Anglers are limiting out quickly on bluefish
Rom Whitaker IV had barely gotten his 24-foot Carolina Skiff to Hatteras Inlet before he was shouting excitedly about all the diving birds and slashing bluefish on several different sides.
Minutes later, the first cast didn’t produce a fish, but the second did. And the third. And the fourth.
Within 45 minutes, three anglers had finished off their 5-fish daily limits of 2- to 3-pound bluefish, and Whitaker, who runs Sound Bound Charters out of Hatteras Harbor Marina, was headed back into Pamlico Sound to search for schools of red drum.
“This is the best showing of bluefish we’ve had in a long time — catching ‘em every cast,” said Whitaker, 31, a Hatteras native. “We caught ‘em the first week of May; we had a wave of big blues, nice ones, 20-plus inches. that tapered off in June. But for the past two weeks in July, we’ve had fishing like this. They’ve been on the ebb tide, the flood tide; it doesn’t matter. They’ve been here everyday like this for two weeks.
“It’s not normal, but I’ll sure take it.”
Spoons, soft plastics are preferred lures
Whitaker said the blues have been back in Pamlico Sound behind Hatteras Inlet, in the inlet proper, in sloughs behind Ocracoke Island and in the ocean outside the inlet, hard by waves crashing on shallow shoals within a cast from the deeper water of the channel.
“They like that rough water where the waves are breaking. But the best indicator of where they are, are the birds diving on them,” said Whitaker (252-305-5229). “If you’ve got good, polarized glasses, you can see ‘em. But the birds are the best way to find ‘em. The blues push bait to the surface, and that’s where the birds get on ‘em.
“They’ve been in the ocean, the inlet, the sound and the sloughs off the flats. They’re frantic fish; they move a lot. You stop and cast for 3 minutes and you’re out of position.”
Whitaker likes to tie on Stingsilvers, a casting spoon, because anglers can rocket them out long distances. But when they’re chomping, blues will eat just about anything. His anglers this time around caught them on trout-class spinning tackle using Z-Man soft-plastics on jigheads. A bluefish’s teeth will tear most soft-plastics to shreds in a second. But the Z-Man baits are extremely tough and will last for close to a dozen fish.
“They are really fun on a trout rod,” he said.
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