Fishing Gear Maintenance

Maintaining your fishing gear on a regular basis ensures that it will be ready to fish when you are. Salt water and corrosion are the biggest enemies and without proper care will result in a shorter life span. So it’s important to take the time to do regular maintenance on all your fishing gear.

An annual checkup of your gear is time well spent. During this check, all parts of your fishing gear and equipment should be cleaned thoroughly, inspected and any defective or worn items replaced.

Most rods and reels are built strong but if one or more components are neglected or damaged, your catch can be compromised and possibly lost. We are already aware that these units should have off season maintenance but what about the other equipment and assorted gear?

Many types of lures and hard bait hooks may not survive more than a year so close focus on these items is imperative. Rusty rings, tangled lines or damaged components can result in potential loss of the catch. Sometimes it’s cheaper of replace the entire lure unless it’s your ‘go-to” catching machine. Then it’s easy to replace the hooks and rings.

Tackle boxes and bags get habitually get cluttered over the season with many of those “have to have” gadgets and “favor of the month” lure.

Your best option is empty the bag, sort through what’s salvageable and toss the rest.

Sinkers, lose terminal tackle, swivels, extra leader materials should be placed in separate containers for easy access next season.  Pliers, scissors, line cutters, fish grabbers should be cleaned or at least organized in its proper place. Remove all batteries on any electronic gear such as bait bubblers, night lights and bug zappers.

Knives should be cleaned, sharpened, oiled and placed in a sheaths for protection.

Large items such as coolers, cast nets, pier carts, cutting boards, rod holders and other large pieces need a good flushing, wiped off and stored properly.

Finally, all metal surfaces should be coated with a rods, reels or other gear with an anti-corrosion protectant.

Remember, the off season is the best time to find and replace a worn or defective gear or equipment.

Because most anglers have their own special fishing collections, I am sure we missed something but that what the off season is for. Finding those issues before they cost you that trophy species next year.

Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

NCDMF Needs Your Help

Release: Immediate

Contact: Patricia Smith

Date: Dec. 21, 2018

Phone: 252-726-7021

North Carolina Department of Marine Fisheries ask public to report cold stunned trout.

 

MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries wants to remind the public to report any cold stunned spotted seatrout they may see in North Carolina coastal waters.

During the winter, spotted seatrout move to deeper, warmer waters in coastal waters and the ocean. Cold stun events occur when there is a sudden drop in water temperature or during prolonged periods of cold weather, making fish so sluggish that humans can harvest them with their hands.

Many fish that are stunned die from the cold or fall prey to birds and other predators. Studies suggest that cold stun events can have a significant impact on spotted seatrout populations.

No cold stun events have been reported so far this winter, but if there are concerning weather conditions in the upcoming weeks as previously described then a cold stun event could occur in coastal creeks and bays.

Anyone seeing a trout cold stun event should report it to the N.C. Marine Patrol at 800-682-2632 or to division spotted seatrout biologist Tracey Bauer at 252-808-8159 or Tracey.Bauer@ncdenr.gov

Under the N.C. Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan, if a significant cold stun event occurs, the Division of Marine Fisheries will close all spotted seatrout harvest until the summer.

A significant cold stun is determined by size and scope of the cold stun event and an evaluation of water temperatures in areas where cold stuns have been reported. Monitors that continuously log water temperature are deployed statewide in the coastal rivers and creeks prone to cold stuns.

Closing harvest allows fish that survive the cold stun event the chance to spawn in the spring before harvest re-opens. Peak spawning occurs in May.

Under N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission rules, the spotted seatrout season automatically closes in inland waters when it closes in adjacent coastal waters.

Click here to learn more about cold stun events and how they impact spotted seatrout fisheries management in North Carolina.

nr-102-2018 

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

Try Something New

Live bait always trumps fresh (dead) or artificial baits.  One technique that has been used frequently in other areas where fresh live bait is not available is the Hook, Line and Threader system.

The Hook, Line and Threader system is a technique where anglers actually use a live fish or a variety of crustacean species with a hook already embedded in them to catch fish.

This technique involves placing a hook into a live species body without harming it. And has been used by many anglers around the country with mixed success.

The system uses a stainless steel threader or needle, notched on one end,  inserted in the mouth of the live bait fish and pushed completely through the organ cavity and out through the anal opening. Then a leader, looped of one end and attached to either with a double or treble hook, is then connected to the notched end of the needle and is slowly and very carefully pulled back out of the mouth of the fish. In essence, using the organ cavity as a path from anal opening to the species mouth.

Once loop end of leader is through the fish’s mouth, it is attached it to the main line on the fishing rod.

The threaded bait could then be fished by free lining in the current or with a split shot weight allowing it to sink.

If done carefully, the placing of the looped leader and hook assembly does little to no harm to the fish. And most of the time, the fish or crustacean will survive in the water for quite a while.

The Hook, Line and Threader can be used on almost any species of bait fish and many different crustaceans. Insertion technique will vary so the angler should be creative.

Does it work in your region? That’s anybody’s guess. Could be one of many gadgets anglers purchase each year that hook more anglers then fish or could be that magic technique which can produce more action and results.

These devices are typically found in both brick and mortar stores and on the internet. Give it a try and let me know how you do. For more information go to: http://www.hooklineandthreader.com/

 

Until Next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Know and Use Structure

What is structure and why is it important when fishing?

An angler can significantly improve the potential for a successful during an outing is with their ability 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 under water or protruding vertically. Many structures are created by nature or placed there 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 or jetties that extend above the surface. Horizontal structures are submerged and may include depressions, holes, drop-offs, ledges, rocks 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. It must be 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 repeat.

Proficient anglers have the ability to use various retrieval or twitching actions that cause either anger, fear or even a keen interest that increase the bite.  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. 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 and structure 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

Back to the Beginning

Why did I start the “Walkingangler” website? This website was started ten years ago in July 2008 to provide a local resource for Outer Banks boat-less anglers who like to fish on the surf, sounds, jetties, piers and local bridges.

The site was designed as a self-help guide. There are lists and drop down menus throughout the site indicating some of the best places to fish, what gear works best and many subtle techniques to help give the angler a little better advantage.

The idea for this website originated several years ago while I was browsing the fishing section at a local big box store. Walking down the aisle, I overheard an aggressive and unfortunately very inexperienced salesperson attempting to sell this new vacation/visitor hundreds of dollars of gear that would never work in our area.

I could sense that this first-time visitor was tired from their travels and wanted to just look around this department and move on. As any excited vacationer, they just wanted to try some surf fishing and maybe catch some crabs.

What this visitor left the store with was hundreds of dollars of worthless gear that they would never be able to use in this region. And if they did find a way to use it, the frustration of failure would have turned them off to fishing our area for many years.

I felt helpless and then a little frustrated. That’s when I found myself committed to do something.

This commitment lead me to begin searching for any local Outer Banks fishing resources. I found many local websites which included minimal support but none that contained the basic information a new angler needed. What the Outer Banks needed was a one-step local resource that contained specific species information, locations to fish, tried and proven techniques and hints and special tips that are easy to follow and understand.

What resulted was this website where visitors and experienced anglers can find basic fishing information. And then use this information data base to help either the novice or experienced find new locations or proven techniques or just hone their skills to improve their catch success.

This website is the one-stop shop resource for boat-less fishing on the Outer Banks.

The success of this website can only be measured by the success of its users. My intent is to help visitors and locals alike to begin their journey.

Like many resources, the only constant is change. And so it is with this website, it always under change and updating. Ten years and counting and hopefully many more.

Thank for visiting using my website. Check back frequently for new and revised local fishing information. If there is something missing, email me and I will try to add it.

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Free Fishing Day in North Carolina

Wildlife Commission Announces July 4 as Free Fishing Day

RALEIGH, N.C. (June 20, 2018) — On July 4, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission invites anglers and would-be anglers of all ages to go fishing — for free. From 12 a.m. until 11:59 p.m., everyone in North Carolina — resident and non-residents alike — can fish in any public body of water, including coastal waters, without purchasing a fishing license or additional trout fishing privilege. 

Although no fishing license is required, all other fishing regulations apply, such as length and daily possession limits, as well as bait and tackle restrictions.

To give anglers a better chance of catching fish, the Commission stocks a variety of fish in waters across the state — including trout and channel catfish. The agency also provides access to fishing sites across the state, including public fishing areas and boating access areas. The interactive fishing and boatingmaps on the Commission’s website list more than 500 fishing and boating areas, many of which are free, that are open to the public.

Started in 1994, free fishing day is an annual tradition, sponsored by the Commission and authorized by the N.C. General Assembly. It always falls on July 4.

On all other days of the year, a fishing license is not required for anglers 15 years and younger, but anyone age 16 and older must have a fishing license to fish in any public water in North Carolina, including coastal waters.

Purchasing a license online is quick and easy. Other ways to purchase a license are:

  • Call the Commission at 1-888-248-6834. Hours of operation are 8 a.m.-5 p.m.;
  • Visit a local Wildlife Service Agent.

For more information on fishing in public, inland waters, visit their Fishing page.

There is no better opportunity to introduce a “Kid to Fishing” and maybe yourself. Enjoy this free day compliments of the North Carolina Wildlife Commission.

 

Until Next Time – Tightlines. Capt. Tony

Which Bait is Best

Which Fish bait is the best to use when fishing in saltwater? This question is probably the second most asked question after where should I fish today. So what’s the answer? It depends.

Just like the number of species, there are dozens of types of bait to use.

Each type of bait attracts certain species. Some baits are good for all species but then there particular baits that work on just certain species.

Today we are only going to discuss three basic types of baits: Live bait, fresh or natural bait and artificial or synthetic baits. Each type of bait has its place in your arsenal. 

Live baits – these baits are the most productive. A saltwater species is likely to choose a live bait over any other. Examples of live baits are shrimp, sand fleas, small bait fish, clams, and many types of worms. Most fish species will chase and consume another species regardless whether it’s their own species or different one. A living bait creates vibration, special sound and a scent that attracts the predator. This feeding could be as a result of aggressiveness, protection, or simple self-sustaining. Live baits are typically the most productive and should be the preferred bait of choice.

Natural or fresh baits also work very well. Examples of these baits are bagged shrimp, squid, and cut mullet or other species. Some natural baits will be found frozen in individual packages. These baits work well because they appear an easy food source. Occasionally, presentation can increase the attractiveness of the baits. The one exception is when the baits are frozen. Once frozen, the baits have a tendency to lose much of its scent.

Artificial baits will also catch fish. These baits include synthetic materials such as “Fish Bites”, soft plastic worms or imitation or fake fish-like lures.  These baits and lures are also very productive in most settings. The advantage of artificial baits is their longevity and staying power. When using artificial soft plastics, always select the pre-scented types.

Most saltwater species have sharp teeth or a mechanism to separate the baits from the hooks, and using a tough soft plastic or synthetic material sometimes makes it difficult for the fish to steal it before being hooked.

So we go back to the question of “which bait works best”? Well, all of them under different conditions. And as the angler, your ability to find the correct bait when targeting a certain species can increase your success rate.

A good rule to follow is to always check with the local tackle shop professionals before heading out. They can help determine which will provide you with the best opportunity for success.

Also, don’t be afraid to change to a fresher piece of bait frequently or even a different bait all together.

Final tip – there is an old saying for maximum success, always try to use a bait that will “Match the Hatch”.

We left hard baits for another article – so check back for this at a later date.

Until next time – Tightlines Capt. Tony

Spotted Seatrout Season

SPOTTED SEATROUT – RECREATIONAL- SEASON OPEN

 

This proclamation supersedes proclamation FF-1-2018, dated January 3, 2018. This proclamation opens the recreational spotted seatrout fishery as outlined in the N.C. Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan Supplement A, following a closure implemented due to a cold stun event in January 2018.

 

Stephen W. Murphey, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries, hereby announces that effective at 12:01 A.M., Friday, June 15, 2018, the following restrictions will apply to the spotted seatrout recreational fishery:

      I.    MINIMUM SIZE LIMIT

      It is unlawful to possess spotted seatrout (speckled trout) less than 14 inches total length.

    II.    RECREATIONAL BAG LIMIT

It is unlawful to possess more than four (4) spotted seatrout (speckled trout) per person per day taken by hook and line or for recreational purposes.

   III.    GENERAL INFORMATION

A.    This proclamation is issued under the authority of North Carolina G.S. 113-170.4; 113-170.5; 113-182; 113-221.1; 143B-289.52 and North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission Rules 15A NCAC 03H .0103, 03M .0522.

B.    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.

C.   All undersized or over the daily harvest limit spotted seatrout shall be immediately returned to the waters where taken, regardless of the condition of the fish.

D.   The intent of this proclamation is to manage the Spotted Seatrout fishery in accordance with the Supplement A to the N.C. Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan.

E.    Contact the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, NC 28557 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632 for more information or visit the division website at http://www.ncmarinefisheries.net.

F.    In accordance with N.C.G.S. 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.

G.   This proclamation supersedes proclamation FF-1-2018, dated January 3, 2018. This proclamation opens the recreational spotted seatrout fishery as outlined in the N.C. Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan Supplement A, following a closure implemented due to a cold stun event in January 2018.

Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Investment in Time

Joining a fishing club can be the best way for a new angler to learn about a local fishery. Many regions have similar types of species in their waters but most times it comes down to the techniques, different methods and possibly the gear that separates them. But basically joining a club is about making friends and catching fish.

Typically, anglers will walk into a store, pick up a standard rod and reel set up, package of bait and hit the surf. There is a good chance they will catch something and possibly enough for a meal. But once they get past that stage or the initial phase, they may ask themselves, now what?

Well, that’s where a fishing club comes into play. A fishing club can take that new or even experienced angler to the next level. As with anything else, there are certain techniques that if utilized properly will make the activity more successful and even a lot of fun. And this works the same way with fishing.

The membership with a fishing club will give those anglers that competitive edge. And with the access to knowledgeable members and the support and camaraderie found there, the angler will find it to be a win-win proposition.

Membership is not just one sided affair. This commitment in a fishing club takes work. Each member is required to participate in a number of club activities.

There are monthly meetings, assorted duty assignments, picnics, awards dinners and of course tournaments. These all take volunteers to make it happen.  But the rewards are worth the effort.

Most fishing clubs meet monthly for approximately two hours. Typically, there several parts of each meeting: Club business, speaker, committee reports and open forum.

Fishing clubs are the best opportunity for an angler to expand their skill level. It can open many doors typically not usually available to the casual angler.

If you looking for something new and exciting, joining a local fishing club is time worth spent and is definitely worth your effort.

The Outer Banks Anglers Club is seeking new members. If you are looking for new friendships and a place learn new techniques, then check them out.

Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

A Keys Destination

Many anglers seek warm weather angling destinations when they find themselves struggling to find fish during these colder seasons. And fishing the Florida Keys maybe the answer to that interruption for many of these anglers. That hundred mile string of islands has always been a huge draw because of the mild winter climates and abundance of species.

Regardless whether its structure, shallow water, or reef fishing, the experiences in the Florida Keys is one for the memory books. Structure fishing has become very popular in the keys even for the typical novice angler. And with over forty bridges and well over hundred miles of shorelines, there is no shortage of places for either the casual or passionate angler to try their luck or secure an enough for a meal.

The standard skill sets used elsewhere for successful fishing should continue to apply here regardless of type of fishing. These will always include: know when to fish, where to fish, how to fish, what to use, how fish respond under certain conditions. But the most important and an angler’s best friend is know the tides and structure.

Gear and equipment are also crucial to a successful outing. Most local “keys” species are toothy and are considered predator. Any gear weakness will be exposed. Use only the top of the line gear – this is not the place for the angler to skimp.

Fishing a Florida Keys bridge is a unique experience. Conditions can change frequently under these structures. It can take weeks or longer to master these channels and the water flows. Trial and error, exchanging ideas with other anglers on the bridges and tackle shops, and even sacrificing a few rigs jig just to locate a couple of bottom snags is worth the cost most anglers pay for this indoctrination.

But many times, it’s that five pound sheepshead or mangrove snapper or even that eighteen Spanish mackerel that make spending the afternoon experimenting and learning all worthwhile.

Look in future entries on various gear and equipment techniques that have made my many bridge fishing trips successful.

Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony