Tuna on the Outer Banks

Every year conventional tackle anglers flock to North Carolina’s Outer Banks in October and November to chunk for yellowfin tuna in the 50- to 70-pound range.

Every year conventional tackle anglers flock to North Carolina’s Outer Banks in October and November to chunk for yellowfin tuna in the 50- to 70-pound range. These days, those fish are attracting the attention of fly rodders as well. In the first week of December, Raz Reid, Capt. Brian Horsley and Capt. Sarah Gardner headed out on the Sea Creature, while Capt. Cliff Spencer on the Anticipation hosted Steve and Theresa Hutchins, all seasoned tuna-on-fly anglers.The first day, the anglers aboard the Sea Creature hooked seven fish on fly, but they were plagued with gear problems. Gardner did land two yellowfin in the 20- to 30-pound range, but by the second day the bugs were worked out and the tuna were still snapping. Using gray-and-white Deceivers, everyone landed at least one fish in the mid- to upper 50-pound range. Gardner hooked a monster that took over an hour to land. At the scale the fish weighed in at 53 pounds 4 ounces, breaking the current women’s 20-pound tippet record by more than 10 pounds.The day before, Hutchins (who’s record Gardner broke) landed a 55.5-pound bruiser to break her own 16-pound tippet record. It took Hutchins slightly less than two hours to beat the fish, caught on a bunker pattern that she tied herself.