Let’s Try Fishing – Simple Rules

The next topic in the “Let’s Try Fishing” series is rules and regulations. Most anglers who fish in North Carolina waters will need a fishing license and follow a number of regulations. The North Carolina Department of Marine Fisheries ( http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/home ) and the NC Wildlife Resource Commission are responsible for the administration of both saltwater and freshwater fisheries in our region.  All anglers who fish in these waters need to comply with the requirements under these two agencies as well as many local town ordinances.

First is the fishing license. North Carolina requires a fishing license in both salt and freshwater. The saltwater license will cover you if you plan to fish on the ocean surf, along the sound side shoreline or on one of our many west side bridges or docks. Freshwater license allows you to fish in creeks, ponds, roadside ditches and many inland lakes. 

It is important to know exactly where you plan to fish because certain areas overlap and for example, you might need a saltwater license on one side of the bridge and a freshwater one on the other.

Fishing licenses can be purchased for a set period of a 10 day pass, annual license  or lifetime license. Most visitors find it best just to pick up a 10 day license. 

Fishing on an ocean pier is a little easier. All of the ocean piers carry a blanket license so everyone who fishes there is covered by their license. But to access the piers, there is an entry pass requirement. And like fishing licenses, anglers can purchase either a daily, weekly, multi-week, or annual pass. Just visit any pier and the staff can take care of you.

Next, in addition to your license, you need to obtain a copy of Marine Fisheries rules. These rules indicate what species can be harvested at each time of year. They include creel limits (sizes or length) and bag limits (how many) on each species you plan to harvest.

Finally, you may need a permit to drive off road on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore surf and sound areas and then seasonally on the surf north of Corolla (summer) and Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head (fall and winter). Again, our local tackle shops are prepared to assist you with these permits.

Keep in mind that even though all of this information on licenses and regulations can be obtained at all tackle shops, the most current rules should be obtained online at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/home website.

So the first phase is complete. Now it’s time to get rigged up. The next topic in this series is your rod and reel. 

Until next time – tightlines – Capt. Tony

Let’s Try Fishing – The Beginning

Let’s Try Fishing is a series of simple steps created by the “Walkingangler” for the beginning angler to help them learn to fish from a land structure on the Outer Banks. Although, these steps are designed to help the new angler, many experienced anglers may benefit from them.

Similar to the migration of our seasonal marine species, thousands of visitors are arriving each week for their summer vacation. Most visitors are here for fun and relaxation but others are looking for their next adventure. And for many, fishing has been on their bucket list for quite some time but never actually took the time to explore it.

Could this vacation be the time to try something new? Why not try “Let’s Try Fishing” on this vacation? What a great way to learn something new, enjoy the outdoors and make memories.

Starting out in any hobby including fishing can be frustrating if you make it too complicated.

What you don’t want to do is get your hobby off to the wrong start like buying the wrong gear or using the wrong bait or even violating a fishing rule. So hopefully, this series will help.

Unfortunately, some new anglers begin their hobby by going to a retail stores to “just get set up”. These stores will occasionally sell you less quality gear by inexperienced personnel. It’s probably best to steer clear of these big box stores to help avoid that big disappointment on your first trip.

Another problem new angler’s face is believing “what worked up north may work here too”. This may apply is some settings but as a rule, leave your old gear at home. And it’s’ best to do as the local experienced anglers do, “fish for the fish that are here, using gear that local anglers use to catch them”.

So as we weave our way through “Let’s Try Fishing” remember, just keep it simple. Learn the proper techniques and various methods from the start and then grow into a very good angler using proper techniques and good equipment. And then over time and with little patience, you will become more confident and with confidence will come success.

Over the next several weeks, we will be talking about how the new angler can learn to fish the land structures on the Outer Banks. We will be discussing many common sense steps ultimately helping you to become a successful saltwater angler.

Check back soon for the next step – Simple Rules.

Until next time – Tightlines. Capt. Tony 

Always a Tough Choice

Fishing the surf or ocean pier on the Outer Banks can afford the opportunity of the vacationing family to catch fish and enjoy the beautiful Outer Banks together.

Family vacation schedules are typically pre-planned months before they unpack their car after arriving at their cottage. And typically any modification to the tight schedule can throw off the week’s plans.

But finding time to cast a line either in the ocean or off a local pier can easily fit in any busy vacationer’s schedule.

But now the biggest question, how do we choose between fishing the surf or on an ocean or sound side pier. The answer depends on what the angler is looking for.

First, surf fishing can get the new angler up and catching fish quickly and is great for the whole family.  Just walk out on any beach, cast a line and wait for that bite. But there are also some important rules that need to be considered when fishing on the surf. The angler needs to start by purchasing a fishing license and having a good understanding of the various regulations that apply to this type of fishing. A local tackle shop can help with both of these items.

The next item is fishing gear. A simple rod and reel setup and fresh bait are basically the only things you need to get started. Of course, there are many items you can add to that list that will help you make your day successful, and really the sky is the limit.

Many surf anglers regardless of their experience, enjoy the solitude and nature at its finest. Then add a nice catch for dinner, completes their day.      

Fishing on an ocean pier is another great way to catch fish. Piers are safe and a fun place for the entire family.

A fishing pier gives the angler the opportunity to fish both close to shore and then hundreds of feet out along the pier into the ocean. The various depths of water combined with pilings add structure and safety for a variety of fish that make this location home.

All of our ocean piers carry a blanket fishing license which means you do not have to purchase a license to fish there.

Fishing piers have many advantages over surf fishing. On site tackle shops and professional staff can provide advice and specific techniques. Rod and reel sets with proper rigging can rented. They have variety of baits and can advise the angler on what’s biting and which bait to use. And all piers have a place where you can pick up a quick drink or snack.

On the piers, you will also find other anglers willing to provide advice, answer questions or lend a hand retrieving or releasing your catch.

The choice on which type of fishing to do is really up to the angler. Either type of fishing can make any family’s vacation week complete.

So regardless of whether you choose to wet a line on the surf or drop a line off one of our local ocean piers, the memories you make will last a lifetime.

Until next time – Tightlines,

Capt. Tony