Know the Pressure

This past week we heard about the first tropical storm of the season in the Atlantic.  So this is a good time to discuss how weather affects fishing. While there are many weather components that can influence angler’s success, it’s the barometric pressure that has the greatest impact.

Barometric pressure is the amount of force or weight where the atmosphere pushes down at any point on earth and its inhabitants. This pressure can be measured as either rising or falling or steady responding to the current weather conditions. And each one of these three different conditions or readings can have a significant effect on fishing.

Barometric pressure is caused by two or more different weather systems interacting with each other thus we see or even feel a rise or decrease the pressure. This rising and falling typically proceeds or then can follow a weather system or storm. For example, an approaching front or storm will cause the barometric pressure to decrease and once the front or storm passes the system will return back to its normal or steady pressure state. We see this as a typical summer storm passes. And the closer the storm is to a particular area, the lower the pressure can become.

So what does all mean to fishing? So how does this condition effect fishing?

On steady calm or “bluebird” days, fishing is dependent on many natural instincts of a specific species. Fish act in a normal fashion and remain comfortable and feed regularly. As the front begins to approach, many species can sense the approaching storm and the decrease in pressure. They typically will begin to feed aggressively for fear of days ahead where food sources are scattered. Then as the storm is upon them, the decreased pressure pushes heavily on the fish, most specifically their organs, thus causing them to feel full and reducing their instinct to feed and may even cause them to stop all together. Once the front or system passes, the pressure rises and the “full feeling” effect diminishes and the fish become “more comfortable”, the fish will again begin to feed normally.

So what does all this mean to the angler? First, this condition is the angler’s “ace in the hole”.

Anglers should always monitor the barometric pressure and watch for even slight changes. And when a front or storm system approaches or passes by, they should try to be at their favorite spot. It is a well-known fact that fish feed aggressively when they sense these weather changes. And good anglers know to follow this practice and have been rewarded.

Of course, anglers should never take chances or take a risk to be out on the water during lightning, high winds or any type of dangerous weather. It is never safe to be on or near the water when there are stormy conditions.

Looking for one more advantage, why not check the barometric readings on weather page before your next fishing trip. The results just might surprise you.

Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

The Daniels “Little” Bridge

Several weeks ago, I mentioned the various locations where an angler can catch fish by land. Today, I want to discuss one the favorite spots on the entire Outer Banks

The Melvin R. Daniels Bridge is one of the areas favorite places to fish on the Outer Banks. Better known as the “little bridge”, it was once one of the local’s best kept secret. But with its central location, easy access, amenities and abundance of action most of the year, this bridge is now known as one of the best places to catch fish.

The Daniels Bridge is located in the town of Nags Head on Rt. 64/264 Manteo Causeway just west of Whalebone Junction. The concrete structure has easily accessible to a guarded walkway on the south side of the bridge. A five foot concrete barrier on the south side provide protection from wind and traffic. The north side was closed last year due to pedestrian safety issue.

The parking lot on the west side of the bridge can accommodate dozens of vehicles.  And adjacent to the parking area, visitors will find a nice picnic area, covered pavilion and modern restroom facilities. There is also fish cleaning table and running water as an added convenience.

When fishing this bridge, most anglers will start on the west side and work their way along the entire walkway from west to east. Since the north side is closed, finding the main slough under the bridge is important. Tides flow quickly under the bridge so fishing close to the piles gives you the best chance for success.

Many species of fish can be found around 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. Unless jigging, it is a safe bet to fish close in toward the bridge pilings. Fast moving current under this bridge is the angler’s best friend.

Most anglers use a light to medium fishing gear to either bottom fish or jig for roving schools speckled trout, puppy drum or stripers. The standard two hook bottom rig tipped with small #4 hooks with fresh shrimp or cut bait is best for bottom fishing. When jigging, anglers typically use small lead head jigs fitted with a swim bait or other artificial plastics.

The best advantage for anglers who fish on the bridge is they don’t need any special equipment. It is important to just keep it simple. A simple light rod and reel, a two bottom rig and some fresh bait should help to get the action started quickly.

Anglers who want to fish on the Daniel’s bridge need to purchase a saltwater fishing license and obtain a copy of the local fishing regulations can be obtained at a local tackle shop. It is also imperative that all anglers 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 angler looking for that trophy fish, the Melvin R Daniels “Little Bridge” is the place to go.

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Discount Tackle is no Bargain

Have you noticed? It seems every day we find that we can buy more items online. Cars, pizza and now even a college degrees. And even more surprising, I read the other day that even the mainstay big box stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club are being squeezed out by other online wholesalers. And the future is un-predicable for many more retailers.

How about our fishing industry? Yup, there are now dozens of online tackle suppliers selling every type of tackle and gear on the market at discount prices. Even the very manufacturers have gotten in line with the parade. Seems everyone wants a piece of the angler’s dollar.

Why do anglers do their shopping online? It’s because the wholesaler’s prices can be cheaper than that of the local tackle shops plus as a bonus they receive free shipping coming directly to their door.

So now what does a local tackle shop do to survive in this era of the killer online market?

It’s called providing “personal customer service”. And it’s the same customer service they have been providing all along before the online marketers started wowing the angler away for their business.

Local tackle shops employ many local professional anglers. And for good reason. These local anglers know the waters, fish and what is takes to catch them. What equipment and lure work best? Best times, tides and locations. This is stuff you can’t find on any web site. And the best part – all of this information is free to anyone who either walks in the door or calls them on the phone.

Fresh bait and fresh fishing reports are the news of the day. Try finding these at the big box stores or on the online retailer’s web sites.

Finally, we all know online suppliers can sell us the same tackle and gear that we buy from a local guys maybe a little cheaper but the online guys can’t supply us with the advice we need to go with it.

So if we continue to buy on line at a discount and only go to the tackle shop for advice, the tackle shops will disappear.

Let’s support our local tackle shops every chance we get. They have a lot to offer, all you have to do is ask them.

But only you can make that choice. Let’s all make the right one.

Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony