Bridge Fishing in Fall

Fishing on a local outer banks bridge in the fall gives you that special feeling.

Speckled sea trout and puppy drum bites have been off the charts for the past several weeks. The cool crisp air and those intermittent colder breezes remind you that winter is just around the corner. But the urge to fish exceeds the need for comfort.

Throughout the season the catches seemed easy. The warm days allowed the angler to spend hours searching the various holes and points around the pilings for a catch. But now with the unpredictable winds, current and water temperatures, catching becomes a little more challenging.

When the experienced angler first arrives at their fishing spot, they will study the surroundings and conditions.

Some of the questions they will focus on are: what are the water conditions – moving, still, choppy; what is being caught and with what bait and lure; and is there any special going on such as bird activity or bait fish.

Although, all conditions should be observed, the most important focus should be on the water temperatures and movement.

This time of year, moving lures and baits seem to work well. Most fish species face into the current to feed so the lure must pass within noise range or eye sight. But it also must pass them by at a speed not to exceed their energy reserves.

Quarter to one eighth lead heads with or without a rattle is the preferred jig.

There are a variety of swim baits or curly tail plastic baits available and work great but glass minnows seem to be on the Captain’s short list and for me work best.

Colors do matter. Use dark colors in low light and light colors in bright light.

The retrieval must also be varied to allow time for the fish to see or hear the bait and attack it.

No fish swims in a straight line so neither should your bait. Erratic pauses and jerks might indicate a weak or injured prey.

When fishing on one of the outer banks bridges in fall, take everything in before committing to a certain bait. Watch, wait and act.

The experienced angler who uses all their senses during challenging times, will be more successful.

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Old Man and the Sea

With out a doubt, my most favorite book.

From his own words!!

“He’s coming up,” he said. “Come on hand. Please come on.”

The line rose slowly and steadily and then the surface of the ocean bulged ahead of the boat and the fish came out. He came out unendingly and water poured from his sides. He was bright in the sun and his head and back were dark purple and in the sun the stripes on his sides showed wide and a light lavender.

“He is two feet longer than the skiff,” the old man said. The line was going out fast but steadily and the fish was not panicked. The old man was trying with both hands to keep the line just inside of breaking strength. He knew that if he could not slow the fish with a steady pressure the fish could take out all of the line and break it.

He is a great fish and I must convince him, he thought. I must never let him learn his strength nor what he could do if he made his run.

The old man had seen many great fish. He had seen many that weighed more than a thousand pounds and he had caught two of that size in his life, but never alone.

Now alone, and out of sight of land, he was fast to the biggest fish that he had ever seen and bigger than he had ever heard of, and his left hand was still as tight as the gripped claws of an eagle.

Ernest Hemingway – The Old Man and the Sea.

 

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Don’t make it a Habit

“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us – John Dryden”.  This statement applies as much to fishing as well as it does in different segments of our lives.

Catching speckled sea trout with your favorite lure is a prime example.  My favorite lure was always the double bucktail. It gave me confidence during each outing. But after a year or so the lure just didn’t produce hits or catches like I wanted. Was it me or the lure or species?

As any confident then frustrated angler, I considered changing to a different bait or possibly a new technique.

My first change the following year was to the “flavor of the month”.  That time I tried MirrOlure’s – MR 17 “Electric Chicken”. Using the “Electric Chicken” hard bait helped me catch trout that year. But again and after time, it seems to fail to attract and hook fish.

And over the next several years, I changed to metal spoons, top water hard baits, jigheads with swim and finesse baits, popping corks and a variety of other new styles and types.

And as usual, they all did well for a while and then stopped or declined to a point that I needed to change.

My research showed that after a long period of time, many species begin to recognize some type of danger when seeing the same or similar style rigging on a regular basis. Fish are known to communicate and whether they warn each other of impending danger or not, they definitely change habits or preferences to various baits to survive and avoid being caught.

So what is the angler to do? Change, modify and specialize.

My change is using each of these rigs in specific situations. I always keep each of these rigs in my bag. Never discounting their past performance. Varying my retrieval rates and movements.

Modify my plastic rigging. Sometimes I cut a small slice from the tail to enhance vibration and movement. Other times, modify hook size on hard baits or shortening the length of fluorocarbon leader.

Specialize in specific conditions – dark colors for overcast or low light days. Light colors for bright days. Using specialize techniques also gives the angler an advantage.

To be a great angler, keep each of these lures in your tackle bag for maximum success.

Many fish species change habits to survive. And to be successful on a regular basis, anglers need to change too.

 

Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Don’t Pull It Away

Most anglers will look at these three reels and think why is the captain showing me these three in one picture? Although, they appear the same, there is one distinct difference that could affect their catch rate.

The difference is the retrieval rate. The top reel has a 40” ratio; the middle reel has a 36” ratio; and the bottom one has 28” ratio.

The difference between the top and bottom reel is significant especially if the targeted species only chases the bait a short distance.

We have talked many times about the various species on the Outer Banks waters. All fish species move for a purpose. They move to find comfort, food, spawn and escape a predator. They know how to preserve energy to remain alive.

When feeding they will typically only chase a bait fish so far depending on the amount of energy available. When that level of stamina is exhausted or they perceive the chase will not be productive, their effort will end.

Going back the reels, each reel in this picture has a different retrieval rate. The retrieval rate is the amount of line taken up on each turn of the handle.

Turn the handle or retrieve the line too fast the fish will run out of energy before it catches the bait, Retrieve too slow and your bait may spook them.

So it’s the retrieval rate that can help make that catch successful.

How do you know how fast your retrieval is? Well, measure it.

Layout a tape measure on the ground, extend the end of the line on one end of the tape and turn the handle one complete turn. Then measure the distance.

Once it is determined the rate of retrieval per handle revolution, the angler can adjust their action to avoid pulling it away.

This is especially helpful for novice anglers. Sometimes the excitement of the strike causes the line to be taken up too quickly.

As simple as this may seem, every technique available may help increase the opportunity to catch more fish.

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Buy It Just Once

I once over heard a good friend in Florida giving advice to some novice anglers. It’s probably the best advice I could pass on to my fellow anglers here on the Outer Banks and elsewhere.

When it comes to fishing gear, “Buy it right the first time and you only buy it once”.

Great advice to follow.

Until Next time – Tightlines. Capt. Tony

 

 

 

Attention Outer Banks Anglers!!

The Outer Banks Anglers Club will be holding their next monthly meeting at 7:00 pm on October 30, 2017.

Guest Speaker is David Glenn, Science and Operations Officer, with NWS Newport/Morehead City. He will be discussing:

“How Does the Weather Affect Boating?”

The meeting will be held at the Kerns P. Pitts Center / Southern Shores Town Hall Complex located at 5375 N. Virginia Dare Trail, Southern Shores, N.C.

For more information see us on our website or facebook:

Outerbanksanglersclub.com

Facebook.com/obxanglersclub/

New Members Are Always Welcome

Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Explore These Now

The Outer Banks surf is teaming with red drum, bluefish and other fall species this time of year. It seems if you can find a slough, you find the fish. But the weather can be very finicky this time of year so there are other places to explore.

There are many hidden spots that anglers can fend off the weather, find fish and enjoy the serenity of the Outer Banks.

Here are three very popular fishing spots that fill that objective.

The Daniels Bridge (Little Bridge), Wildlife pier (Washington Baum Bridge) and the BeBop pier (Umstead Bridge).

The Daniels Bridge is just west of the Whalebone Junction on Rt. 64 West. There is plenty of parking with a bath house and fish cleaning station. Anglers can fish both the north and south sides of the bridge with convenient walkways that keep you away from traffic. Water flows from the Albemarle Sound into the Roanoke Sound. Fish gather here most of the year. A large concrete wall on the south side provides protection from the wind. This area is the favorite of most local anglers.

The Wildlife pier is another great place to fish. The pier runs parallel and just under the Washington Baum Bridge / Rt. 64 west. This is another area where water flows quickly. There is a huge slough at the entrance to the Pirate’s Cove harbor that hold plenty of big fish. Good casting techniques will help you reach these trophy fish. Restrooms are available. This is also a great place to crab or throw a cast net for bait. Benches and Baum bridge provides some shade to enhance anglers comfort.

The final spot is the BeBop Pier. This area is located on the western side of the Old Mann’s Harbor Bridge (Umstead Bridge Old Rt. 64). This pier reaches into Albemarle Sound just north of the Croatan Sound. It has benches and a covered porch to keep the sun at bay. This pier continues to hold fish most of the year. Puppy drum and stripers are a favorite of anglers who frequent this pier. Thousands of Purple Martins return here each year to roost under the bridge. So if fishing is slow, this is a bird-watchers paradise.

All three of these fishing spots hold fish. So if you looking for that new spot or just a place out of the ordinary, then you won’t have to look too far.

Until next time – Tightlines. Capt. Tony

Outer Banks Catch – Spot and Croaker Tournament

Join Outer Banks Catch – Data – Raiser Tournament

SPOT & CROAKER FISHING TOURNAMENT

NO ENTRY FEE – ALL SPECIES MUST BE CAUGHT IN NORTH CAROLINA IN OCTOBER

This event is a data-raiser to collect data to use for science focusing on spot and croaker.

All weights and lengths will be shared with the NC Division of Marine Fisheries.

It’s easy. Catch a spot or croaker, take it to a participating tackle shop or pier to confirm weight and length by signing the entry form on the back of the brochure.

Send a photo of the entry form and email it to spotcroakertournament@gmail.com. Also, have someone take a picture of angler holding their catch. The photos will be posted as received but weights and lengths will be secure until the tournament closes on October 31, 2017.

May enter for both species and as many times as wanted.

Prizes for heaviest, longest, and most fish entered.

Long list of prizes will be awarded including:

Give-a ways, Lures, Restaurant Gift Cards, Fishing trip with Guide

For more information and an entry form, please see:

https://www.outerbankscatch.com/every-mans-spot-croaker-fishing-tournament/

 

Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Striped Bass Season – 2017

The North Carolina Department of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF) announced the opening of the Striped Bass Recreational Season effective October 1, 2017 at 12:01 A.M. in the Albemarle Sound Management Area.

Striped bass maybe caught by hook and line or recreational commercial gear for recreational purposes all seven (7) days per week. If you intent to use a recreational commercial gear license gill net, you must refer to M-proclamations for additional information.

These fish must be at least 18 total inches and each angler may keep no more than two (2) fish in any one day.

The season is scheduled to close at 1159 P.M. on, Monday, April 30, 2018 unless closed by the NCDMF proclamation.

Additionally, the Atlantic Ocean Striped Bass fishery remains open to all anglers at one (1) fish per day at a minimum of twenty-eight (28) inches. For more information on the ocean fishery, please check with your local tackle shop.

It’s been a long time since we had a good striped bass fishery. Only take what you can use. All others should be safely returned to the water.

And only you and I can preserve this important Outer Banks fishery.

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony