I go there every year for a week in late August, we stay on Duck - there are a few blues hanging around and other small odds and ends that can be taken from the shore. As a joke, while we were hanging out on the beach drinking beers one night, I tossed a whole bluefish and 3 feet of steel leader w/ a menhaden rig (two hooks) 20 feet into the surf.
I stuck the pole in the holder and went back to my curls. 5 minutes later that 10 ft pole was double over and the line was peeling off. I picked up the pole and started running parrallel to the beach in an attempt to put some line back on the reel. Nearly spooled I tried slowing down the spool w/ my hand and the line snapped.. I paused for a moment, stupified at what had happened.
30 minutes later we had a 60 lb setup, aircraft cable shark leaders, and another bluefish in the water. With a conventional reel, I couldn't cast the bait/leader/weight and instead we could only throw the setup by hand into the surf; the bait wasn't in more than 4 ft of water. It was starting to rain a bit, but three of us stayed, hoping for a real shot at whatever had totally overpowered the 25 lb equipment.
The clicker on the reel went off! I ripped the rod out of the spike and tightened the drag; I tugged hard twice and the hooks held. Line was peeling off, but at a resonable pace and pleanty was left; after 10 minutes I began to get it in and my arms were destroyed, I handed the reel off to my brother. By walking backwards slowly and then forwards while reeling in, he was able to take line. He swapped the rod off to a friend of mine. Five minutes later the line was cut.. It appeared that the leader had gotten tangled up in the mono and wore through it during the fight. We tried it again our last night there with large mullet instead of a bluefish and were unsuccessfull.
I'm pretty sure it was one of those massive rays.. I saw someone catch one of those off the kitty hawk pier - about 5 feet across. It still could've been a drum or shark, but it seemed to really go with the waves, like it had lots of surface area.
Anyway though.. try a whole bluefish in the surf if you get the chance. I can't wait 'till next august when I get to try it again.