It is amazing just how fast time flies, and that it’s already the middle of July. Seems like you just blink, and the summer is gone. But we’re not quite there yet.
The weather has remained balmy, to say the least, and we have seen a fair amount of rain and thunderstorms as of late. Nevertheless, the fishing has remained decent and rewarding overall.
I’ll start with the piers.
The summer is prime time for those who enjoy live baiting from the end of the piers. Also known as pin rigging, this fishing pastime is almost cult-like.
You don’t see hundreds of people doing live baiting, but you see the devoted followers regularly.
There are plenty of visitors who come down in summer solely to spend their entire trip doing this type of fishing, and they do it year after year.
Pin rigging does require the use of two rods at once, and a whole lot of patience, as some spend their entire vacation with no bites. Some locals wait all summer for one or two bites. One rod is used for anchoring and holding a special release clip that holds the live bait just under the surface, which is attached to the second rod.
The hope is that a king mackerel, cobia, tarpon, jack crevalle, or other type of large fish will be enticed to eating the live bait swimming around in circles on the end of your line.
As of late, pin rigging has been productive for a lot of the Outer Banks piers. Rodanthe Pier anglers have caught a few — and seen a reasonable amount of — king mackerels, and a decent-size tarpon was caught on Avon Pier.
I know that some find it hard to believe that tarpon cruise our waters, but they do in fair numbers and can be caught as far north as the Eastern Shore of Virginia. While the tarpon are thicker around here than most visitors may realize, it’s still considered quite the accomplishment to catch one — especially from a pier.
This type of fishing does take some skill and a fair amount of specific equipment, so before you go running out the door to try this I would recommend Googling it and see if it appeals to you.
And then I recommend going out on a pier and watching the pros for a little while before committing to it.
However, all fishing must be learned and everyone starts out somewhere, so don’t let it intimidate you.
The usual suspects, such as Spanish mackerel and bluefish, have been caught in the early mornings and late evenings, along with spot, croaker, and sea mullet during the day. The occasional sheepshead has been taken from around the pier pilings.
Surf fishermen find themselves in the middle of the summer doldrums, but still continue to catch fish, although it tends to slow a little bit at this time, especially on the very hot days.
Sea mullet, pompano, spot, croaker, flounder, bluefish and puppy drum continue to make the reports. Don’t expect most days to be very hot and heavy from the surf, but this can change from day to day.
As always I recommend checking with the local tackle shops while you are in town to see what areas might best produce while you are here based on the current forecasts.
Wind plays heavily into which parts of Ocracoke and Hatteras may be the best producers.
The offshore fleets out of Ocracoke, Hatteras, and Oregon inlets have continued to have decent days with mahi, wahoo, tuna, and billfish making the reports.
There have been some really good days of meat fishing. There have been plenty of reports and pics hitting the web of multiple wahoo or tuna catches and plenty of days with the docks loaded with mahi.
Most marinas do offer packaging and freezing for getting your big catches home to entertain family and friends with a fish fry.
The inshore boats have continued to find plenty of bluefish and Spanish mackerel, and the puppy drum fishing has remained consistent. At times, the Gulf Stream water has pushed in very close to the beach and the inshore guys have been able to shoot off the beach a few miles and get good catches of mahi, which is always welcomed.
Wading and kayak fishing in the sound waters has remained spotty at best. But, if you are lucky enough to have a decent day, you’ll see some nice puppy drum that are at the top of or over the slot limit, along with the occasional nice-size flounder and small speckled trout.
The summer time forecast is in full swing, which means hot, humid and a chance of thunderstorms almost every day. And when the chance of thunderstorms has been 40 percent or greater, somewhere on the Outer Banks has gotten hit.
But, you could be at home or even worse—you could be at home and at work.
Come down and wet a line from pier or surf or book a captain and feel the wind and salt on your face. Something is bound to swim onto your hook.
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.)