The “Little Bridge” officially titled the Melvin Daniels Bridge is one of the best kept secret places to fish on the Outer Banks. The little bridge can be found on the Rt. 64/264 Manteo Causeway just west of Whalebone Junction in Nags Head. This area has produced record numbers of fish and crabs during most fishing seasons.
With fishing platforms on both sides of the bridge and an adequate guardrail and concrete barrier on the south side provides adequate protection from the wind and road traffic. On the west end, there is also a crabbing dock with running water and fish cleaning table
You will find plenty of parking on the west side of the bridge with nice picnic area, covered pavilion and modern restroom facilities. These areas are also accessible for those who are physically challenged.
These amenities are why this fishing area has always been a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.
When fishing the little bridge, I always start on the south side and work my way from west to east. The water is a little shallower on the south and west side and but becomes deeper as you go east along the rail. The water moves faster around the pilings and through the channel along the east side. The east end on the north side also is a great place to drop a line.
Bottom fish can be found all along this bridge. The key is watching the bait fish and other anglers. Try to mirror their actions. The sound bottom is mostly sandy with minimal structures outside the bridge footprint. So stay close to the bridge.
The summer months can bring a lot of crabs to this area. They are the most proficient bait stealers. So when using a standard two hook bottom rig, you just have to be patient and continue to replace the missing baits. One tip I use is only put a top hook on the bottom rig. Occasionally the bottom bait attracts the crab and they follow the line up the second one. Leaving the bottom hook off may help.
Fresh shrimp, live minnows, blood worms, cut bait or fish bites are always useful here.
When jigging, match the lead head and plastic lure to the bait and conditions. I always use dark colors in cloudy or overcast days and light colors on bright days. I will vary lead head weights when the current or winds prevent me from getting the lure where I need it.
Casting away from the bridge and retrieving your jig at varying speeds with some jerking and pausing can attract the attention of many fish species. Most fish will be found in the lower water column so a slow retrieves along the bottom might be your best bet.
The west side observation area and crabbing dock is also a great place to either bottom fish or jig or crab (more about crabbing in another blog entry)
You don’t need any special equipment. A simple light tackle rig and assortment of gear will work great. Your local tackle shop can hook you up quickly.
When fishing on this bridge, you will need a saltwater fishing license so check the regulations. Also, you need to know the creel and bag limits for each species.
So for a great place for the beginning angler, kids of all ages, families or the experienced one looking for that trophy fish, the Melvin R Daniels “Little Bridge” is the place to go.
Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony