August brings hot weather, greenhead flies, and fishing opportunities for those on vacation. The hot weather generates afternoon thunderstorms, but the surf is often calm enough for some light tackle fishing. While spring and fall are considered the prime months for fishing at Ocracoke, some trophies can still be found in late summer.
Flounder is one of the best bets from the surf or boat but in 2023 the flounder season is closed to keeping until mid September. The flounder season will begin September 15th through the 29th with one flounder a day per person with a minimum size of 15”. The north end of the island generally offers the best wading and surf fishing opportunities, while Ocracoke Inlet produces some of the best boat action. As described last month, strips of squid or croaker on flounder rigs will produce results when live minnows are hard to find. Expect to see the biggest pompano of the season, caught from the surf and shoals on shrimp and sand fleas. Sea mullets also take shrimp and sand fleas, so those baits can account for some of the best eating fish found in the surf. Successful anglers are fishing close to the beach with light tackle, making these hard fighters fun to catch.
Anglers may still find a few Spanish mackerel and bluefish on lures as the Spanish mackerel season winds down. The bluefish are smaller than the hard fighters caught in the spring or late fall, but these smaller blues are much better to eat than the larger ones. Any size Spanish mackerel are great on the grill or in the pan.
Inshore, anglers fishing late in the evening with large chunks of fresh bait can hope to find a citation drum of 40 inches or more. Expect the drum to bite late evening, sometimes well after dark. A chum slick made with menhaden oil increases the odds of catching one of these hard fighters. All big drum must be released, as only one fish may be kept within an 18 to 27” slot limit.
Offshore, king mackerel and wahoo bring exciting thrills to those taking a charter or venturing out in their own craft. Fishing for these fantastic fighters yield a great time catching and wonderful steaks for the grill. Look for kings closer in around structure, and expect the wahoo to stay in the Gulf Stream waters farther out.
As people fish or swim they sometimes run into some special dangers. While rays and jellyfish can cause painful stings, the primary problem vacationers run into is sunburn. Use sunscreen to avoid ruining a great time at the beach. Rays can inflict serious injury, so handle these creatures with care before returning them to the ocean. If you do get a barb, immersing the area in hot water will ease the pain until you can get medical attention for possible infection. Jellyfish stings are uncomfortable but rarely serious. The most dangerous threat to anyone on the beach is riptides, so stay aware of your surroundings and swim with care.
Dodge the thunderstorms, enjoy the beach, and have fun fishing.
See recent catches and read the current fishing reports at Tradewinds Tackle on Facebook or on our home page. For more information on what to expect fishing Ocracoke year round see our fishing page here.