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23 Apr

It’s Bluefish Time at the NC Outer Banks

The warmer days of fishing are nearly here and the coming of Easter of 2024 is a good example of that. In addition to species like the Bonito, the Bluefish are commonly the first arrivals along the coast of the Carolinas. This is especially true for the North Carolina Outer Banks which has become a hotspot for Blues on the east coast. This is driven by the water temps along the Banks found around Easter each year. This is a time of year that Outer Banks anglers refer to as the “Bluefish Blitz.”

This year’s Bluefish run is expected to be a good one based on the 2023 stock assessment that shows the species has not been overfished. However, North Carolina anglers will have a challenge obtaining the desired amount of bait for Bluefish fishing. This is due to the recent increased restriction of fishing for Striped Mullet bait which is popular for Bluefish fishing.

Why the North Carolina Outer Banks?

Well, first is that the Outer Banks of North Carolina is one of the greatest fishing locations on the East Coast. This is driven by many forces.

· With the Outer Banks complex series of shoals, this can change the movement of water and act as a baitfish gathering spot. Thus, making it a super feeding ground for the transiting Blues.

· Also, the water warms quicker than other coastal areas due to being closer to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, and the southwest winds blow in the warmer water attracting the bait fish and the Bluefish.

· The water quality is greater than that of other coastal areas thanks to the cleaner water having less access to pollution from highly populated coastal areas.

Where Will You Find Bluefish Feeding?

· Fishing off the beaches is one of the most common methods. The shoals are always changing thanks to the movement of the coastal waters. If you are fishing off the beach, you’ll want to look for troughs where the baitfish and the Bluefish are.

· The baitfish and the Bluefish are also approached from small boats off beaches. Casting into the troughs holding the baitfish can be effective, but you must have a skilled boat operator to avoid getting into the rougher water that can be dangerous.

It’s important to have a properly weighted lure that allows for a long cast. It’s important to stay secure on the boat with the sometimes-rough seas.

What Lures and Gear You’ll Need?

· Most seasoned Outer Banks anglers prefer to use 4000-5000 class reels with a medium to heavy rod. This is due to the higher current as well as a longer cast that’s many times needed. Use at least a 20# braid line. This may need to increase depending on the size of the lures, weights, and bait.

· When picking a lure, it’s always best to choose one that creates a lot of action, and a lot of flash also helps. It’s thought that artificial lures will be more popular this year due to the decrease in the Stiped Mullet availability.

· Check with the local tackle shop for advice on what the Bluefish are biting on and where.

Make sure that you get to the Outer Banks soon for the best fishing is in the weeks to come. Don’t wait too long.

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