Well, we have finally arrived at that time of year. Another fishing season is rapidly transforming itself into a time of pause. Cold temperatures and the occasional weather system forces our local species into their annual migration. During this phase many of the ocean piers will close for the season and others modify their hours to accommodate the lack of anglers and fish to catch.
Scarcity sets the stage for anglers to reboot their strategies and plan for the upcoming season. But all is not lost of the lowering temperatures and approaching and unsettled weather patterns.
There are still three ocean access piers open throughout the off season. Both Jennette’s Fishing Pier in Nags Head and Avalon Pier in Kill Devil Hills will remain open with limited hours. The newest pier, Bonner Bridge Pier at the southern end of the new Basnight Bridge will stay available 24 hours a day.
In addition the three ocean side piers, the Wildlife pier (at Pirates Cove) and Bebop pier (west end of the Umstead Bridge) will be fishable throughout the off season.
The Daniels Bridge catwalk on the Nags Head Causeway is always a great place to fish year around. But in winter, the concrete barrier provides a break from the north winds.
The hundreds of miles of surf and sound side access from Corolla to Ocracoke are open to anglers with some restriction. Check with localities for proper access rules and availability.
There are many days that fishing is very productive when optimal conditions exist but other days will test the angler’s endurance and patience. Anglers should plan accordingly.
And as always, anglers should notify someone where they will be fishing. Due diligence is just good policy. Inclement and winter fishing is different than warmer weather. Mishaps in summer are easily addressed. But not so much in winter.
The good news is that the Outer Banks surf, three piers, sound side bridges and many of the fresh water ponds and ditches should hold fish throughout the entire winter. Special gear will be needed but those dedicated enough to brave the elements can be rewarded.
Remember to obtain a fishing license where needed and follow creel and bag limits. Release all fish carefully that are not harvested.
As we charge into the off seasons, there is much to learn from last year and much to do in preparation for the coming season.
Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony