The wind has finally quit blowing at Hatteras, so boats are heading back out into the ocean, but they don’t really need to, and when they do, they don’t need to go far for good fishing, because Hatteras Inlet is full of fish.
Capt. Joey VanDyke of Fingeance Charters said nice schools of Spanish mackerel are hanging around the inlet, hitting Clark Spoons trolled behind No. 1 planers and trolling sinkers, but they’re not alone. Bluefish and flounder are hanging around lumps and sloughs in the inlet, and gray trout are in the sloughs behind the inlet in huge numbers.
“It’s a shame the limit on gray trout is a single fish,” VanDyke said. “We’ve been averaging 70 plus a day and have to release all but one per fisherman.”
VanDyke said big schools of sea mullet are also in the inlet, and pompano have made a showing. The sea mullet, gray trout and pompano are on the edges where the bottom rises to the shallow lumps, but bluefish might be anywhere.
“I know fishermen elsewhere use Stingsilvers and speck rigs for their gray trout and sea mullet, but I’ve been catching both of them and flounder on 3- and 4-inch pearl Gulp! Baits. The swimming mullet and other shapes all work, but I believe I’ve caught them the best on the shrimp shapes. I’ve been catching pompano on Fishbites, and the sea mullet like them too. Chartreuse in the shrimp flavor has been the hot ticket; it can be fished as simply as on a double- drop bottom rig.
VanDyke said the puppy drum numbers aeren’t as high as they have been this spring, but fishing has still been pretty good. He said the puppy drum tend to be feeding up on the tops of the lumps that divide the sloughs in the inlet instead of in the deeper water with the sea mullet and gray trout. However, they also like the same pearl Gulp! as the gray trout. VanDyke said the drum might actually like the swimming mullet and fish shapes a little more, but they rarely turn down a shrimp.
“We had a pretty strong cobia run along the beach, but it has slowed dramatically,” VanDyke said. “I have been talking with friends farther south in North Carolina and down into South Carolina, and they still have cobia, so I don’t believe our cobia fishing has ended for the season. I believe this is just a lull between runs of fish.”