I’ve been so busy doing boat work that I didn’t have a chance to do a fishing report for March, but it’s probably not a bad month to miss since April is really when things begin to warm up and change.
Up until about twelve years ago, if you would have asked me when was the most productive time to catch yellowfin, I would have said without hesitation, late March through April. We had to deal with plenty of windy spring weather, but if you could get there, you generally caught a lot of fish.
For some reason our spring yellowfin fishing has been sporadic since then, and the “box full” days are less frequent. Blackfin tuna have sort of taken the place of the yellowfins, and the fishing has been pretty consistent. Blackfins can be caught trolling or kite fishing, but the vertical jigging has created opportunities to fight a good fish on light tackle, and to do it in the winter as well. Most people tend to prefer yellowfin over blackfin to eat, but there really isn’t a huge difference. A little Italian dressing and a hot grill makes them both delicious!
The last few weeks have been brutal on the Outer Banks. Three or four back-to-back coastal storms have not only made it impossible for the boats to get out, but have caused soundside flooding and ocean overwash that are responsible for damaged property and roads. Fortunately, things are in perfect order for the busy Easter week.
In between gales, the commercial boats have been bringing in lots of dog sharks, but it’s hard to survive on a couple of days work over the course of a month.
The water temperatures were on the rise before day after day of north wind. The boats fishing in the sound were catching some puppy drum, but when the temps dropped, the fish moved temporarily. Same goes for the surf fishermen – Scattered puppy drum for now, but once the water temp goes up a few more degrees, sea mullet and blow toads should become abundant.
With Easter being so early this year, I’m having a hard time getting used to the fact that it’s time for the vacation season to begin. I drove back from Nags Head Saturday night and noticed all the rental houses lit up and occupied. Lots of license plates from other states can be seen up and down Highway 12. Yesterday, I talked to some folks from Virginia who were enjoying an afternoon of fishing in the surf. They weren’t the only ones, as I spotted quite a few vehicles out on the beach.
If you need a weekend away before the crowds get here, I recommend you give April a try. I haven’t seen a mosquito yet, and that’s just fine with me!