I tried to put some thoughts together in my mind before attacking my computer. What’s going on around here in December? I quickly realized that I didn’t have to rack my brain very hard or think back very far to give a great report!
Just two weekends ago, I took a Sunday afternoon ride out to Cape Point. It was a pretty day to let the dog run and get some exercise for myself. I have to admit, that after all the Shelly Island hype, I was a bit curious to explore the remains myself.
There were a number of families and couples with shell buckets, searching for treasures. It was pretty fascinating, and I actually picked up a few seashells myself. As I focused on the small area just ahead of my feet, my attention was caught by the delighted squeals from nearby children. Samson, my son’s yellow Lab, had escaped and had run off to make friends. Tail wagging, leash in tow, he excitedly made his introduction to each of the happy treasure hunters. At first I was concerned that he would annoy someone, but luckily, grown-ups and kids alike enjoyed making his acquaintance.
I headed back to the truck with a dozen souvenirs of my own, occasionally fussing at my yellow companion to keep him close. I passed several groups of surf fishermen who were intently watching their rod tips in anticipation of a bite. Just ahead I noticed a young man in waders walking in the surf toward me. His heaver was bent and he was anxiously asking the folks ahead of him to crank their lines up so he wouldn’t tangle and lose the big red drum that was on the other end of his line. Everyone eagerly cooperated and offered words of encouragement as the fight continued. I had to stick around to watch the rest of the show. The 40-pound fish was brought up on the shore and released after a couple of pictures. As it turns out, there had been quite a few bites that morning, and drum fishing was excellent.
Since I’m more of an offshore guy, it’s easier for me to report about what’s happening a little further out. It just so happens that for the last couple of weeks, I have been commercial king mackerel fishing on the Release with Rom Whitaker and Andy Trant. For the most part, we have been hook and line trolling, but last Monday we caught live bait and started out with some lighter tackle. Our first fish of the day was the biggest king mackerel I’ve ever caught, a 65 pounder! That’s when it dawned on me that for a recreational angler there was still plenty of action to be had, both offshore AND in the surf. There has been an abundance of blackfin tuna as well.
Christmas season on Hatters Island is a fun time of year. The Christmas parade is always a highlight. Local businesses and organizations decorate floats and make a lap through the village along with the fire trucks, marching band and others, throwing candy to onlookers that clutter the streets of Hatteras. Storefronts and homes are decorated with lights and the square in Hatteras village is always decorated with lights and ornaments. Christmas parties and oyster roasts are going on, and everyone is beginning to feel festive.
The commercial fleet becomes diversified in December. Some of the guys are staying close to shore and gill netting sea mullet, others are heading out further and setting nets for croakers, while others still are targeting king mackerel. It won’t be long till Bluefin tuna show up, and some of the guys will target them as well.
The weather is quite unpredictable in December. It can be blustery and in the 30s one day, and mild in the 60s the next. Personally, I like the latter! You will still see four wheel drive vehicles on the beach because of the great fishing, but otherwise, Highway 12 is mostly occupied by locals. This is life as we know it this time of year. Come see for yourself!