Some fishermen would tell you that the offshore fishing off Hatteras is better on an off-day than in many places on a good day – and they might be correct.

The hot and heavy early wahoo bite is over, as well as the days of limiting on gaffer dolphin and having multiple marlin in the baits, but it still isn't bad. Fishermen are finding some wahoo and dolphin, a few skipjack tuna and false albacore – and the big bonus may be hooking a sailfish on just about every trip.

Jeremy Hicks, mate and backup captain on the Bite Me out of Hatteras Harbor Marina, said that landing a hooked sailfish isn't automatic.


"When you have a sailfish checking out a ballyhoo in your spread, you have to understand he doesn't gulp the bait and run," said Hicks (252-996-0295).  "Roughly 80 percent of the time, he will catch it and swim away with it held between his upper and lower jaws. Don't be afraid to drop the bait back. You've got to give him enough time to eat the bait before setting the hook. 


"Let the line free-spool back at the speed the fish is swimming off, with your thumb giving just enough pressure to prevent the line from backlashing," Hicks said. "Let it run for a few seconds or until it speeds up and then push the drag lever forward. This should pull the hook into the corner of its mouth, and it's game on after that." 


Hicks said offshore charters have been catching a few wahoo on planer lines, and those lucky enough to find a "float" – the local term for any object floating at the surface – it has potential to hold anywhere from a few to an entire school of small to medium dolphin.


"This is late August and offshore fishing has slowed down a little," Hicks said. "We're catching some fish, but are having to work for them. 


Yeah, the action might be a little slower than at the peak times, but fishing off Hatteras remains pretty good for the end of August.