Fish Post

Hatteras March 31, 2011

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Ryan Young, of Wilmington, with a 45” red drum that fell for a cut bait in the surf off Ocracoke Island.

Bob, of Red Drum Tackle, reports that anglers are starting to find some action with pufferfish from the beaches, with some sea mullet and other bottom dwellers mixed in. Fresh shrimp on bottom rigs will attract attention from the bottom feeders, and the bite should only improve as the water temperatures rise.

Southerly winds pushed some puppy drum and larger citation class reds to the beaches since the last report, but the action has stalled with the recent cold front. Once the wind goes south for a few days and pushes some warm water onshore, the drum bite should turn back on. Cut baits will prove tempting to the reds when they return.

Fishing is beginning to turn on in the sounds, and anglers are now finding some action with puppy drum, bluefish, and some gray trout while working Gulp baits and other soft plastics in the inshore shallows.

Offshore fishing is still hot when the weather lets boats make it out. Bluefin tuna are feeding between Hatteras and Oregon Inlets, where anglers are catching them while jigging and trolling. Some yellow and blackfin tuna are beginning to make an appearance as well, and boats have also landed wahoo and released several blue marlin lately.

Ginger, of Frank and Fran’s Tackle, reports that anglers caught a few pufferfish and large red drum when south winds blew some warm water to the beaches in mid-March, but the recent cold weather and north wind have slowed things back down. As soon as some warmer water comes onshore again, anglers should see more puffers, puppy drum and larger reds, and other bottom feeders like sea mullet.

Pat, of Teach’s Lair Marina, reports that boats are still hooking up with some bluefin tuna when they can make it offshore. Yellow and blackfin tuna are showing up in increasing numbers as well. Boats are hooking up with the tuna while trolling ballyhoo and working metal jigs over schools of feeding fish.

Lou Tani, of Careteret, NJ, and Jeremy Hicks (mate) with a bluefin tuna they tagged and released offshore of Cape Hatteras while they were vertical-jigging tuna marks aboard the "Bite Me" with Capt. Jay Kavanagh.

Kyle, of Frisco Rod and Gun, reports that offshore boats are still finding some bluefin tunas, but the fish are becoming a bit more scattered as spring wears on and they move north. Fortunately, some yellowfin and blackfin tuna are showing up locally, along with a few large wahoo. Boats have also released the first few blue marlin of the season in recent weeks. Trolling ballyhoo rigged under skirted lures around temperature breaks and offshore structure is fooling all the blue water predators.

Not much is happening inshore yet, but anglers caught some pufferfish and citation-class red drum from the surf when south winds pushed some warm water onto the beaches recently, and the action should turn back when the wind goes south for a few days again.

Alan, of Tradewinds Bait and Tackle, reports that south winds warmed the Ocracoke surf into the lower 60’s in mid-March, and anglers connected with some citation-class red drum, some smaller puppy drum, pufferfish, and sea mullet when the warm water was around. Since then, northerly winds have dropped the water temperature back into the mid-50’s and slowed the bite.

Anglers did report the first good bluefish bite of the year recently (most 14-16”), and once warmer water moves inshore again, anglers can expect the red and black drum, puffers, sea mullet, and other bottomfish to show back up.

Shrimp and cut baits on bottom rigs produce the most action in the surf and will fool all the bottom feeders, but anglers can also hook up with the reds and bluefish while casting gold spoons in the surf.