Highlight Reels: Fall fishing on the Outer Banks

Published 9:07 am Thursday, November 7, 2019

While fishermen near and far sought keeper speckled trout in the troughs and sloughs up and down the Outer Banks Tuesday morning, Vietnam veteran Tommy Cox caught the proverbial whopper on cut bait while fishing a hole just north of Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head.

Because he’s from Coleridge and doesn’t saltwater fish too often, Cox said he was about to throw back the big fish when someone else mentioned he may want to weigh it.

Up in the pier house, staff helped him clean the sand off and weigh it on the digital flatbed scale – it was 5.49 pounds!

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The 27.5 inch long fish weighed enough for a citation, but Cox said he didn’t care about that. He was expecting his buddy to arrive any minute down on the beach and then nodded to where his wife was waiting in her chair.

There was a crowd of other anglers casting and jigging for their own spotted sea trout in the same place Cox caught the big one. He said worked in a textile mill for most of his days except for when he served his country.

“I barely survived Vietnam,” he said.

And that wasn’t the only big fish that visited Jennette’s this so far this week. Monday afternoon several huge ocean sunfish casually swam by the end of the pier thrilling children, teens and adults.

These animals, also known as mola mola, are the largest bony fish swimming in the sea. Later that day, what’s believed to be a pair of humpback whales lumbered by the pier.

At one point, the larger whale rolled over on its side, and the smaller one stayed close. There’s a good chance it was a mother and calf or juvenile.

Found in oceans and seas around the world, humpback whales typically migrate up to 16,000 miles each year. The humpback has a distinctive body shape, with long pectoral fins and a knobby head

Besides all the sea creatures hanging around, anglers also had luck landing speckled trout, puppy drum, black drum, northern puffers, bluefish and flounder including a big one caught and released by Chris King of Roxboro who said he’s rented a Nags Head house for the entire month so he can fish.

Just two miles south at the Outer Banks Pier on Monday, Don Hole said they were getting plenty of sea mullet, black drum, flounder, trout and “a nice run of puffers on the end, nice blow toads out there!”

At Nags Head Pier that same day, Jerry Sary said fishing has been strong.

“Trout fishing has really been good lately, we’re catchin’ them night and day,” he said, “big ones Sunday for about an hour – it’s just been good,” with puffers and blues too.

They also had a nice run of sea mullet and one angler left with a mess so he could have a fish fry, Hole added.

At Avalon, Ashley said things were slow Monday with “a few mullet, a few speckled trout.” Kitty Hawk Pier remains open for free fishing, but the pier shop is closed.

In Duck, Rob Vaught at Bob’s Bait and Tackle, said bottom fishing has been good for spot, croaker, whiting, blues, stripers drum and trout.

“Casting close, you can catch ’em anywhere right now,” he noted.

In Corolla, Derek Kinney at OBX Bait and Tackle said it’s somewhat been quiet.

“Up here . . . speckled trout, black drum, puppy drum and a few puffers,” Kinney said. “There was good shark activity last week.”

“Three- and four-foot sand tigers but other than that, it’s been pretty quiet,” he said.