The winds blew almost 30 mph out of the southwest at the end of this week, putting an end to a great cobia bite off the Hatteras end of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and leaving fishermen looking toward the end of a big four- or five-day blow for the next wave of cobia to arrive.
“We have had at least two waves of cobia come through here,” said guide Ken Dempsey of Hatteras. “The first one was the last week of April and the first week of May. The second one started about eight days ago. They really came in force.
“The fishing has been good, and sight-fishing has really been the mainstay of it. A few guys tried live bait during the second wave and did well, but at the end of the last wave, there were days when people were seeing 60 to 80 fish a day; that’s a lot of cobia.
“We have been seeing a lot of big, leatherback turtles, and (cobia) have been holding under them. Jake (his son, also a guide) saw a big turtle the other day that had 10 or 15 cobia swimming under it, and Rick (Caton, another guide) said he had one up on Diamond Shoals that looked like it had a quarter-acre of fish under it.”
Dempsey (252-986-2102) said fishermen hammered the cobia on the south side of Diamond Shoals and off the old Frisco Pier over the past 10 days, the fishing being so good that Hatteras Landing Marina’s on-line fishing report called it the best cobia fishing in three years, and maybe the best ever in terms of quality fish.
“I think the biggest we’ve had down here have been 92, 94, 96 pounds,” Dempsey said. “I don’t think we’ve had a 100-pound fish yet, but the second wave was full of big fish.”
Big bucktails have been the bait of choice for fishermen who have been sight-casting to cobia. Fishermen anchoring and putting out bait have been using chunks of fresh menhaden. That led Dempsey to learn the other day, when his guide party fished in the Pamlico Sound — on the bottom with cut bait — that big flounder have moved in.
“We had one we reeled all the way in that was a magnum (flounder),” he said. “He got a 9/0 hook in his mouth and a chunk of menhaden big enough of a cobia.”
Dempsey said anglers around Hatteras will be waiting for the southwest blow to end in a day or two, expecting that another wave of cobia will arrive with it.
“We started seeing them in the second wave after the winds died. I hope we get out Sunday and find ‘em again,” he said.