By CAPTAIN DAVID WILSON
It is with a grateful heart that I give thanks that Hatteras Island was spared from the worst of hurricane Florence. The massive 600-mile wide storm was forecasted to make landfall as a category 4, somewhere between Wilmington and Hatteras.
Fortunately the storm lost a bit of strength before striking the coast near the North Carolina South Carolina line. Days of east to southeast winds battered our dunes and ocean overwash was a problem up and down the island. Since the storm moved inland before turning to the north, we didn’t have to deal with the northwest winds and sound tide that is usually associated with a tropical storm on the Outer Banks. Unfortunately, those days of southeast wind piled water up and devastated areas across the sound such as New Bern. Our prayers are with those who have the task of rebuilding their homes, businesses, and lives.
At the beginning of the month, I planned to write about fishing in September. I’ve been a little off track since then, but still have plenty to write about.
September was always one of my favorite months to fish offshore. Wahoo fishing is normally at its peak, and I love catching wahoos. So far, this year, the wahoo fishing has not been consistent. There have been some good days, but not like you’d expect for this time of the year. I’m thinking things are running late and there is some great fishing still on the way. Sailfishing is usually also at its peak in September, but has been a little slow as well. There have been some good catches of dolphin, and the bottom fishing has been off the chain.
Before the storm, the inshore guides had been crushing the drum, both slot size and bigger ones. Speckled trout should be showing up in better numbers soon. I haven’t done much of it in a while, but back in the day, it was one of my favorite things to do. Bluefish have been pretty thick along the beach, as well as Spanish mackerel. There has been a good sign of flounder, both from the fishermen and the giggers. My last clamming trip was the day of the evacuation, but it was as good as it had been all year.
Surf fishermen had been catching a little bit of everything out on the beach. Reports I heard weren’t great but weren’t awful either. Right place, right time. I would expect fishing to improve soon. Some cooler weather won’t hurt a thing.
The commercial bottom fishing boats haven’t had a lot to fish for due to closures. Gillnetters have been catching blues, Spanish mackerel and sea mullet in their nets, in the ocean. Any day I hope the gillnet season for flounder will open in the sound.
Hopefully, we’ve had our tropical threat for the year, and things can resume to normal on Hatteras Island. Get away and take advantage of some great fishing and much smaller crowds this fall!