We're in Exmore, Virginia, Delmarva Penninsula, Eastern Shore. The weather is nice, mid-80s, sunny today, and we expect good weather to begin our Outer Banks, North Carolina, fishing in Ocracoke Inlet on Monday. Ryan O'Neal, Captain of the Tar Heel skiff, has about two decade's year 'round experience fishing the inlet, having been the youngest on the southern East Coast to receive his Captain's license at age 18. If he shows us fishing as fast as he did last August, I'll have lots to report.
In addition to the Spanish mackerel, blues, and fluke, I caught a seven pound cobia, and Ryan told me about spotting them much larger frequently in the Inlet. It's the matter of tossing a four ounce bucktail and retrieving it past the fish quickly.This year we plan to fish off Portsmouth Island right where the Inlet meets ocean, having paid for a ride over and back in another tour skiff. I've got some three ounce bucktails and plan to fool around with them on my eight foot Tica--which won't handle four ounce bucktails--as well as fish killies for fluke. I hope my son succeeds at potting killies. They're not sold down there. Behind the house we're staying at, down where the long boardwalk over wetlands ends, a dockspace exists with three comfortable wooden chairs, perfect number for our family. Right off the dock killies swarm. So let's hope the minnow pot works with some fresh meat of some kind. The killies would be good at the Ocracoke Village launch ramp into Pamlico Sound too. All sorts of fish are available right there, even fluke on occasion.
Later in the week my son, Matt, and I will fish Rodanthe Pier. I know Hatteras Pier was out of commission last year, and as I think I recall so was the Avon Pier, or was that the pier we fished and will fish? Anyhow, pier fishing last year was fun especially for large pompano. Some Spanish came over the rails, but I never got one--in fact, I've been trying to pull a Spanish over a pier rail since I was 17. I've had some hits, but haven't caught a single one yet, plenty blues on the Gotcha jiggers, even some weakfish years ago. We have Berkeley Gulp! synthetic clam bait for black drums. Why? Because no one had fresh clams down here last summer. In 2005 we caught plenty fluke from Hatteras Pier, none in 2006 and last summer. Spot and croakers have been around all three times, and last summer Matt hooked a sting ray in the hundred pound class--he used a 10 foot surf rod, and a Penn Captiva 6000 reel fully loaded with 40 pound Power Pro braid. When the ray had pulled all--what, 200 yards?--of the braid but little that inevitably would be lost, I took the rod from Matt and pointed it directly at the fish so that the line would break. As I had hoped, it broke at the knot and all that expensive line was spared.