Location: Pittsboro, NC
Mon Jul 11, 2022 1:57 pm
We went out of there a lot on a small 24'er for a few years.
The inlet is a bit of a mess, thanks to their reluctance to dredge, but if you see the charter boats going out, you can make it. Just be prepared for a large roundabout path to the inlet. If you don't need a lot of water clearance, you can chance a shortcut that'll cut 4-5 miles off your path. The albatross fleet sometimes does this as they can just skid over sand bars with their old school hull and protected prop, and the skiffs will too. Use at own risk.
Otherwise...the charter boats run back into the sound a bit, then a 90° turn toward behinds ocracoke island, then come up and skirt the ocracoke side of the inlet and then do a couple turns and head out. There's one bar to get over that I've seen at like 4-10' depending on the tide, where you catch it on the wave, etc... once you pop over that bar (and if you're watching the depth finder you'll see it), you're pretty much clear. A few shoals off the beach at the tip of hatteras island, but you should be able to tell those if the surf is up.
1) There's some decent nearshore stuff that you can use as backup plans if the bite ain't offshore. The Abrams wreck holds decent fish and I think is about 10 miles due south. There's good bottom dropping all around the rockpile as well. Lots of other wrecks/reefs on the charts.
2) Heading south gives you better shot at dolphin and billfish. Heading east gives you best shot at tunas.
3) Don't run over the fish. We had out best dolphin day every catching them in 40-50' of water on a non-sargassum weedline right off the shoals. Thick like rats. In the summer time with the blended water, that can happen.
4) Keep an eye on the weather. One of our worst days ever (comfort-wise) - we headed south to the rock pile and trolled ENE the whole day until we got to the 280 rocks. It was a gorgeous smooth day. When we picked up to head in, we did a u-turn and found that SSW had kicked up to about 15-20 but because we had it at our backs, we never really noticed how bad the seas had gotten. Took us four hours to get in, and skirt the shoals from about 30 miles off. Thankfully we'd caught fish that day. Seems like a rookie mistake, and it was, but the fish were biting, we were having a good time, and just keep that 75° heading all day long.
Once that whacked us - we started looking at weather and if it was forecast to kick up in the afternoon out of the SW as is the norm, we'd avoid heading east on those days.
5) Restaurants options get a little slim and pricey if you wanna stay local to the cape. Hatterasman used to be a great greasy spoon but after being sold to new owners it closed shortly thereafter.
6) Smell Wreck (empire gem) is 18 miles ESE from the inlet I think and in about 130' of water. You can actually smell the oil seeping out of this 80 year old wreck and sometimes see a slight slick on it if it's really calm. Decent bottom fishin and often a fair amount of AJs on here as well. This is right as you start to get into deep water and a good starting/finishing spot for trolling; take a couple passes over it with a down rigger and see if you can pull a wahoo/king/aj off it.
Good luck and I think you'll enjoy it. If you have calm weather, you can't beat the run to the gulf stream with the rockpile being like 22 miles off the beach.
Location: Pittsboro, NC
Wed Jul 13, 2022 8:12 am
I wouldn't say it kills it...it just makes for a bad ride in if you head east.
If you head south with a SW wind, you'll have a snotty ride out, but decent trolling (wind is with current) and a pretty decent ride in with following seas.
If you hit the inlet with a strong SW wind in the afternoon, it can get kinda snotty with the swells building as you come in, but shouldn't be a big deal for an experienced captain.
If you hit a NE wind, the offshore trolling will suck no matter which way you go, but you can fish some nearshore wrecks and stuff and have calm seas for the most part.