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

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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

Buy It Just Once

I once over heard a good friend in Florida giving advice to some novice anglers. It’s probably the best advice I could pass on to my fellow anglers here on the Outer Banks and elsewhere.

When it comes to fishing gear, “Buy it right the first time and you only buy it once”.

Great advice to follow.

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

Outer Banks Catch – Spot and Croaker Tournament

Join Outer Banks Catch – Data – Raiser Tournament

SPOT & CROAKER FISHING TOURNAMENT

NO ENTRY FEE – ALL SPECIES MUST BE CAUGHT IN NORTH CAROLINA IN OCTOBER

This event is a data-raiser to collect data to use for science focusing on spot and croaker.

All weights and lengths will be shared with the NC Division of Marine Fisheries.

It’s easy. Catch a spot or croaker, take it to a participating tackle shop or pier to confirm weight and length by signing the entry form on the back of the brochure.

Send a photo of the entry form and email it to spotcroakertournament@gmail.com. Also, have someone take a picture of angler holding their catch. The photos will be posted as received but weights and lengths will be secure until the tournament closes on October 31, 2017.

May enter for both species and as many times as wanted.

Prizes for heaviest, longest, and most fish entered.

Long list of prizes will be awarded including:

Give-a ways, Lures, Restaurant Gift Cards, Fishing trip with Guide

For more information and an entry form, please see:

https://www.outerbankscatch.com/every-mans-spot-croaker-fishing-tournament/

 

Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Striped Bass Season – 2017

The North Carolina Department of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF) announced the opening of the Striped Bass Recreational Season effective October 1, 2017 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. If you intent to use a recreational commercial gear license gill net, you must refer to M-proclamations for additional information.

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, Monday, April 30, 2018 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

Your Tackle Bag

Two of the most guarded secrets an angler keeps is their favorite fishing spot and the contents of their tackle bag. While secret fishing spots are frequently shared only to close friends, their tackle bags contents can be held stealth for years.

To guard that secret, most anglers will quickly retrieve gear from their bags away from spying eyes. It’s probably no secret to the contents of a typical tackle bag but serious anglers can be a little funny on their favorite and probably the most reliable lures and techniques.

The tackle bag, as a general rule, should only include items you will need on the current fishing trip. But lots of anglers, including this author, use the bag sometimes as a storage box for everything they possibly could ever use even if it doesn’t work on every trip. While a great place to store gear when not in use it’s especially not one to drag out on each trip.

Tackle bag contents will vary depending on the target species and fishing location.

Standard contents should at least include a collection of sinkers, hooks and terminal rigging gear.

Also several types of two hook bottom rigs, Carolina rig and several self-made or purchased bottom or pompano rigs are needed for those special occasions. Sabiki rigs are great for catching your own live bait.

Anglers should also carry a small bait knife, cutting board, finger nail clippers, and pliers, tape measure, and fish grippers. Several rags will help steady a fish to remove hooks – but remember, if holding a fish with a rag make sure it’s wet. Dry rags can wipe the protective slim off a wiggling fish quickly.

The bag should also include a variety jigging gear with a variety of lead heads, various soft swim baits, and several different got-cha plugs or top water hard baits. A bottle of attractant will help enhance the artificial to smell similar to real bait fish.

A tackle bag with not be complete without “fish-bites” or some type of artificial baits.

This list is definitely not complete and inclusive but it should give the new or occasional angler as least a start on filing that tackle bag with basic gear.

Of course, there is always time to load it so full of the angler’s special and most reliable gear, which like the author, can act more like a storage bin than a tackle bag.

One tip: Put extra gear that will not be used that day in a rubber-made crate in your vehicle. That way, the gear won’t load down you bag but if needed it’s just a quick walk back to your vehicle.

Until next time – Tightlines. Capt. Tony

The Hook Up

Fifth in a Series – The hook up when fishing from the surf can be tricky. There are several key steps that the new angler should keep in mind when fishing from the surf.

It’s all about your sense of touch. When fishing the surf, wave movement and debris can mimic a fish bite. Water movement can pull your bait along as can grass or other debris and sometimes this debris or current can simulate a bump or even a bite.

A bite is a distinct single or repeated “bump bump bump”. It could even be a slight pull and pause then pull again. The ability to distinguish between something floating by and a bump and bite can take time but it’s a lesson well learned.

If you can’t tell if it’s a bite or not, leave the line in the water for several minutes and then check your hook and bait.

Setting the hook is the next important part of the catch. And setting the hook improperly can mean the difference of catching or losing the fish. There are many different ways to set the hook. And regardless of your experience level, you need to learn which works for the fish you’re after.

There are two common types of hooks used for surf fishing: “J” hooks and “circle” hooks.

If you are using “J” hooks, you must give a firm pull on the line to pull the hook through the fish lip. Pull too soft, they may spit the hook after they strip the bait, pull too hard, you pull the hook and bait away before they can suck it in.

The best bet for new anglers is to use “circle hooks”. These hooks do all the work for you and the fish actually hooks themselves. (see picture – I am using a circle hook)

Remember, for some fish a heavy pull up on the rod sets the hook: for others, a hard pull yanks the bait from the fish’s mouth.

Next we will discuss the retrieval of a hooked up fish.

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony