Striped Bass Season 2020

This week the North Carolina Department of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF) announced the opening of the Striped Bass Recreational Season effective Thursday, October 1, 2020 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.

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 Thursday, December 31, 2020 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

Fall Fishing Tournament

Attention all interested Anglers!!


Frank and Frans will be holding the “RED, WHITE & BLUE FREEDOM TOURNAMENT” surf fishing tournament on October 22-24, 2020!!

This a “feet in the sand” event. What better way to enjoy the outdoors then with a fishing rod and the waves washing onto your feet on a crisp fall week?

For more information and to register for this tournament, go Frank and Fran’s website at

Tight lines – Capt. Tony

Who Does Structure

What does having structure have to do with being successful?  Plenty!!

An angler can significantly improve their catch rate if they are able to recognize the presence of structure and how to use it to their advantage. This knowledge along with several other scouting skill sets can give both the novice and experienced angler that competitive edge.

Structure can be defined as anything having an unusual characteristic found either horizontally under water or standing vertically in the water column. Many structures are created by nature or installed to either support another structure or another purpose. Regardless of the types of structures, they can also be found at various locations and water depths.  Either way, structure is beneficial for both anglers and many saltwater species

Vertical structure could be pilings, bulkheads, tree stumps, root systems or jetties that extend above the surface. Horizontal structures are submerged and may include depressions, holes, drop-offs, ledges, rocks, tree roots or sunken logs. The most common horizontal structure are small holes or depressions and the change where sand bottom meets a grass flat.

Structure provides safety and food source for many species. The fish’s ability to move around this formation provides their ability to avoid another predator. Also, many small bait fish and crustaceans remain close to structure adding to the larger species food source.

When fishing a vertical structure, the angler should focus on the leeward side. Fish typically remain in the calm leeward side waiting for a bait fish or other species pass by.  When fishing a horizontal structure such as a depression or grass flat, let your bait pass as close as possible, changing speeds and action of the retrieve.

When fishing structures, anglers should mimic the action of a bait fish or crustacean. They must provide a natural retrieve. Bait or lure presentation here is extremely important as not to spook or chase the fish out of that zone. The bait or lure should be retrieved slowly both in the current and static areas. Then repeated.

Proficient anglers have the ability to use various retrieval or twitching actions that cause the fish to either sense anger, fear or instill their interest to increase to attack.  But it is imperative that the action must be natural and lifelike.

Some structure is easily located but others are not.  Vertical structures are obvious – they stick out f the water. But horizontal must be discovered. One way to locate a bottom structures is to take either a bank sinker or a lead jig head with the hook removed attached to a break-away light test leader and cast out in various locations. Feel and resistance during the retrieve can reveal uneven bottoms and structure created components.

Ability to recognize and use structure is the easiest way for an anglers to improve their catch rate.

And although it’s an important part of finding fish, its only one tool in the angler’s catch box. The ability to recognize structure and use it to catch fish can be a game changer.

Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

NCBBA – More 2020 Cancellations

Announcements were made by President Bill Smith at Todays Annual Meeting Conference Call!…..See Below

This week the NCBBA Board made the decision to cancel this year’s Red Drum Tournament. We had a great deal of discussion but with the issues arising from the presence of the COVID virus and the challenges that would create, the Board did not feel it was feasible to move forward with this year’s Tournament. We know this is a disappointment for many but hope you will join us in looking forward to next year’s event. Refunds will be forthcoming to all who have already registered for this year’s tournament.

We had also hoped to have a mid-summer Operation Beach Respect event and picnic next weekend but with the restrictions currently in place by the state of North Carolina, we didn’t feel we could effectively have the kind of event we wanted and thus it was necessary to cancel that event.

This has been a challenging summer here on the Outer Banks. Visitation numbers are off the charts, with many first time visitors. As NCBBA members, let’s be ambassadors out on the beach, especially by setting an example for others, whether it be airing down, driving safely, being courteous while using the beach or being a resource if any first time visitors have questions or need our advice. Let’s have them look to us as an example out on the beach.

On another note, we are currently holding a raffle for a painting called “Running of the Blues”. Tickets can be purchased on our website and information about the painting and the raffle are located on the website and on our Facebook Page. The painting was donated by George Deems Jr., whose father was a former NCBBA President.

We look forward to seeing you soon.
Bill Smith, NCBBA President

Hot Weather Fishing

Fishing in the summer months can be challenging. The air temperatures can easily reach well into the nineties with “feel like” air temps being well over a hundred. Combine these high temperatures with the occasional storms and increased humidity and you have conditions that can test even the most seasoned anglers.

But the summer season also brings in the most variety of marine species. So regardless of the conditions, many anglers will brave these high temperatures to test their luck on a local pier or the surf.

There are several choices anglers can make to stay healthy on the water and still enjoy fishing.

Sun glasses are mandatory. The reflection off the water can damage your eyes quickly.  Sun glasses should provide UV protection and block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. Also, opt for wraparound sunglasses or close-fitting sunglasses with wide lenses that protect your eyes from every angle. There are many sun glasses to choose from but don’t skimp on these.

Next item is a hat. Use only a hat that covers both your face and neck. Baseball caps are common place on the water but they typically only provide partial protection. Be smart and get a good hat.

Also, many anglers are utilizing buffs and gloves. A buff is a lightweight tube fabric used to cover your neck, face and ears. Gloves can protect your hands from not only sun but sharp edges. Some gloves allow your fingers to be exposed for handling gear. Only use types that protects you from the sun’s harmful rays.

Many tackle and specialty shops sell a cooling towel. These towels are soaked in water and wrapped around your neck and head. They are definitely worth the price but remember these towels do not have a UV rating so extra precautions are needed when using these towels.

The final component is clothing. Wear long sleeves and long pants. I know, these can make you hotter but there are many styles that are “cool-infused”. If you get hot, roll your sleeves. Remember always look for UPF 40 and UV protection.

OK so you don’t care for long clothes or cover up, then use at least a 50 SPF or higher sun screen lotion. They even make a spray – so there is never an excuse. Apply liberally before you head out and every hour. Don’t worry, you will get plenty of sun through this protection.

Finally, stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and non-alcoholic beverages. Water or other sports drinks can help keep you cool. Alcohol can rob your system of valuable fluids. So save that for after you come out of the sun.

Remember smart anglers use some type of sun protection every time they are out fishing. Over exposure of the sun can ruin your day and your future.

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Surf Fishing Basics

Summer is well under way and what better way to enjoy the Outer Banks by trying surf fishing. We have talked about this topic and since the weather is beautiful and the fish are biting what better way to enjoy your vacation.

Fishing on the surf is one of the most relaxing and least expensive activities you can do at the beach and it can be fun for the entire family. All you need is a simple saltwater rod, reel and several items to enjoy this hobby.

The first thing you want to do is research the regulations. Make sure you know the limits of any species you catch. Also, you may need a license to fish on our beaches. Licenses and rules can be obtained at any local tackle shop. Tackle shops are the new (and experienced) angler’s best friend.

Next is selecting the spot on the beach. I always check with other local anglers or tackle shops for this information. They can usually point you in the right direction. But basically, any spot on our beach will hold fish.

Like any sport, you will need specific gear. These items will include a good medium seven rod and reel set up, a bottom rig, package of hooks, several different size sinkers and bait. If you don’t have your own rod and reel set up, a complete package can be purchased any tackle supply shop.

The standard rod and reel from a tackle shop will already be rigged with line. You will attach the bottom rig to the line. You can either tie the rig directly to the line or tie a snap swivel to the line first and then hook the rig to this connector. A snap swivel allows for a quick change over if you need to replace the bottom rig.

Next you want to install the hooks. Number four or six size hooks work fine. I slide the loop end of the hook line over the bottom rig loop and slip the hook through the bottom rig loop. This creates a strong connection. A sinker is attached to the bottom of the rig. I carry different size sinkers and attach the lightest one that will allow me to hold the bottom.

Bait is the most important component. I use fresh shrimp or fish bites. Do not peel the shrimp; just place a small piece on each hook. Sometimes, I insert a small quarter inch piece of a fish bite over the hook after the shrimp. This keeps the shrimp on the hook and prevents smaller fish from stealing the bait before a larger fish eats it. Remember – the fresher the bait – the better the chance for success.

Most bottom fish can be found within fifteen feet of our shore line. So cast just over the waves. Let the bait sit on the bottom and wait for the bite. The bite feels like a tap tap tap. When you feel the bite, just raise your rod tip and reel in. If your line moves on the bottom, change to the next size up sinker.

It’s that simple.

So the next time you have a little free time and want to learn a new hobby – take up fishing on our coast. It’s a great place to enjoy the outdoors and our beautiful beaches.

One final tip – release all fish carefully that you are not going to keep the fish so it can be caught again

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Know Knots

When anglers talk about their fishing gear, secret locations and special techniques, they seem to ignore one of the most important parts of their system. The fishing knot. Most anglers are very complacent about knots. They typically will just tie them and forget them. Usually, they are tied once and unless they change a jig head or add line, these are good for the day, a week or longer.

But little do most anglers realize that the knot is the weakest part of their fishing gear and should be re-tied periodically.  And if they are not tied correctly, they could cost the angler not only their catch but the gear and rigging.

There are dozens of different fishing knots used by anglers. But there are only several that are actually needed.  They fall into three categories: line to line, line to tackle or gear “tight”, and line to tackle or gear “loose”.

Let’s talk about the first type: line to line. Knots that work best for tying line to lines are 1) double uni-knots, 2) simplified blood knot and 3) albright knot. These are all very easy to tie and will perform well in most circumstances. The first two are used on lines of equal diameter. While the Albright knot can be used on equal or unequal diameter lines.

The second type of knots are the line to tackle “tight”. Knots that hold the line to the tackle are single uni-knot, Palamor knot, improved clinch knot, and snelling knot. Each of these knots are suitable for securing the tackle to the end of the leader. 

The third type of knot is the line to tackle “loose”. This category contains a doppler loop knot, double surgeon’s knot and spider hitch. These knots allow anglers to create loops or a loose connection that will give the hook or lure more action.

There are many more knots to choose from such as BT and FG knots. Braid, monofilament and fluorocarbon respond a little differently to these knots. This is only a sample list of the most popular and frequently used knots so it’s important to learn which one works best. 

Don’t know some of these.  Check the “Fishing Knots” section on my website or YouTube for great “how-to” videos.

Tip: Remember knots are the weakest link in your gear set up so it is imperative that re-tie your knots at least daily. And while you are inspecting your knots, it could also be a great time to check the condition of your other components and connections.

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony