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Cooperative Weather Should Help Surf Fishing Catch of the Week Catch of the Week

September 12, 2008

By DAMON TATUMDAMON TATEM

BEACH, PIER AND BRIDGE FISHING

Corolla to Coquina Beach

Surf fishing should be generally good this week along the northern beaches, provided the weather cooperates. Tropical storms and their compliment of high seas and strong winds can disrupt fishing for days at a time in the late summer and early fall. The passage of storms hundreds of miles offshore can produce large swells and strong currents that negatively impact all types of fishing along the Outer Banks.

Spot, croaker and pigfish should be landed regularly from sloughs along the beach on the incoming or high tide. Anglers using small number 4 to 6 hooks baited with bloodworms or fresh shrimp should have the best luck.

Fair numbers of mixed-sized sea mullet should be taken along with some pompano. Anglers using fresh shrimp will catch their share, but sand fleas will be the top producer. Sand fleas, also called mole crabs, are small crustaceans that live in the sand in the surf zone amid the breaking waves. They constantly bury in the soft sand along the shoreline to escape wave action and predators.They are a favorite food of pompano and sea mullet.

There is no size or creel limit on small bottom fish such as spot, croaker and sea mullet, but anglers should keep only the fish they intend to use.

Speckled trout fishing should be on the upswing as fall approaches, with some nice-sized fish landed early mornings in the Kitty Hawk and Avalon area. Most of the trout should be taken on soft plastic lures. Trout action should improve steadily during the next few weeks, peaking in the late fall.

Puppy drum action should improve as water temperatures begin to fall. Most of the puppy drum will be taken on fresh cut bait when seas are somewhat choppy. A few will be caught on trout lures by trout fishermen. Anglers may keep one puppy drum 18 to 27 inches in total length per person per day. Total length is measured from the tip of the snout with the mouth closed to the top of the compressed tail.

Bluefish action should be good with some 1- to 2-pound tailor blues beached early mornings and late afternoons on metal lures when the water is clear. Bluefish also will be easily landed on fresh cut mullet, menhaden or spot when the water is dirty.

Anglers should use steel-leadered hooks and steel leaders ahead of lures because of the razor sharp teeth of the voracious bluefish. Blues can make quick work of even the largest diameter monofilament leaders.

Pier anglers along the northern beaches should deck plenty of nice-sized spot when winds are from a northeasterly direction and the water is a bit murky. Most of the spot will be taken on small hooks baited with bloodworms or artificial bloodworms. Fishing should be best on the incoming and high tide, but sometimes spot will bite throughout the day and well into the night.

Croaker, sea mullet, sand perch, pinfish and pigfish also will appear in bait catches on the piers.

Lots of bluefish weighing between 1/2 and 3 pounds should be landed on jiggers just about every morning and afternoon from the ends of ocean piers. The best action should be when winds are light and the water is clear. A few Spanish mackerel also should be caught along with the blues.

Anglers can keep 15 bluefish per person per day with only five greater than 24 inches in total length. There is no minimum size limit on bluefish. Fifteen Spanish mackerel 12 inches or larger in fork length can be kept per person per day. Fork length is measured from the tip of the snout to the middle of the fork in the tail.

Fair numbers of speckled trout should be decked by anglers casting soft plastic lures close to the surf line.

Scattered puppy drum should be taken on cut bait with most of the action when the surf is somewhat rough.

Oregon Inlet Area

Anglers fishing from the catwalk on the south end of the Bonner Bridge should catch some bluefish, sheepshead, small bottom fish and a few trout.

Surfcasters in the Oregon Inlet area should land small bottom fish, a few keeper flounder, small bluefish, some pompano and an occasional puppy drum.

Pea Island to Buxton

Bottom fishing in the surf along the northern beaches of Hatteras Island should be great this week.

Plenty of small croaker, spot, some nice-sized sea mullet and quite a few pompano will be taken just about every day when the weather is good.

Bluefish action should be good, with quite a few 1- to 2- pounders caught on lures when the water is clear and on cut bait when the water is cloudy.

Quite a few keeper puppy drum should be beached by anglers bottom fishing with fresh cut bait in the Salvo and Avon areas.

Lots of spot, mixed-sized croaker, sea mullet, sand perch, pigfish, spadefish and some pompano should keep pier anglers occupied. The best fishing will be on the rising tide.

Scattered keeper puppy drum and a few black drum should be landed close to surf line when seas are choppy.

Plenty of tailor bluefish and a few Spanish mackerel should be decked daily from the ends of Rodanthe and Avon piers on Gotcha lures. The best action should be when winds are light onshore and the water is clear.

Buxton to Hatteras Inlet

Surf fishing should be outstanding in the Cape Point area.Tailor blues should provide plenty of action daily at Cape Point when the water is clear. Good numbers of Spanish mackerel also will be taken on Stingsilvers.

Puppy drum fishing should be great when the water is a bit rough. An occasional drum too big to keep could be hooked and released any time at Cape Point.

Anglers trying their luck at the Buxton jetties should catch some puppy drum and keeper flounder. Anglers can keep eight flounder 151/ 2 inches or larger in total length per person per day.

A variety of small bottom fish, some flounder and fair numbers of pompano should be landed in the Cape Point area and along the beach just south of the cape.

Surfcasters along the Frisco beach should reel in some small bottom fish, bluefish and Spanish mackerel.

Bluefish, Spanish mackerel, puppy drum and some gray trout should be taken in the Hatteras Inlet surf when the weather is good. Some yearling drum should be released. Anglers can keep six gray trout 12 inches or larger in total length per person per day.

Anglers on Frisco pier should catch bluefish, Spanish mackerel, small bottom fish, a few pompano and an occasional keeper flounder.

INSHORE TROLLING AND BOAT FISHING

Bluefish and Spanish mackerel trolling should be consistently good in the Hatteras and Oregon Inlet areas.

Headboats in the Oregon Inlet and Hatteras Inlet areas and in the sounds west of the inlets should land flounder and lots of small bottom fish.

Quite a few speckled trout and some puppy drum should be taken in the sounds west of Oregon and Hatteras inlets. Hatteras Inlet area boaters also should deck some keeper gray trout.An angler can keep 10 speckled trout 12 inches or larger in total length per day.

Boaters outside Oregon Inlet and Hatteras Inlet in deeper water should catch amberjacks, some cobia, sea bass, triggerfish, tilefish and snappers. An angler can keep two cobia 33 inches or larger.

OFFSHORE, GULF STREAM

Blue water anglers off Oregon Inlet should land plenty of dolphin, some nice wahoo and scattered yellowfin tuna. Billfish action should be great with plenty of white marlin hooked and released when winds are from the northeast.

A few billfish, mainly sailfish, should be released by

Hatteras Gulf Stream charters. Lots of nice wahoo, some dolphin, king mackerel and an occasional tuna should be decked. An angler can keep three king mackerel 24 inches or larger per day.

Originally published by BY DAMON TATUMDAMON TATEM.

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