Activities for your visit

October fishing: harvesting ocean treasures

DSC_5083[1]w

Fall surf fishing as captured by visiting artist Scott Boyle of Bessemer City, who, along with several other professional painters, captured the island on canvas in mid-October. Boyle’s work can be seen online at www.scottboyleart.com

By Megan M. Spencer
It’s the time of year anticipated by anglers from all around.
Fall fishing in Ocracoke rings in some of the finest fishing of the year.
October is truly harvest time ­ and here the harvesting is done on the water.
On the beaches, those casting their lines are experiencing some of the best sights, sounds and catches of the year.
The Cape Hatteras National Seashore is now open for off road vehicular access all night long. So, those wetting their lines no longer have to reel in and be off the beach before 9 p.m.
Those staying out have been hooking big drum on the incoming tide.
Puffer fish have been plentiful, along with scattered flounder and bluefish. Surf temperatures are still a warm 72 degrees, but the air is slightly cooler and more crisp.
And the sights don’t get any better on the beaches than they do in October. By day, a plethora of birds are visible as they begin their migratory treks and dolphins are usually playing in the surf.
Dolphin sightings are not usually good news for anglers, because they’re likely feeding on the fish to be caught, but it’s a gorgeous sight nonetheless.
At night, the beach and breaking waves are on fire with bio-luminescence, with every action in the surf causing a ripple of glowing organisms that light up just like the night sky. From time to time, a shooting star will trail across the dark. Since the beaches are free of light pollution the stars become that much more visible.
Under the same blanket of stars, night trips for boaters out in the sound have produced big drum on a regular basis.
Offshore, boats have been hooking nice mixed bags of catches, including mahi-mahi (also called dolphin) and wahoo. Several sailfish have also been caught and released by anglers aboard the Ocracoke fleet.
Nearly all offshore boats have boasted release flags in recent weeks and action should continue for October fishers. Crews have also been rewarded with great bottom fishing, reeling in trigger fish, snapper and Bonito.
As the weather turns colder, Sound and ocean boat trips will become less comfortable.
Soon, most of the charter fleet will close shop for the winter and fishing reports will be scarce. But there’s still time to catch ‘em up before the season ends.

Judy Simon of Bernville, Pa., with her 37-inch red drum caught in early October. She and her husband Skip like the fall because they can catch all kinds of fish--blues, flounder, kingfish, drum, trout, pompano (her favorite eating fish) and even sheepshead. Photo courtesy of Judy Simon.

Judy Simon of Bernville, Pa., with her 37-inch red drum caught in early October. She and her husband Skip like the fall because they can catch all kinds of fish–blues, flounder, kingfish, drum, trout, pompano (her favorite eating fish) and even sheepshead. Photo courtesy of Judy Simon.