As I drove back from Nags Head yesterday passing SUVs with kayaks on their roofs and motor homes with bicycles strapped on the back, the reality of summer being right around the corner became blatantly clear. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the thermometer in my truck displayed that it was a comfortable 74 degrees. Joggers inhabited the bike paths in the Tri-villages, and 4x4s with full rod racks slacked their tires in preparation for a ride out on our beautiful beaches.
The transition from spring to summer is quite obvious in May. Even though the kids aren’t out of school yet, friends and families begin taking advantage of the gorgeous weather and great fishing. The big rush at the boatyard has wound down as the charter boats have all completed their annual spring haul outs in preparation for a new season. Tackle stores are stocked up, gift shops are open, and restaurateurs are anxious to serve guests who have come to visit.
As a lifelong offshore fisherman, I always looked forward to May as it offered superb fishing and a full calendar of charters. More variety in species is caught as the big “gaffer” dolphin make their appearance, and schools of these colorful game fish become plentiful. Blue marlins make their first good appearance, and the average size of these trophy monsters tends to be larger in May than in other months. Along with blackfins, and wahoos, May gives anglers the opportunity to catch a little – or a lot – of everything.
The surf fishing reports have been good. Puppy drum, sea mullet, bluefish and blow toads have shown up, giving anglers a mixture of tasty fish to catch and throw in the fryer. I would expect the fishing to only get better as the water temperatures rise.
The inshore guides have been catching drum as well, and like in the surf, fishing should only get better. It won’t be long before the cobias show up and these big brown fighters will begin to make their appearance at the weigh scales.
Today I ran my first clamming charter and it was very productive as well. Water temperatures are getting close to 70 degrees and wading is quite comfortable. Come to think of it, a pot of Hatteras-style chowder wouldn’t be bad!
After the beating we took this winter and early spring, it’s nice to have some calm, comfortable weather. I have officially switched my boat shop wardrobe of sweatpants and sneakers to summertime board shorts and bare feet. It’s the perfect time to spend a weekend or a week on Hatteras Island. See you soon!