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.
As a visitor, you never have to worry about much if you want to pier fish. The piers have blanket fishing licenses that alleviate short-term anglers from having to acquire their own license. The piers also offer rental rods, and you can purchase your bait and all other gear or tackle right on the spot.
Most piers operate a 14-hour day or longer and once you have purchased your daily or weekly pass, you can come and go as you please during business hours.
So, if you don’t have much time, don’t have room to bring your own gear, or just don’t know much about fishing, then this is the single easiest way for you and your family or friends to give one of the area’s top recreational activities a try.
Surf fishing has seen a lot of the same bottom fish in recent weeks with a few nice surprises.
Sea mullet, blow toads, bluefish and puppy drum have dominated the reports the most in recent past, but spot, croaker, and flounder always manage to find their way on to a few hooks. There have been a few rewarding nights of citation drum fishing for those who took the walk.
For a few lucky surf anglers, there was a run of false albacore recently near shore. These are some of the more difficult fish to hook and catch from shore, so those that do manage one from land are generally very happy about it.
A friend of mine, Ward Trotter, managed to pop a 47-plus pound cobia from the Ocracoke surf. This was a nice surprise for him and many that read the report. More than likely this fish spent its winter on a local wreck, and as the water temp warmed up it went looking for some food – which it found on the end of Ward’s hook.
The water temps south of Cape Point are rapidly growing conducive for cobia, but we still need to see a big push of those fish from the south as they migrate towards the Chesapeake Bay. At the current pace of water temperature rise, I doubt it will be much longer. I wouldn’t be shocked if more scattered cobia get caught, especially by the wreck fishermen.
For those coming into town, you only need to go as far as one of the numerous local tackle shops to obtain all you need for surf fishing the area. The local shops can help point you in a direction that is producing, along with supplying you everything you need to catch your target species or to just wet a line.
Individual fishing licenses are needed for each person 16 years of age and older.
The prices for an annual license are $15 for state residents who are 16 or older and $30 for non-residents. A 10-day license for state residents 16 or older is $5, and it’s $10 for non-residents. Lifetime licenses can be purchased, and I recommend speaking to a local tackle about that one, as there are different options and age ranges for these.
Some local tackle shops provide rentals, though if room in your vehicle is available to take them home, you may be better off purchasing one of the economic combo rods that all tackle shops offer.
Inshore boats around Hatteras and Ocracoke inlets have done very well chasing puppy drum and schools of the citation drum.
The offshore fleets out of Hatteras, Ocracoke, and Oregon Inlet have been doing very well. Lots of yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna and mahi have made the reports almost every fishable day.
This is probably one of the best times to drop what you are doing, call your friends and book a trip. While there is no sure thing in fishing, the offshore fishing is prime time, and the odds of having coolers full of meat at the end of your trip are high.
There are many boats at several marinas waiting to serve you. A few simple phone calls, and you could be heading to the blue.
Should this weather continue, I can only believe the reports will get even better.
But you can’t catch them from your couch.
Go fishing and play hard.
(Rob Alderman has lived on the Outer Banks for more than 13 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.)