Fishing the ‘Net

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.


~ by surffisher on December 18, 2018.

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