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 

The Daniels “Little” Bridge

Several weeks ago, I mentioned the various locations where an angler can catch fish by land. Today, I want to discuss one the favorite spots on the entire Outer Banks

The Melvin R. Daniels Bridge is one of the areas favorite places to fish on the Outer Banks. Better known as the “little bridge”, it was once one of the local’s best kept secret. But with its central location, easy access, amenities and abundance of action most of the year, this bridge is now known as one of the best places to catch fish.

The Daniels Bridge is located in the town of Nags Head on Rt. 64/264 Manteo Causeway just west of Whalebone Junction. The concrete structure has easily accessible to a guarded walkway on the south side of the bridge. A five foot concrete barrier on the south side provide protection from wind and traffic. The north side was closed last year due to pedestrian safety issue.

The parking lot on the west side of the bridge can accommodate dozens of vehicles.  And adjacent to the parking area, visitors will find a nice picnic area, covered pavilion and modern restroom facilities. There is also fish cleaning table and running water as an added convenience.

When fishing this bridge, most anglers will start on the west side and work their way along the entire walkway from west to east. Since the north side is closed, finding the main slough under the bridge is important. Tides flow quickly under the bridge so fishing close to the piles gives you the best chance for success.

Many species of fish can be found around this bridge. The key is watching the bait fish and other anglers. Try to mirror their actions. The sound bottom is mostly sandy with minimal structures outside the bridge footprint. Unless jigging, it is a safe bet to fish close in toward the bridge pilings. Fast moving current under this bridge is the angler’s best friend.

Most anglers use a light to medium fishing gear to either bottom fish or jig for roving schools speckled trout, puppy drum or stripers. The standard two hook bottom rig tipped with small #4 hooks with fresh shrimp or cut bait is best for bottom fishing. When jigging, anglers typically use small lead head jigs fitted with a swim bait or other artificial plastics.

The best advantage for anglers who fish on the bridge is they don’t need any special equipment. It is important to just keep it simple. A simple light rod and reel, a two bottom rig and some fresh bait should help to get the action started quickly.

Anglers who want to fish on the Daniel’s bridge need to purchase a saltwater fishing license and obtain a copy of the local fishing regulations can be obtained at a local tackle shop. It is also imperative that all anglers know the creel and bag limits for each species.

So for a great place for the beginning angler, kids of all ages, families or the experienced angler looking for that trophy fish, the Melvin R Daniels “Little Bridge” is the place to go.

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony