bloosfisher

Winter OBX

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  I thought I'd try  to visit the Outer Banks this winter, one to get somewhere a little warmer to bicycle (combats the neuropathy from chemotherapy) and two, actually catch some fish.  I'd rather not charter and  can deal with wind up to 20 or so with the fly rod, surf gear is most definitely an option. Awhile ago I talked to some shops  and they basically killed the fly rod idea, but they were decidedly not fly oriented.  I really am not fussy about species, fishin' is fishin' and in a new environment anything that ends up hooked is a bonus. I could bring a float tube, or yak if the inner waters are an option, too. Somehow, I think the cooler shallows may be  empty in the winter. Any thoughts? Anyone tried this, other than the albie bonanza and big stripers offshore?   If a charter is a must, for me, it has to be fly.  

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You can fish the surf, however, its not as warm as you may imagine. I don't think you'll be float tubing, you'll be in waders and fleece trying to stay warm. Enjoy, beats the NE.

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OBX winter can be very harsh.  Lots of wind is the rule.  December and January are not so bad but February and March can be horrible.

Sadly no stripers in the surf like years ago. I heard of 2 or 3 bass caught in the surf last winter.  Last winter was mild and there were speckled trout and puppy drum in the surf.  There is possibility of schoolies around Manns Harbor Bridge and it is wadable on the west side. 

 

There is now a fly shop in Manteo so they will have more info.

I move there in 1973 from the mainland and spent many winters there --I now spend my winters on Harkers Island 

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Most of my surf fishing is done there in the winter months. Over the years, I've had some 70 degree days and some great fishing. But, for the most part, it's cold and windy and windier with not much action. I can't imagine trying to fly fish the surf and I think the sound is fairly void of fish during the winter (I could be very wrong on this).. 

 

Puppy Drum, the occasional Trout and Sharks make up most of what you'll catch. 

 

Not fly fishing, but some basic info - 

 

Head as far South as you can

Have a gold 1oz Hopkins & a Mirrolure 52m

Take the water temp often, find warmer water

Inlets push cold water on falling tides

Hope/plan  for several days of S winds

Take your ice fishing clothes. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, BrianBM said:

How's the birding in winter?

not bad--Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on Hatteras Island has decent amounts of wading birds as well as waterfowl.  On the mainland Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge has impoundments that are flooded--lots of waterfowl, some herons etc.  If you want to take day trips Pungo Unit of Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is great.  More tundra swans than just about anywhere else as well as waterfowl, otters etc.  There is also a small flock of Sandhill Cranes 

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Maybe try a little further south? I think Florida isn’t ideal from a Covid perspective, but I want to say that Georgia and maybe Louisiana could afford you some better options? 

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1 hour ago, Ftyer said:

Maybe try a little further south? I think Florida isn’t ideal from a Covid perspective, but I want to say that Georgia and maybe Louisiana could afford you some better options? 

   My wife and I really like the bicycling option and the miles of bike trails. We're set up as fishing bikes, too. I have gone further south, really want to see the OBX off season. Some great  motels are very cheap it seems off season. Farther south they will be IN season and more people.

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Thanks for the replies. Very, very helpful.  Nothing wrong with birding, either. We spend a lot of time at  the Parker River NWR,  birds and fish both  migrate to beautiful places. If we like it, we'll plan to come back down at a good time and  have Mr. Horsley  show us what really happens down there.

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11 hours ago, bloosfisher said:

  I thought I'd try  to visit the Outer Banks this winter, one to get somewhere a little warmer to bicycle (combats the neuropathy from chemotherapy) and two, actually catch some fish.  I'd rather not charter and  can deal with wind up to 20 or so with the fly rod, surf gear is most definitely an option. Awhile ago I talked to some shops  and they basically killed the fly rod idea, but they were decidedly not fly oriented.  I really am not fussy about species, fishin' is fishin' and in a new environment anything that ends up hooked is a bonus. I could bring a float tube, or yak if the inner waters are an option, too. Somehow, I think the cooler shallows may be  empty in the winter. Any thoughts? Anyone tried this, other than the albie bonanza and big stripers offshore?   If a charter is a must, for me, it has to be fly.  

 

6 hours ago, bhorsley said:

OBX winter can be very harsh.  Lots of wind is the rule.  December and January are not so bad but February and March can be horrible.

Sadly no stripers in the surf like years ago. I heard of 2 or 3 bass caught in the surf last winter.  Last winter was mild and there were speckled trout and puppy drum in the surf.  There is possibility of schoolies around Manns Harbor Bridge and it is wadable on the west side. 

 

There is now a fly shop in Manteo so they will have more info.

I move there in 1973 from the mainland and spent many winters there --I now spend my winters on Harkers Island 

 This would be good advice ... what's the difference between fall and winter? Thanksgiving?

 

In the late 80s early 90s the Bluefish Blitzes were truly epic around Oregon Inlet ... 13lbs fish right at your feet ... blitzing generally done around Thanksgiving. Harker's Island is further south (a bit) ... but it makes a difference. And if you're fly fishing .... go for the False Albacore fishing Halloween to Thanksgiving.

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10 mins ago, KironaFly said:

 

 This would be good advice ... what's the difference between fall and winter? Thanksgiving?

 

In the late 80s early 90s the Bluefish Blitzes were truly epic around Oregon Inlet ... 13lbs fish right at your feet ... blitzing generally done around Thanksgiving. Harker's Island is further south (a bit) ... but it makes a difference. And if you're fly fishing .... go for the False Albacore fishing Halloween to Thanksgiving.

No more big blue fish blitzes --think the last one was 2003??  I have not been there in the Fall (Sept to December ) in 25 years.  Now days we are only there from May until around September 10th. 

Late season albies which last winter we caught them all winter when we could get out but it is 100% boat action.  The nice thing about the crystal coast is it is a south facing beach --the prevailing north/northeast/northwest winds are coming off the land. 

 

I get lots of questions from folks who want to move to OBX.  I recommend they rent a place in January/Febuary/March/April and make the decision.  March most years is brutal and early April aint much better.  

Edited by bhorsley

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32 mins ago, bloosfisher said:

   My wife and I really like the bicycling option and the miles of bike trails. We're set up as fishing bikes, too. I have gone further south, really want to see the OBX off season. Some great  motels are very cheap it seems off season. Farther south they will be IN season and more people.

Very good point and I always support doing something that involves your wife. I hope the two of you have a great time together. 

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10 hours ago, bhorsley said:

I get lots of questions from folks who want to move to OBX.  I recommend they rent a place in January/Febuary/March/April and make the decision.  March most years is brutal and early April aint much better.  

Yes indeed. One of my fly fishing Harker friends look seriously at buying a house around Beaufort, NC ... but end up in Sarasota FL. 

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