Hatteras – Winter 2016 – 2017
Ryan, of Hatteras Jack, reports that anglers are connecting with puppy drum, sea mullet, flounder, and speckled trout in the surf. The bite is especially good on the north side of Rodanthe Pier. Those wanting to target the trout, redfish, and flounder should use cut bait, soft plastics, and MirrOlures.
Those fishing soundside will find a few puppy drum around the inlets.
Small stripers (18” and smaller) can be found around structure, specifically bridges and docks that have lighting. Throw bucktails, Rat-L-Traps, and soft plastics to connect with these fish.
Anglers fishing through the winter should expect to see bluefish in the surf, as well as slot-sized redfish that will bite in water temperatures down to 40 degrees. Trout should be in the surf for at least the next month, and bigger bluefish, along with stripers, may pop in from time to time.
Offshore boats are still catching blackfin tuna, along with yellowfin further north. Kings and wahoo are offshore as well, but they should taper off as the month continues. Bluefin are starting to be reported, and anglers can expect a blackfin and bluefin bite all winter.
Tim, of Frank and Fran’s, reports that anglers have been hooking black drum, and now the trout have started to come in. Big drum are still being caught in the evenings at The Point, and there are a few puppy drum scattered in the surf. Anglers should use mullet and shrimp for bait. Those using bloodworms can expect pufferfish and sea mullet.
The drum bite should last through December, before it starts to taper off and the sharks arrive. The trout should be hanging around for a while as well.
Keith, of Avon Pier, reports that anglers were catching citation-sized drum off the end of the pier. Puppy drum and speckled trout were also reported, along with anglers bringing black drum over the rails.
The pier has closed for the season but will reopen in 2017 on Good Friday.
Beverly, of Frisco Tackle, reports that anglers are catching black drum, bluefish, and sea mullet on shrimp and cut bait.
Through the winter months anglers should expect to catch trout and puppy drum soundside.
JAM, of Teach’s Lair, reports that the late fall/early winter speckled trout bite has been the big news, with fish biting all along the beaches. Anglers wanting to target the specks are mostly using artificials (like grubs) on lead heads and Back Water Candy jig heads, though some have had success with MirrOlure’s 52 series.
When the trout bite shuts down with a southwest wind, expect to find the puppy drum. They will take the same artificials as the trout, but anglers can bottom fish for them with cut bait, too. Those fishing for reds can also find bluefish at the same time, with fish ranging from 3-5 lbs.
The offshore king mackerel bite has been great for anglers fishing in the 7 mile range. Most are connecting with the pelagic fish by live baiting, but they are also trolling large Drone spoons on planers to connect with the fish. Blackfin tuna are mixed in in the same areas, with fish being landed up to 32 lbs.
Anglers traveling to the area this winter can expect world class blackfin tuna fishing, with yellowfin sporadically showing up. The first run of bluefin tuna should happen in the next few weeks, but those looking to really target the bluefins should see them show up during the typical season for the area (middle of January to the beginning of February).
Bottom fishing picks up offshore as well during the winter months, and those that are surf fishing should be prepared to hook anything from pufferfish on squid and shrimp, to dogfish, to larger bluefish that move into the area in the winter.
Jay, of Bite Me Sportfishing, reports that anglers have been hooking blackfin tuna, though there are still yellowfin scattered amongst the fish. Wahoo are still being hooked offshore, too, and false albacore are hanging out in the same areas.
Moving into the winter months, boats start searching for bluefin tuna, ranging in size from 75-550 lbs. Look for them around wrecks, the Rock Pile, and the Rocks.
Moving closer to the beach, king mackerel will still be found, and near the shoals there have been red drum and stripers reported year after year.