Call them New Year Plans

The January cold is beginning to set in and most anglers are wishing for warm weather or at least a chance to cast a line. January is also a great time to make those plans for the New Year. In the past, we used to call them “resolutions”. But I like you, they lasted only a few weeks. Now, if we call them a “plan” there is a possibility that they may work most of the year.

First resolution should be to learn more. There are many seminars available for both the new and seasoned angler. If you can’t find one close to home, there is always one within a nice drive. Check the internet for these.  If all else fails, dozens of professional anglers post instructional how-to videos online on both their web pages and on the internet for free – no excuse for not learning something new.

Next, log it. I created a log in which I log each trip I take regardless if I catch something or not. I not only log the day, time and place but also document every weather condition, gear, technique, the environment in the area. I use every sense – I listen for particular sounds, look for something different, feel the wind or vibration or something effecting your gear or bait as it glides through the water. Do not discount your ability to recognize your surroundings. Want a copy, email me.

Organize your gear – there is no better time than the winter season to organize your gear. The tackle shops are loading up with new products from manufactures daily. Empty your bags and start over. Only carry what you need for the day. Replace old and rusty and corroded gear and equipment.

Take a kid fishing. Most seasoned anglers started somewhere. I started fishing with my dad when I was probably five. These days, we are losing young children to other interests other than outdoor activities. There is an old saying, “give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach him to fish and feed him for a lifetime,” I believe if we teach our kids to fish at a young age, they will develop that passion that will last a lifetime. Take that kid, he or she will thank you one day.

One Final Note – And I can’t stress this enough – we need to support our local tackle shops. The online suppliers can sell us the same tackle and gear that we buy from a local guys a lot cheaper but the online guys can’t supply us with the advice we need to go with it. If we continue to buy on line at a discount and only go to the tackle shop for advice, the tackle shops will disappear. Only you can make that choice.

Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Spotted Seatrout Cold Stun

PROCLAMATION RE: SPOTTED SEATROUT – COMMERCIAL AND RECREATIONAL FISHERY CLOSURE – COLD STUN EVENTS

This proclamation supersedes proclamations FF-18-2017 and FF-19-2017, dated May 5, 2017. It closes the commercial and recreational spotted seatrout fishery due to cold stun events, in accordance with the management strategy outlined in the N.C. Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan. The spotted seatrout fishery will open June 15, 2018 by proclamation.

Stephen W. Murphey, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries, hereby announces that effective 3:00 P.M. Friday, January 5, 2018, the following will apply to spotted seatrout:

  1. HARVEST RESTRICTIONS

It is unlawful to possess, transport, buy, sell or offer for sale spotted seatrout taken from coastal and joint fishing waters of North Carolina except dealers will have until Friday, January 12, 2018 to dispose of unfrozen spotted seatrout in their possession taken prior to the closure.

  1. GENERAL INFORMATION
  2. This proclamation is issued under the authority of N.C.G. S. 113-170.4; 113-170.5; 113-182; 113-221.1; 143B-289.52 and N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rules 15A NCAC 03H .0103, 03M .0512 and 03M .0522.
  3. It is unlawful to violate the provisions of any proclamation issued by the Fisheries Director under his delegated authority pursuant to N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03H .0103.
  4. This action was taken to control fishing effort following a severe cold stun event under the approved management strategy in the N.C. Spotted Sea D. It is the intent of the Fisheries Director to open the spotted seatrout season for commercial and recreational fishing by proclamation on June 15, 2018 after surviving fish have had the opportunity to spawn.
  5. In accordance with N.C. General Statute 113-221.1(c) all persons who may be affected by proclamations issued by the Fisheries Director are under a duty to keep themselves informed of current proclamations.
  6. Contact the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, NC 28557, phone 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632 for more information or visit the division website at

http://www.ncmarinefisheries.net.

  1. This proclamation supersedes proclamations FF-18-2017 and FF-19-2017, dated May 5, 2017.

It closes the commercial and recreational spotted seatrout fishery due to cold stun events, in accordance with the management strategy outlined in the N.C. Spotted Seatrout Fishery

Management Plan. The spotted seatrout fishery will open June 15, 2018 by proclamation.

By: Stephen W. Murphey, Director

DIVISION OF MARINE FISHERIES trout Fishery Management Plan.

Capt. Tony

Make Some Time Now

When the cold temperatures first set in, most anglers will find themselves thinking its fishing or something else. But really what that means for them, is that once fishing is finished for “their” season, then they have to find something else to occupy themselves.

Well, for passionate anglers there are plenty of duties and chores to do way before they put their gear away for the next season.

The first chore is to remove all the old fishing line from each reel. We hear it all the time. They only caught small fish with that rod, or they only used this rod several times the entire year, or even better yet, this rod was the back up and it never left their truck or even garage. All good excuses but all the same results. Still, all lines were exposed to something whether usage, dirt, environment or other conditions. Any of which can and will affect performance.

In addition, most fishing line companies recommend replacing your line several times per year but at a minimum annually. The elements including salt, sun and impact or stress regardless how strong weakens your line. And at the price of new line verses failure, that compromise is not worth paying.

Next, inspect your rod. Look closely at you guides. If you treated your guides with a cleaner lubricant after each use throughout the year, they should be in good shape. But if you find corrosion or a defect, it needs to be addressed at this time.

While the line is off the reels, is a good time to check the condition of your reels. I usually partially dis-assemble the reels, clean all the parts, and lubricate all the moving parts.

If I find something that is binding or just doesn’t feel or sound right, I schedule an appointment with a local reel repair technician.

The worst time to find out that your gear is now up to the job is when reeling in your first fish of the season.

This is the first of many chores we will need to do before next fishing season. So there is no time like the present to start preparing for next year.

Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

End of our Season

Outer Banks Fishing Piers have closed for the season. Or at least for most of them.

Fishing on an Outer Banks pier over the past eight months has provided much excitement, a learning experience for many and in some cases recorded some trophy catches.

Although, it’s been a great year, the weather hasn’t always been kind to our fishery. Occasional storms and hurricanes chased many anglers off the surf and piers. But on the same note, these fronts always relented quickly only to an improved catch days later.

Usually Thanksgiving weekend signals the un-official closure of some of my favorite places to fish.

But all is not lost though with two local piers, Avalon and Jennette’s, will remain open throughout the entire winter season.

The Avalon pier will be staffed daily from 0600 and will close sometime late afternoons. Their hours could change if conditions warrant so if you want to fish there, you should call ahead.

Jennette’s pier will remain open throughout the winter season with fixed hours. Their hours of operation will be 0900 – 1700 daily. Again, anglers should always call ahead to check conditions.

The remaining piers, Nags Head, Outer Banks, Rodanthe, and Avon closed around the thanksgiving weekend. There may be pier staff in the tackle shops but access has suspended until Spring.

All is not lost, the Outer Banks surf should still hold fish throughout the entire winter. Special gear will be needed but those dedicated enough to brave the elements can be rewarded.

The best bet for our winter anglers is to head south on the Hatteras or Ocracoke island beaches. There they might find slightly warmer water temperatures and several species of fish should still be around most of the winter season.

So if the warmth of bright sunshine, sounds of crashing waves, and a brisk cool breeze against your face doesn’t chase you away, there are miles of surf to fish on or a railing on one our open piers waiting for you to hoist a fish over.

As we charge into the off seasons, there is much to do and learn for the coming season.  Stay tuned!!

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

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

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