Preparing for the Unexpected

Being prepared can be applied to most things in life. But it can’t be more important than when you go fishing.

How many times have you arrived at your fishing spot and found out you forgot to bring something or maybe you brought the wrong rigging or even possibly brought the wrong bait? Well it happens to anyone of us including some of the best anglers.IMG_1086

When fishing on the Outer Banks, you must prepare for just about anything. In spring, you might find plenty of small species, or you might just happen to run into a big school of puppy drum or bluefish. In summer, your gear may be too large for our smallest species and in fall small rods and reels may hinder you landing the huge trophy. So it’s important to prepare.

During the early summer, I usually bring two or three rods. One light and two light – medium weights. I match my reels and line to the rods.

I rig one of the light-medium rods with either a double-hook bottom rig or a home-made bottom rig. The other light-medium rod, I rig with a fluorocarbon leader and either lead head or Got-Cha lure. And I leave the light weight rod open.

When first arriving on the pier, I take time to watch other anglers to see what is running. The bite may be close, mid or near the end of the pier. Select your spot near the other anglers but not on top of them.

I always start with a double hook bottom rig with either Fishbites – “sand-flea” type or small piece of fresh shrimp. I usually start with number six circle hooks. I use just enough weight to hold bottom but not interfere with feeling the bite.

I keep the jigging rod handy for those quick runs of bluefish or Spanish mackerels that cruise past the piers. These fish arrive and pass by quickly so you must be ready at any time.

Last week, I found myself well prepared on a pier fishing trip. While catching sea mullet, I found a school of bluefish passing by my spot. Immediately, I began casting into the school with the pre-rigged rod. Within ten minutes, I caught over a dozen 16-18 inch blues. And a quick as the school arrived, they departed.

If I had not prepared a rod beforehand, I might have missed this action.

So my tip of the week is to bring extra rods and gear even though you might not feel them needed, You never know when the un-expected will happen.

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

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