Today the North Carolina
Department of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF) announced the opening of the Striped
Bass Recreational Season effective October 1, 2019 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
The season is scheduled to close at 1159 P.M. on, Thursday, April 30, 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
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
Most angler’s use the old game of hide and seek
when fishing from a shore line or bridge. Most times without even recognizing
that they are doing it.
Hide and seek is a popular kids game where they
attempt to conceal themselves from being seen or heard. The goal of the game is
to be the last player found.
Anglers frequently use the same skills of hide
and seek. An angler who stands out on a bridge or shoreline with bright
clothing, erratic movements or makes noise not natural to the area is sure to
spook an already skittish target. So being stealth is the ticket for improved
Most targeted fish have tremendous eyesight and
other senses that will warn them that danger is close. Anglers should keep this
in mind when planning their next fishing trip, selecting a location or even what
prey they plan to target.
Clothing is the first line of hide and seek.
Wearing a contrasting shirt color against either a bright or cloudy day can warn
the fish that some type of danger is present. So anglers should try to avoid
standing out from the background.
A good rule is “If the sky is a bright blue,
your shirt color should blue”. Similarly, if there is an overcast day, your
shirt color should match as close to the background as possible. In this case,
your clothing could be pale or light grey.
But what about partly sunny or clouds, colors
should be neutral or natural. The best rule to follow is use only colors that
are not bright or result in the angler to standing out.
Erratic angler movement can also influence a
targeted prey to flee. When fishing on a bank or other structure, the angler’s
movement is probably just as important as camouflage clothing. Trees or other
vertical structures do not move erratically unless there is wind or significant
Fish can sense the surrounding weather conditions
including wave action, wind and other environmental influences, so they will
know what is unnatural. Anglers should limit their movement to a minimum.
Unnatural sounds are also a component of
stealth. Noise and unusual sounds that are not typically found in a specific location,
such as loud voices, dropping gear, banging rods against railings or other such
noises put up a warning. Unusual noise, banging of gear or even some levels of
voices can be heard and possibly felt for some distance under the water.
Being stealth and using good camouflaging
techniques will give you a significant advantage. Smart anglers consider these
techniques as well as many others when trying to avoid being detected.
So next time you visit your neighborhood tackle
shop, look a little closer in the camouflage section.
You might just find the color that can help
improve your catches.
Fishing on one of the
seven Outer Banks Piers is safe and enjoyable for the entire family. Most
piers have ample parking, tackle supplies and food and beverage concessions.
They will also rent you equipment and supply you with everything you need to
There are four things I recommend you do after you arrive at the pier but before you start fishing. The four things are: “Homework”, “Observe”, “Ask” and “Try”.
“Homework” is researching the most
recent fishing activity. Your findings will include, what has been caught
recently and using what bait. Where is the best action? Do you have the proper gear
and rigging? What are the tides and other weather conditions? There are many
other considerations that both the pier staff and tackle shop professionals can
“OBSERVE” is the next thing – once
on the pier try to watch what other anglers are doing. Are they casting or
just dropping the baits. What type of equipment or gear are they using?
What type rig or bait are they using and are they successful with that method.
Spending several minutes can save much time and help avoiding that learning
“ASK” is the next thing I do. Ask
the other anglers what they are catching. What type of bait or rig works best?
Your best bet for success is to copy what the others are doing.
“TRY” is the final step. Try out the
information you received. Work the pier is some type of order. I start on
one side and typically close in. I work my way out to the deeper water. Each
time I move, I watch the other anglers. I follow the end of the pier. I
then will either switch over the other side or just move close in and begin my
journey from close in to the end of the pier.
Keys to success on the pier is
moving around to find fish. If you don’t catch something right away or after a
short period – Move. I will move many times both out and back and switching
There are many reasons you will not
be successful on a fishing pier. But none is more damaging than using “DEAD
BAIT”. What do I mean about using dead bait – its’ bait that is days old or allowed
to sit in the sun and “cook”. Air dried and stale bait will turn off the fish
quickly Keep your bait in the shade or better yet, in a cooler. Remember – Fresh
bait has a natural scent and catches more fish.
When using fresh bait, always buy
the best whether it’s shrimp, squid or blood worms.
Using the proper gear and equipment for
the various seasons can mean the difference between success and failure. Medium
to heavy gear in spring and fall and lighter gear in summer.
Sharp hooks and good rigging make
for quick hook ups. A variety of sinkers will hold the bottom during different
Angler safety is also imperative.
Dress for the conditions. Sun screen is needed year round. Bringing plenty of
fluids and snacks make for an enjoyable day.
A cooler with plenty of ice will keep any fish you plan to harvest. Also, try to practice “CPR” – that is Catch, Photo and Release!!
So keep it simple and pier fishing
will help create memories that last a lifetime.
are many places to fish on the Outer Banks but none better than the pier under
the Washington Baum Bridge. This dock is a favorite for both locals and
visitors. Most days throughout the summer and fall, you will find scores of
anglers lining the railings.
pier is located on U.S. Hwy 64 just under the western end of the bridge. The
pier along with one of the finest small boat ramps can be easily accessed at
the light past the western end of the bridge and just across from the entrance
of the Pirates Cove Marina.
use the side road that parallels with the highway to access the area and then
follow this road toward the ramp. The pier is located on the left. In addition
to the easy access, there are more than 50 parking spots, toilet facilities and
sloped ramp that help those with limited mobility to access the pier.
pier is several hundred feet long with plenty of benches and the best “fish
railings”. The entire area is family friendly and a great place to spend the
day either catching dinner or just enjoying the outdoors.
Fishing is very good here with many species seeking safety under and around the pilings. Anglers frequently catch croakers, spot, and black drum and keeper flounder, speckled trout, and occasional puppy drum. It is not unusual to catch under-slot stripers all year but the best catches of keeper Stripe Bass are in the cooler fall months.
will typically use light tackle 6-7 foot rods with either two hook bottom rigs
or a Carolina rig with cut bait, blood worms, fresh shrimp or Fish Bites. Don’t
oversize your hooks especially in summer. Squid is an effective bait for
flounder but it also seems to attract crabs.
is a deep slough just north of the pier that holds plenty of fish. But only a
strong cast can reach those holes. It’s best to focus under the pier and just a
dozen yards out.
should avoid the south side unless you are fishing the water surface. During
the bridge construction much of the rubble and left over debris was stacked on
that side. So unless using a popping cork or jigging, it’s smart to stay on the
favorite fishing spot is at the eastern most end. Anglers who cast toward the
huge bridge bumpers can catch larger species that travel along the faster
this pier has been a favorite spot to fish for both novice and seasoned anglers
for years. It’s the go-to-place when anglers need a change of pace or to get
away from the hot summer sun.
licenses are required to fish on this pier so check with your tackle shop
before you go. Also, follow the bag and creel limits. Only harvest what you can
you are looking for a place to spend the day, discover this pier for your next
outing. You won’t be disappointed.
gear checks are always a great way to keep your equipment “catch ready”!
We are now half way through the fishing season. Our gear has probably taken a real beating from the sand, salt and of course catching. So now is a good time to examine the condition of our gear.
doing a seasonal check, it’s smart to first check the rod and reels. Look at
the rod first. Check the rod, guides, tip, reel seat and butt. Check for loose
or worn guides, any cracks or corrosion. Replace any loose or defective items
rod needs a good cleaning. It’s best to use a mild detergent over the entire
rod assembly. After cleaning, spray a good anti-corrosion coating or even
standard furniture polish. Focus on the guides. Try to keep the anti-corrosion spray
off the butt and handles. Use a dry non-abrasive cloth to wipe off any excess spray.
need to check the reels. Wipe off any obvious dirt, sand or debris from the
reel. Make sure the bail operation is smooth. Disassemble spool, spindle and
handle from the body. Check the surface of each. Use small bulb air blower or a
Q-tip with a little oil to wipe away any sand or corrosion.
drag washer. As a general rule, the drag knob should always be loose during
storage. Many anglers will tighten the drag knob to help secure the line and
rigging on the fishing rod. This can cause the drag washer to compress and be damaged.
is clean, apply a little reel grease to the inside components. This keeps the
gear lubricated and moisture and dirt out.
inspecting the gears and all of the other components are clean, re-assemble
everything the same way you took it apart. Make sure you install the washers
and “O” rings. If you find either of these damaged, this is the time to replace
reel is re-assembled, apply a good coat of reel oil. This will keep corrosion
and dirt from sticking to the surfaces. Never leave wet oil on the surface.
Just apply and wipe off. Make sure you get the oil into the smallest openings.
find any part of your gear that is defective or worn, this is the time to
repair or replace. The fall fishing season can be typically more brutal on the
gear with many larger fish moving into the surf zones.
parts are usually available from the manufacturers for the DIYer’s. Also the
schematic documentation that came with the reel may assist with cleaning and
about doing the gear and equipment maintenance yourself? Many tackle shops and
reel repair companies have professional staffs to assist.
is cheap insurance. There should be no excuse for losing that trophy fish due
to faulty gear or poor maintenance, It’s simple to do on our own or readily
available by professionals in your region.
Over the past several
weeks, visitors and anglers have experienced a significant decrease in the
ocean’s water temperature. This is not new but can be expected during the typical
summer months when most beachgoers are in the water.
This phenomenon is known as up welling. It is typically caused by circular wind motion due to a front from the south west that blows winds along the beach. The steady wind blows the warm summer water out at a diagonal direction which ultimately takes the warm water out to sea. With the warm water now gone, the cold water from the bottom replaces it quickly – thus the sudden decrease in water temperatures from one place on the beach to another. Tides can also aid in replacing the warm water with the cold water. (Double click on picture for water movement).
If you find yourself
in an upwelling situation, either wait it out or move down the beach until you
find a warmer spot. Unfortunately, if the wind continues to blow, cold water is
here to stay. You may either suffer with the cold water, stay on the beach or
find a nice pool.
There are fish to be
caught so just because you can’t swim doesn’t mean that you can’t fish. Fresh
bait, keeping the gear light is the ticket to a great time.
And don’t worry, this
situation typically doesn’t last very long, so it might be a great time to
visit one of our local tackle shops.
And want something to
do during this cold water stretch? The Outer Banks has a new tackle shop.
Oceans East Tackle is located in the old Whalebone Tackle building on the Nags
Head Manteo Causeway. They had done a fantastic job of bringing a new look to
our area. If you haven’t stopped by yet, it is a must.
baits continue to revolutionize catching fish but none as innovative as Fish
Bites. Fresh and live baits are still the best way to catch fish but anglers
are finding many advantages of using this new synthetic bait either alone or in
conjunction with other baits.
are a synthetic bait that uses a new technology to help the angler catch more fish.
Fish Bite bait consists of a mesh “skelton” surrounded by a hardened but still
flexible gel that has a flesh-like texture. It has been infused with a powerful
flavor/scent technology that helps attract fish to the bait. Once in the water,
the Fish Bite bait begins to slowly dissolve releasing this powerful scent that
can drive most species to feed aggressively.
Bites are found either pre-cut or in long strips. Pre-cut pieces work as
packaged but some anglers will modify them to fit a particular application.
Bites are manufactured in either standard or longer lasting. Each has their own
standard type will disperse a powerful scent quickly once it comes in contact
with water. The purpose of this type is to quickly put lots of scent in the
water all at once. This rapid release
will attract fish in the surrounding area. Although extremely effective, the
standard type dissolves quickly and needs to be replaced soon.
second type is longer lasting. The longer lasting type also releases the scent
in the water but at a slower pace. One advantage of the longer lasting is that
it will hold on the hook longer.
fish bites contain such a powerful attractant, many anglers use them to dress
other lures such as fresh bait or other artificial soft plastics. They will
either attach a small piece or an entire strip to enhance the scent and action
of their jig head or other lure.
advantage of using Fish Bites is that they come in convenient packages and doesn’t
natural and live baits are still the “go-to” baits for most anglers. They catch
fish but if you are adventurous, the fish Bite artificial bait is a great
addition to your arsenal.
anglers are reluctant to try something new but this is one bait that must be in
their tackle bag. So next time you
question the price and benefit of fresh and natural baits, try Fish Bites. You
won’t be disappointed.