After a harsh winter and a great spring, the temps have gone full-on summer. Recently, the area has been seeing some mid-July weather with record-high temperatures and heat indexes reaching well over a 100 degrees.
But, that’s okay. The water temperatures have been phenomenal from one end of the Banks to the other. At times, the water has been anywhere from the high 70s to low 80s — and that is a rare thing to see from one end to the other this early in the year.
Along with all the crazy warm weather, there has also been crystal clear, Caribbean-like water clarity to boot. At times seeing bottom in 25 feet of water has been no problem.
Those visiting and locals alike have thoroughly enjoyed the recent conditions, no matter how hot it has been.
The fishing has been pretty fair the past few weeks, even when it was very hot.
Fishing is all the same, whether you fish from land or sea and whether you fish in salt or fresh, you just have to be in the right spot.
Spanish mackerel have provided a lot of great catches along the Outer Banks. From pier, surf, and boat, these warm-water fish have made a great showing, and you can chase these fish using a variety of lures.
Nice pompano and sea mullet continue to get caught from pier and surf. While anyone has a chance at catching just about anything that swims, consistently catching pompano and sea mullet takes a little finesse.
Now, you are used to my references to using different types of lures in just about every column I write, and there is a reason I do not go into much detail. The lures, tackle, and especially bait are different for most fish, based on when and where you are targeting them. So go to the nearest tackle shop and tell them what you are trying to catch and allow them to show you what you need and when and where to be to have the best chance of success.
Cobia have continued to be picked from piers and boats, along with a few reports from the surf and kayaks. Even though most of these fish have pushed past us into the Chesapeake Bay, they will continue to make the weekly reports to some degree.
Puppy drum and flounder have provided a fair amount of action for those fishing in the sound waters, but the speckled trout reports still leave a lot to be desired, though I’ve seen a few respectable fish.
With the forecasts still showing some extremely hot days to come, anglers would do best to try and fish at first light through late morning and again from early evening until dark and especially in the sound waters.
The offshore reports have been very solid.
Great catches of mahi mahi and tuna have made the reports day after day. The bill fishing has been a little hit or miss, but has still produced some nice fish at times.
Wreck and offshore bottom fishing has produced good catches of triggerfish, sea bass, and the occasional grouper or snapper.
Pier fishing has produced the occasional cobia or king mackerel, but the bluefish, Spanish mackerel, spot croaker, flounder, sea mullet, pompano and puppy drum have been the real action. And some days are definitely better than others.
July 4 is rapidly approaching. You can tell by the traffic on the road. The Outer Banks is in full swing with businesses and locals ready to assist and the fishing is always worth it.
A day on the water is always better than most anything else you could be doing.
So walk into a tackle shop and ask for help or pick up the phone and call an area marina or captain — or head for a local pier house.
Just make sure you….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.)