Get on Out!

•November 14, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Webcams (and Facebook) are showing people hooking up with speckled trout from the piers and surf north of Oregon Inlet (edit: other piers in SENC too!).  If you have the opportunity, get out there asap, as the weather is expected to get very bad late today through the weekend.  It’s kinda been one of those years…making opportunism key to success this fall.

Hot Tip

•October 3, 2019 • Leave a Comment

The trout fishing behind Hatteras Island is superb right now.  I waded two afternoons off a point on the sound and had easy limits both days, with the best action on live finger mullet which are abundant and easy to net in the shallows. The best thing is that pretty much all the trout were keepers.  I can’t say the same for the scattered puppy drum and (of course) flounder, but who cares when catching 16-18″ specks on almost every cast!

 

The surf proper is more hit and miss right now.  The water is still very warm, though that should start to trend downward once this weekend’s cold front hits. That said, though, the average bluefish size is quite nice, with lots of 2-4 pounders and not as many snappers.  Spanish are still showing, but you have to be in the right place at the right time (duh).  Otherwise, the biggest stories are probably that good trout have already been caught in the surf for a few weeks, and lots of underslot puppy drum are around. The trout fishing this fall should be something. Bottom fishing news has been mostly dominated by pompano (mostly hand sized), but I expect sea mullet to start entering the conversation more consistently soon. Decent sized spots have been running well from some of the piers (on Topsail Island mostly) lately.

In regulatory news, soundside striper fishing in the Albemarle-Pamlico management area opened on October 1st, and of course flounder season is closed for the foreseeable future.

And the report

•July 21, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Gosh…where to start? I’ve got about 7 months to catch up with!

Winter fishing was slow from the surf, although there was a good long run of sea mullet along the SENC beaches into the new year. Spring fishing for drum was excellent on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands mainly through April into early May with closing of the Point and warmer weather finally slowing it down. Bottom fishing was also excellent with lots of blowtoads and some big sea mullet.

As good as the spring fishing was, summer has maybe been even better. The big news has been a prolonged run of nice pompano and exceptional Spanish mackerel fishing from the suds. I’ve heard of Spanish being caught in the surf in New Jersey! Both runs continue here in July. I’d be remiss not to mention the great show of speckled trout — some still continue to be caught in the surf. These surf stragglers are small but a lot of very nice trout are being caught in the sound, including by wade fishermen behind Hatteras Island.

With the good news comes the bad and that includes an underwhelming showing of big blues and stripers in the northeast. Concern about stripers and to a lesser extent big blues continues to rise. That said, the Cape Cod Canal had a super run of big bass on topwater for a couple weeks now.

2019…so far

•July 21, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Well, fishing has been good and my year has been pretty good so far. We’ll start with my year…

I started the year early with a mid-January trout mission in SENC and was surprised to find action.

 

The real fun, however, began in April, as it often does in North Carolina. With our children on different spring break schedules, we could only manage a long weekend at Ocracoke rather than our usual week. But what a long weekend! Big drum and bottom fish (mostly blowtoads) were the name of the game.

 

Caught a couple big blues at Cape Henlopen, Delaware and then hit the northern Outer Banks for a great long weekend of solo camping and fishing. Again, the action was good with lots of trout (mostly small) north of Oregon Inlet and one of my favorite warm weather past times: catching blues and Spanish mackerel on lures.

 

 

My most recent saltwater fishing trip was in South Jersey where I took my daughters for a week in June to visit my family at a shore rental. I was excited to have a week in Jersey but was mostly disappointed with the fishing. A couple small stripers, very few blues and no weakfish. Fluke fishing was pretty decent both in the bay and oceanfront at Barnegat Light. No keepers but nice fish to 17″.

 

I’ve also done more freshwater fishing this year. Nothing to write home about but did get some decent white bass on New Hope Creek, and plenty of smallish bass and sunfish on local ponds and lakes.

 

Fishing the ‘Net

•December 18, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I’m a pretty strong believer in using the Internet to help catch more fish — or rather to help me decide where and when to go fishing.  And that is really why — as someone who lives over 2 hours from the coast and juggles family and work obligations, I need to prioritize and get the most out of my coastal fishing trips.

Some surf fishermen bemoan Internet fishermen who wait for that blitz report before rushing the beach with as many friends as he can implore via text.  I totally get that and agree that chasing blitzes by monitoring Facebook isn’t likely to make you a better fisherman or help you catch fish consistently, year in and year out.

I use a combination of information, most of which — besides Facebook which is becoming more and more of an important resource — I’ve provided links to on this website.  (In fact, that is really why this website/blog exists – to provide a handy place for all of the links I am liable to use!) The most important are coastal weather forecasts (particularly winds and waves), coastal weather stations (displaying past and current wind direction and speed, as well as water temperature, barometric pressure and other parameters), webcams, tide charts, and of course, fishing reports. At this time of year, fishing reports may become scarce and are often of minor influence compared to the other information sources.

Which leads me to my story. For the past several years, I’ve made two trips in December – early December, around my birthday, and then again in mid-December before the holiday cheer sucks me in. I loved the conditions setting up for last Wednesday (December 12) – light northeast winds coming on the heels of moderate-strong and cold northerlies (NNW/N). Sure enough, the webcam of the area I hoped to fish showed clear water, birds working and large dark blotches of bait all along the beach! Unfortunately, we were still recovering from a snowstorm and I was stricken with a very stiff and sore neck of unknown etiology. I just couldn’t do it. This week, I had my eyes set on today/tonight (December 18) – similar setup to last week, at least with the northeast winds; however, they came on the heels of stronger westerlies, not to mention shit-tons of rain. The westerlies and rain conspired to muddy the surf and the NE today was a bit too strong to settle it (trust me – I spent most of the day monitoring various surfcams for my target area).  I just couldn’t justify 5 hours of driving for what likely would have been a frustrating night.

So, here I am writing a blog post instead of fishing. I hope to make it up sometime between Christmas and New Years but – you guessed it – it depends on my research.

Now, about those fishing reports. They really have been just about non-existent. The water at the Outer Banks north beaches (north of Cape Hatteras) are already well into winter cold mode, 50 and lower. I’ve seen nobody fishing those beaches and am not getting any reports. Scattered reports of puppy drum, flounder and sea mullet on the south beaches of Hatteras Island. Elsewhere along the coast has been pretty quiet. Sea mullet fishing appears to still be pretty good in SENC, but trout reports are scarce.  The water temps in SENC are confounding me. Some of the stations are reading in the mid-upper 60s; others are in the mid-50s. Let’s call it low sixties…? In any case, the weather forecast suggests that water temperatures should stay in a fishable mode through the end of the year at least, so I am definitely hopeful for one last trip in 2018.

One final note – striper fishing in the northeast was once again poor. There was a pretty good run of schoolie stripers, but very little in the way of keeper fish in the surf.  And no big bluefish.

In n’ Out

•December 6, 2018 • Leave a Comment

It’s early December and things are all over the place. Water temperatures are in the low 50s north of Cape Hatteras and in the mid-60s south.

Fishing north of Oregon Inlet seems to have totally shut down; not only have there been almost no reports since Thanksgiving, but I can’t even find anyone on the many surf cams monitoring activity around the piers.  I know firsthand that there are some nice trout holes between Nags Head and Kitty Hawk and I’m dismayed that it appears no one has been working them.

There was more activity Thanksgiving week – while I spent vacation at the Outer Banks – people, and fish.  Lots of small trout, but I made a bet – and won – on the Tuesday before Turkey Day.  A north wind started ripping and I gambled that a nice slough that held spike trout the night before might host some larger fish with the added cover provided by the wind and surf.  I ended up with three nice 3 pound trout, a bunch of small trout and about five stripers up to 26″ – not bad at all!  The next night in perfect conditions was just about dead and, like I said, since the next blow on Thanksgiving day, there hasn’t been much reported, although I slayed the spikes behind Oregon Inlet on Friday.

For my birthday last weekend, I fished southeastern NC and found more of the same – lots and lots of small trout; some probably legal but nothing worth keeping. The Outer Banks fish were all really close in to the beach – right up against it, in fact. The SENC fish were mostly out – at the end of the cast.

There has been an excellent run of big sea mullet – many citations – in southeastern NC for the past week or two. There had been good fishing for sea mullet, along with black drum, blowtoads and pompano at the Outer Banks — again during Thanksgiving week.  Most of that fishing has moved south of Cape Hatteras, where there has been some good flounder fishing at times.  There was also a great bite of big drum at Cape Point early T-giving week (sound familiar?); lately mostly sharks.

What’s next?  Who knows.  It’s been an odd year, with a long summer and seemingly no fall. It remains to be seen if the water temps and fishing at the Outer Banks recover at all before winter sets in for real.  It also remains to be seen if the bigger trout being caught inshore in SENC finally get pushed out front.  The forecast calls for a major winter storm hitting North Carolina this weekend.  Extended cold weather and lots of freshwater in the form of rain pushing through the rivers and sounds could be the push needed.  Hoping to provide a first-hand report next weekend.   Till then-

This week?

•October 29, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Not so sure about it.  The weather looks to be generally great; however, I’m not crazy about the winds.  The surf up and down the NC coast is looking murky this morning on the heels of strong SW winds, and with westerlies forecast for the rest of the week, I’m not sure how much it will clear.  Even a strong cold front at the end of the week is calling for S and SW winds, with a slow transition to NW and, eventually easterlies, but relatively light.  Light to moderate easterlies (NE, usually) are preferred this time of year, especially if you are hip to light tackle trout and drum fishing in the surf zone, which favors clearer water.  Still, it’s early in the week, so we’ll see how things shake out.