Hatteras/Ocracoke – December 13, 2018
Ryan, of Hatteras Jack, reports that the point recently saw a great run on citation-sized red drum.
A few good reports of legal flounder were coming in from Buxton area beaches. Speckled trout are being caught in the same tidal pools as the flounder. Both species have been biting Gulp and Z-Man soft plastics fished with 1/4 oz. jig heads.
Bottom fishing in the surf with shrimp has produced sea mullet, blues, and puffers.
Dogfish sharks are also in abundance and love taking cut baits.
The next few months will see red drum and sea mullet as the main catch along th ebeachfront. Bottom fishing cut baits and shrimp will work best as the colder water has the fish moving slowly and searching by scent.
The soundside anglers will be focused on striped bass and trout.
Offshore boats do a good amount of winter bottom fishing for tilefish and black sea bass. On days of nicer weather, anglers out at the Stream will find blackfin tuna.
The bluefin tuna will start to run off the island around the beginning of January.
Rodanthe Pier is closed for the season.
Ginger, of Frank and Fran’s, reports that red drum have been biting well on the area’s beaches. Puppy and slot-sized fish are both taking Carolina-rigged cut mullet. This week’s storm hampered the bite a little, but the return of southwest winds in the forecast should bring the action right back.
Sea mullet are in abundance for anglers fishing shrimp on bottom rigs, and small speckled trout are being reported by some of those same anglers fishing with shrimp.
Bluefish are being caught on any bait fished off the bottom.
Throughout the winter, surf anglers focus most of their attention on red drum. They will school up and cruise up and down the surf looking for bait. With the cold water temperatures, fishing bottom rigs with cut bait or shrimp works best.
Avon Pier is closed for the season.
Terry, of Teach’s Lair, reports that red drum have been biting well off the point. Large chunks of Carolina-rigged mullet have been the bait of choice, and quite a few double digit fish days have been reported.
The surf is also producing blowtoads and puppy drum for anglers fishing with shrimp on bottom rigs.
King mackerel has been the main bite for boats getting off the beaches.
The start of the new year should see the bluefin tuna bite return to the area.
Joey, of Fingeance Sportfishing, reports that a few speckled trout are being caught inshore on soft plastics around drop-offs near the inlet.
Red drum have been biting up on the flats, with most action being found closer to the inlets. As the water continues to cool, the red drum will be the main fishery, as they push out of the inlet and school up in the surf.
Wintertime for most anglers means striper fishing in the sound and up into the rivers. The stripers will school up and run with the menhaden in the later winter months to their spawning grounds. Striped bass are not affected much by cold temperatures and actively feed through the season.
Jay, of Bite Me Sportfishing, reports that king mackerel has been the hot bite. Citation-sized fish are being caught on light line (20 lb. test) setups with live menhaden.
Blackfin tuna are out in the Stream around the temperature break.
Large false albacore are closer in, and they’re mixed in with the kings.
The coming weeks will push the focus to tuna. Both bluefin and yellowfin are caught off the beaches through the beginning of winter, and the yellowfin and blackfin will be caught into March.
Bill, of Predator Sportfishing, reports that trips to the Stream are finding good-sized blackfin tuna.
A bit inshore, the king mackerel bite has been great. Live bait has produced limits of large fish (up to 50 lbs.) while slow trolling. The large to small fish ratio has been great, with a recent trip finding five citations.
False albacore are mixed in with the inshore kings.
The cold weather brings with it the giant bluefin tuna bite, and they’re an awesome experience for any angler to be around.
Good-sized yellowfins are mixed in and will stick around when the bluefins move on.
Jessie, of Carolina Girl Sportfishing, reports that the live bait king mackerel fishing has been awesome. Good numbers of fish are being boated, with quite a few citations mixed in. Live bait (such as menhaden) has been key, as the dead bait rigs are not producing nearly as well.
A bit further offshore, large 20-30 lb. blackfin tuna are being caught. The trick has been choosing the days where the weather has allowed you to get out all the way to the Stream.
Tuna are a year-round fishery for Hatteras, with both good-sized yellowfins and blackfins out in the Stream from January through April.
Around February, the giant bluefins show up, and they provide great action and a chance at a lifetime fish.
Tradewinds Tackle is closed for the season.