Chopper bluefish have moved into the hook and drain at Cape Lookout, and the toothy critters are worthy and dependable adversaries. Capt. Noah Lynk of Harkers Island said the big bluefish, which run from six to 12 pounds, are very thin after the winter and are feeding constantly to bulk up.

Lynk, who run's Noah's Ark Fishing Charters, said the they have moved inshore at Cape Lookout to feed and will do so voraciously all summer and into the fall. These fish will weigh at least 50 percent more when they return to the Cape Lookout surf in the late fall.


"A couple of years ago, I saw a school of them cruising through the hook at the cape one afternoon in May," Lynk said. "I could tell they were big fish, but they only had the tips of their fins and tails showing and I couldn't tell what they were. Suddenly they exploded on a school of baitfish like a pack of wolves and the deal was on. I lost some tackle that afternoon from not having anything heavy enough, but we came back the next day and were prepared. We were thrilled when they came back the next year, and they have come every year since."


Lynk (252-342-6911) said the chopper blues put in an appearance for a couple of weeks each spring. They have developed a following, and he has clients that ask about them and book specifically to fish for them.


"We make it fun to catch them," Lynk said.  "We stay with the same rods and reels we use for puppy drum, but … heavier leaders and big lures. You have to take your time and wear them out. Many times the bluefish are herding bait in shallow water, and that is even more fun. We cast big topwater and floating or shallow-diving lures and make a commotion retrieving them. They can't stand it. 


"When one hits at the surface, there is an explosion, and it throws water everywhere," Lynk said. "The water is shallow, and they can't go down, so they make smoking runs across the flats. Many times water is literally peeling off the line. It is exciting – and lots of fun too.


Lynk said the water was still a little cool, but more fish are arriving almost daily. A lot of baitfish are moving inshore through the channel at the hook and into the Drain (the channel from Harkers Island to Cape Lookout) and the fish are following them.