Monday, March 10, 2008

We Moved

We moved to, come visit us there for regular Topsail Island fishing reports, a fishing wiki, forums and more!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tackle UP & get ready to fish!

Even though it has been a relatively mild winter in eastern NC, fishing activity for most folks slows down the first few months of the year. When I’m not spending my free time in the winter fishing, I use the time to get ready for the next fishing season.

If I can’t fish, at least I can get ready to catch a few once the fish begin to bite. A little time spent now preparing for the season will help me get off to a great start this spring and fish right on through the fall with fewer missed opportunities.

Like many anglers, I enjoy making my own rigs and this time of year is a good time to stock up on them. I make my own flounder, grouper, and king mackerel rigs. It saves a little money but the “reel” pleasure is a certain satisfaction I get when catching fish on something I handcrafted. It also keeps me connected to fishing activities when cold or stormy weather forces me indoors. The materials are simple and are available at most well equipped tackle shops.

Maintenance of my gear is very important too. I check my lures to make sure they are still serviceable. Looking for cracks or deep dings in the lure body or connecting materials and then replacing or repairing those lures as needed. That will prevent them from breaking when fighting that next smoker fish.

Some of them may need to have the hooks changed if corrosion or rust has appeared. Even if the hook looks fine, it probably could benefit from sharpening. I’ll have a better chance at catching fish with very sharp hooks.

Also it’s important to check leaders made from monofilament or fluorocarbon material to make sure there are no nicks or cuts and that the knots are still tight. I always replace the line if questionable rather than chance losing a prized catch. I also replace any wire leaders that are bent, crimped or with loose crimps.

Now is also a good time to get organized well. Cleaning out my tackle boxes and tackle bags will help free up some space and make it easier to find items. It also shows me where I need to restock. Now I’m getting closer to being prepared for the busiest fishing times.

It is also the time to clean and lube those reels. I check the guides on my rods to make sure the wraps haven’t begun to fray. Also checking for nicks on the inside of the guides, these can cause the fishing line to break and let the BIG one get away. I replace my monofilament line each fishing season. Even if it looks okay to the eye if it’s been in the water last season, it is in a weaken condition. Monofilament fishing line once wet will absorb some of the water then dry out causing the line to lose strength over a period of time. Catching fish also stretches the line and weakens it.

I also go through all my other gear like gaffs, landing nets, cast nets, etc to make sure they are in good shape and ready for another season.

Alright, time to make a trip or two to the tackle shop an now I’m ready for another season of fishing!

Tight lines to all!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Wintery Day at Sea

Last night as I prepared to go fishing today my wife asks "have you seen the forecast for tomorrow". I answer yes, to which she says "you must be crazy".

Cabin fever will do that to a man, make him crazy I mean. I've been cooped up indoors too long with the bad weather. Dave B. agreed to join me for the day. He too is hard core about fishing and needed to get out and smell the salt!

We left this morning with temperature hovering at 36 and the skies threatening rain. The wind was fairly light but the weatherman promised that would change as the sun rose further in the sky and it did.

We anchored up about 8 miles off shore and started catching fish right away. First just some small Black Sea Bass, then some bigger ones. Pretty soon we were stacking up 15 inch plus black bass in the cooler.

Then I had a tug on my line that I knew was no Sea Bass. Several minutes latter this creature comes up to show its slimy self. Looks kind of pre-historic or something. We punched his round trip ticket and off he went.

Now the sharks show up. We noticed the creature had shark escorts when we brought him boat side and they decided to stay. So Dave says, rig me up the "big gun" as he prepares some bait. I get out the Penn 6/0 which is mounted on a broom stick pole and tie it off with a double swivel and a pair of 9/0 heavy duty hooks. Dave baits up, drops down and Wham - hooked up. Small dogfish shark, ugh. He baits up again and drops down. He keeps feeling something "big" knock his bait but can't get it hooked up.

Finally he checks his bait and he has two LARGE black bass on, one has been partially shredded by a shark. "OK - I'm gonna get 'em this time" he says. Baits up, drops down and pretty soon I hear a big grunt and then "gottcha!" coming from him. Tugging and pulling up comes not one but 2 large dogfish sharks. Hmmm.

The rain is falling now and the wind is howling in my ears (literally). So we do inventory: Raining, cold, dogfish everywhere, cooler of nice black sea bass = time to go home.

We only fished a couple of hours but it cured the cabin fever and felt good to taste the salty water on my mustache again.

Man I love this place!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I've been lax in posting lately, I haven't had much time to fish and when I did have time the weather didn't co-operate.

A quick reminder to self and all of you, check your fishing license for its expiration date before you go fishing next time. In NC it expires one year from the date you purchase it.

I have reports from friends that Striper and Speckled Trout fishing has been hot in the Cape Fear and Brunswick river. Some really nice Specks in the 3-5 pound class are being caught on live shrimp and gulp. The Stripers are falling for swim shads, eels and bucktails.

Hopefully we'll have some decent marine weather next week and I can get out and try for some ocean flounder & maybe grouper!

Till then, tight lines to all!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fishing Trip - Dec 19, 2007

I had the pleasure of fishing with a buddy of mine from Raleigh this past week. Randy owns and operates the web site, He pulled his 21' Triumph and brought along a friend of his, Richard.

We headed out about 7:30 on Wed. morning. It was an absolutely calm and virtually windless day. There wasn't even 6" swells and not a ripple on the water. We headed out of Topsail Inlet aiming for a set of ledges about 13 miles offshore. We fished there for a few hours. It was slow catching but we managed a few black bass.

We headed about another 9 miles out to another series of ledges. As soon as we arrived I knew it was going to be a good stop, the fish finder shown lots of fish through out the water column. We even saw some bait fish breaking the surface of the water.

We dropped our lines down and immediately began catching fish. We caught some very large black bass, a couple of gag grouper, a few pinkies, grunts and tow dogfish (which went back). Then after about two hours and a fish box almost full, the bite just stopped. We fished for an hour or so longer then about 3:30 headed for a reef on the way back where I have good luck catching flounder this time of year. We only had 30 minutes to fish wanting to hit the inlet by sunset. We did manage to catch 2, on was a little short but the other was a nice 3 pounder.

Once again, I fished exclusively with the Shimnao Butterfly system, the other two guys used traditional bottom gear with dead bait. I added a new species to my lengthy list of species caught on the butterfly jigs, a nice size Octopus!

Great day of catching, friendship and boating!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It’s almost officially winter time. Does that mean the fishing has stopped? Nope, not in these parts anyway. There is still plenty of fish to be caught along our coast. Granted, the bite is slower and you have to work a little harder. However for an avid angler, there are fish to be caught.

Speckled trout and red drum are here all year round as are a few flounder. The big drum head out into the deeper waters of the ocean but the juveniles stay here. They gather in schools when the weather gets cool and can be found in the creeks. Look for them on the sand flats or shallow oyster rocks on a sunny day. Often they will tear up any bait or lure you send their way as the pickings are sparse in the winter. However a slow retrieve works best. Winter often also means clear water, so concentrate on presentation and stealth.

Much of the above goes for specks too. However, they tend to school up in the deep pools and channels. Mud holds warmth longer than sand. So at the beginning of the cold weather, mud bottoms are a good place to look for trout and for an occasional flounder. Yes I said flounder. While most of the flounder head into the ocean when water cools and the large schools of bait depart, some stay through the winter. Again, remember to slow down your retrieve.

The black sea bass have moved into our near shore waters and will remain there through the winter. My favorite way to target them is with 2 ounce diamond jigs on light tackle. Just drop the jig straight down to the bottom and then vertically jig it up and down till you feel a bite. That makes for some fun fishing and some fresh fish on a nice winter day.

Grouper fishing are also good in the winter but you will have to travel out about 20 - 40 miles. And of course if you have the right boat or go on a charter the Gulf Stream fishing is good all winter.

Another option is the Cape Fear River & North East Cape Fear River near Wilmington for striped bass. This fishery has rebounded nicely in the last few years. The stripers in the river don’t get to be as big as those in the ocean but still it’s not uncommon to catch an occasional 20 pound with many in the 5- 8 pound range. Try around hard structure on a falling tide. Just be prepared to loose some tackle as there is plenty of hard structure underwater to cut off your line.

Catching report

The speckled trout bite is slow but they are still biting, look for the fish in deeper holes and channels now. The drum are schooling in the creeks. A few flounder are being caught but most are undersize. Black Sea Bass are in the 3 mile range with grouper and snapper further out. If you want to head out of the Topsail area, the Stripers are biting in the Cape Fear and some nice Blue Fin Tuna are being caught out of Morehead City.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Fishing trip 12-08-07

Left the dock about 8:15 this morning and headed out to a spot about 13 miles out of the inlet. The seas were flat and the wind was calm - awesome weather, and on a Saturday to boot.

Today I decided to exclusively use Shimano Butterfly jigs on a Shimano Trevala rod with the Avet reel. Man those jigs are awesome. I boated a 9 pound grouper, two 18 inch flounders and a hand full of nice sized black sea bass and one white grunt (go figure). Threw back quite a few smaller ones including some smallish but legal BSB.

Nice day & now some good eating!