the temperature category. Even as I write this, we barely missed being hit by a considerable snow storm and lucked out with mostly rain.

When March approaches, many anglers start to have hopes of the coming spring and the fishing it brings. It’s going to be a tough call on what will happen in the coming weeks. The area will need to see some major changes in the air and water temps to get fishing started.
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Outer Banks Angling: A wooden stake

The title of this column may imply that I am going to be talking about how to bring down a mythical creature of the night, but I am not.
Last week the Outer Banks experienced a typical winter nor’easter. It was cold, wet and very windy. The wind generated a large ocean swell, and that swell packed a punch. A few places saw the water punch through along the Banks, and other spots took some damage from it. One of those places was the Rodanthe Pier.
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Will increased bluefin tuna quota benefit local fishermen -- or not?

Outer Banks fishermen will have more bluefin tuna quota than ever to work with this winter.  That is, if the lucrative big fish show up here, and the fishermen can get out of the shoaled inlets to catch them.

A new management rule that went into effect Jan. 1 effectively gives twice the general quota for bluefin over previous years for North Carolina through March 31. 

“They took the December quota and moved it up to Jan. 1,” said Charley Pereira, president of the Southeast Bluefin Tuna Association. “We’ve got double the quota – yeah baby! - but we’ve got very, very little inlet, to the point of danger.”  
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Jeff Oden talks about the pressures on commercial fishermen on 'To the Point'...WITH AUDIO

Jeff Oden of Hatteras village, who has been a commercial fisherman for 37 years, was the guest on Sunday, Oct. 19, on the new Radio Hatteras interview show, "To the Point."

On the show, Oden talked about his life as a waterman the increasing pressures on his industry from federal and state regulators, the recreational fishing lobby, and environmental groups, just to name a few.
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The very best guide to charter fishing on the islands….WITH SLIDE SHOW

If you’ve never been fishing off Hatteras or Ocracoke, it’s definitely worth looking into.  The variety of trips, boats, captains, and species of fish available is quite impressive, and there are options that can accommodate almost any budget or interest.

That said, with so many options available, choosing the right charter can be a daunting task, especially for first-timers. To make it a little bit easier, The Island Free Press has compiled a guide to Hatteras and Ocracoke charter fishing.  With answers to frequently asked questions, information on everything from choosing a boat to cleaning your fish, advice on making your trip more enjoyable, and pictures to rouse your inner angler, this guide is designed help get you off the docks and on the water. 
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