The often used phrase "May you live in interesting times" could be a good thing to keep in mind when thinking about the coastal weather here on the Southern Outer Banks. The variables impacting coastal weather are complex. Often the intereaction between the sea, the air, and weather systems just does not play out as planned.
Our section of the banks, the Crystal Coast, expects a good dose of heat in August and the second week of the month met expectations. Other areas of the Southeast have been soaked this summer while we have been watching the skies for rain.
The third week of August brought us some surprises. It cooled off rapidly and in short order we have gotten four inches of rain. Many plans do not stop just because the rains have come.
When people visit our area on vacation they do not have the luxury of delaying their activities for a few days because often they will be back home. We had some friends down this past weekend, August 18 and 19. Their trip here was a last minute decision.
When I found out they were coming and took the time to look at the weather forecast, it only confirmed my suspicion that this was going to be a damp holiday for our friends. At one time there was a chance they might have made it here by noon on Friday. That would have allowed us to get in some fishing Friday afternoon before the weather started deteriorating. However, they did not arrive until just around dinner on Friday.
Saturday morning was wet and it seemed to get wetter as the day moved forward. Our guests spent the morning getting their fishing licences and doing a little car sight seeing. By 3PM they were beginning to worry that they were going to go home without getting out on the water. I kept watching the weather maps and the edge of the precipitation seemed to be stuck on the west end of Bear Island.
Finally there were a break in the clouds and three of us climbed into the still wet boat and headed out to fish the White Oak River. It looked like we could get wet at any time so we stayed close to home. Less than an hour after we started fishing the rains came back and by the time we went back to the dock a couple of hours later, we were soaked to the bone. We managed to catch four small sharks which we returned to the river. While we enjoyed the fishing even in the rain, the one guest who had to leave on Sunday was a little disappointed.
By Saturday evening the weather looked like it was clearing. As we saw our friend and his wife off to Richmond the next morning, it looked like a perfect Crystal Coast day where almost anything is possible. The weather was so nice that our other visitor, his wife and our five year old granddaughter headed off to the beach. I was busy until the middle of the afternoon but a dose of blue skies and no company prompted me to slide the kayak in the water and do a little fishing. It was beautiful on the river with only one big cloud in the distance so I took my time working my favorite holes and paddled to what I consider the far oyster rock among a series of them in the White Oak River near Swansboro, North Carolina.
As I worked my way back home slowly drifting among the oyster rocks. I got a couple of nibbles and then not very long after starting the drift back I had a great hit and it turned out to be a very nice red drum which looked even better back on the dock. The drum was exceptionally tasty after being in the frying pan.
After eating some delicious red drum, my beach going fishing partner really wanted to catch a red drum on his own. We took advantage of a break in the rain weather and headed out on Monday morning searching for fish. Our quest finally took us to Bogue Inlet. The weather depended on the direction you were facing. Looking out to sea things looked great. However, the view looking back to shore was not nearly as encouraging. Still by checking my Radar Now app, I could tell the storms would miss us. We caught one small bluefish and were back at home shortly after noon. We could see it raining up river and actually feel the cooler air coming down the river.
We got some rain but later in the afternoon the weather improved to the point that I was able to take my granddaughter swimming before the evening rains came. The next day I had to work but I loaned my boat to our visitor who has been with me enough to be familiar with the area waters. He was determined to catch a drum and did not have to go far from our dock. He caught his fish in the first seven minutes after getting on the water but tried to catch another without any luck for another two or three hours before coming back to the dock. Not long after he got back the skies opened and we got a real soaking.
While our visitors did not have perfect weather, there was enough great weather for swimming, a visit to the beach, and lots of fishing that likely will result in one or two cases of drum fever. Sometimes clouds on the horizon just cannot spoil the fun on the Crystal Coast.