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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I are going to Nags Head in September and she has never surf fished before. I have a few times but always in late spring. Could someone give me some tips and tactics so hopefully our trip won't be a bust.
 

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Welcome aboard RiverRat83! I don't fish up that way and I have a feeling it's a lot different than down here 'cause of the Labrador current (cold water that comes down to Hatteras and then mixes with the Gulf waters). But generally September is an excellent month for bottom fishing. Might be a little early for the Stripers which are the big draw up there in the fall/early winter.

I'm hoping some folks with experience up that way will chime in. Anyway - good luck on the trip - we look forard to hearing about it.
 

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Welcome RiverRat83!

If the weather cooperates and is slightly cooler than usual you might get in on the beginning of the fall bluefish run. Extra long three hook leaders with cut bait work well for me as well as finger mullet rigs. Use live bait rigs with small sea mullet if you want to go after the 5# plus blues. Up there they call them Hatteras Blues. Cut mullet in September could yield puppy drum and maybe even an adult size red drum. Use a carolina type rig for drum and flounder fishing. Flounder fishing can be productive in September also. Live finger mullets and mud minnows work best for flounder from my experience. Big spots and croakers should be moving in then as well, two hook bottom rigs baited with bloodworms and/or shrimp are their fare. You should also be able to catch some nice virginia mullet and sand fleas are a good bait for them as well as shrimp and bloodworms. 7'-10' rods with 12# - 20# line depending on what you are targeting. I prefer 8'-9' medium - med/heavy rods myself. I use to think that just because I was in the surf that I need at least 10'-12' rods but now I don't even get the 12' rods out unless I know that I have got to make a really long cast. Most of the fish you will be targeting will be right in the breakers or just beyond them and a super long cast won't be necessary. The only other real benefit to a 12' rod is to hold the line above most of the waves and this is useful if it is really rough.
there is a lot more that some of the other more experienced anglers can suggest but maybe this is a start.
As was wisely noted in another thread having a line in the water is at least half the reason for successfully catching fish.

Mark
 

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Here is the real truth about the northern outer banks. Like TA said you have water from the chesapeake bay and the labrador current coming from up north and water from the southern inshore plus water from the gulf stream mixing in that area. Add to this water from Currituck Sound and /or water from Albemarle Sound pouring out of Oregon Inlet. You really can't make too many assumptions about the water temperature and therefore the fishing. The biggest factor that affects the water temperatue is wind (speed, direction & duration) . This can get very complex because what the wind did last week may cause an unusual effect on what the wind causes to happen this week. In other words you just have to see what happens. Right now I think the water temps between Oregon Inlet and the Va. line vary from 63 in Duck to about 77 at Coquina Beach. Now here is the kicker it is 77 in VA beach and 68.5 at the bay bridge tunnel. I'll try to go a little deeper and give you the norms in another post in this thread.
 

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You can expect water temps to be around 79 degrees in the Nags Head surf in Aug. the first two weeks in Sept are similar but you should see a slight buildup of fish. During this time frame the normal catches are small bluefish, spanish, a few trout, flounders,whiting, a few puppy drum and pompano. If cold water in the 60's moves in the spanish and pompano will be replaced by croaker and grey trout. Croaker usually dominates the catches then.
Winds out of the nw w or sw will tend to muddy up the water. Usually the longer and stronger it blows the muddier and cooler the water becomes. Winds out of the north east are usually good and if mild the water will be clear enough for spanish, trout and pompano Winds out of due east blow offshore type clear water in and can be good for all of the above clear water species. Winds out of the southeast will blow water in from the gulf stream in. A nw to ne wind can cause mullet and other species of fish to move into the oregon inlet area. Some may enter the ocean. Fish onthe south side of Oregon inlet in those conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the input. I've told my wife stories of bluefish frenzies when we've caught over two hundred in a couple hours. She loves to fish as much as I do so
were both excited.
 

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To be honest I don't think you will see many big blues before Nov. but there anything can happen. Like Mark said you can't catch them if you don't have a hook in the water. One thing about the banks is that there are a lot of factors that contribute towards concentrating the fish into large and sometimes unimaginable schools. when these factors line up favorably for putting those huge schools in the surf memories will be made for whoever is there with the right stuff and the knowledge to use it.
 

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How a person fishes depends on a lot of different factors. The easy way is just to grab a bucket a piece, rods, sand spikes,and bait and hit the beach and fish the closest place. You can probably double the number of fish you catch if you learn to read the beach and fish the sloughs and breaks in the bar corrrectly. By learning how to spot and identify schools of fish and knowing the more efficient methods to catch them you greatly increase your chances of having days that you were reeling them in as fast as you could take one off and get your line back out. By keepng up with the water temps wind direction and water clarity for the region and actively hunting schools of fish and keying on the schools you can really up the odds that you will have days that are totally unbelievable to most folks. Some days you will just be riding out your gas but in late Sept until the end of the year that is the best way to fish the banks. Once a good many mullet have left the sounds and inlet, you can count on increased chances of finding other fish feeding on them in the surf.Usually sometime in august the mullet & especially finger mullet start combining schools to make bigger schools. A good blow out of the NE or NW will send a bunch of them packing for the inlet. They will bring hungry gamefish with them. IF you see/hear of that happening the southwest side of the bridge across oregon inlet is the best place to start fishing.
 

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Now that you are thoroughly confused RiverRat do you have your strategy laid out? Need to go ahead and get a plan together so you can start feeding the tackle monkey! :D

You have to purchase at least 5 rod and reel combos to accomodate the suggestions in this thread not to mention approximately $100 worth of terminal tackle alone. Oh yeah! At least 5 tubs of the new Gulp Alive...........$19.99 per tub. You definitely need newer model sand spikes that include the bait cutting board and bucket, at least 5 of them. You will need a five gallon live bait bucket with the spring latch lid. A cast net that is at least 6 ft. in diameter. You will need every color of catcha plugs, gold and silver Clark Spoons for casting while you are waiting on something to hit the bottom rigs.;)

I know that I am missing some stuff but you might be able to get well enough prepared for around $1000. :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, my grandfather passed away a couple of years ago, and we inherited his fishing stuff. Alot of the stuff had rusted but most of his gotcha plugs and hopkins spoons looked like they had never been used. He had a huge assortment of sinkers so thats covered. I just ordered an 8' and 9' Penn power sticks with reels to match so I'm getting started.
 
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