Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's Not Just Fishin': OBX Report

I had a great, albeit quick, family vacation to my absolute favorite fishing destination, the Outer Banks. A week flew by in the blink of an eye. This is where I learned about the world of saltwater fishing from my Dad and Opa, on summer vacations fishing from the beach and piers, to my first boating excursion about the Miss Oregon Inlet, and later running our 22' center console in the sound and inshore. My 'yak fishing last week consisted of poking around the flats and grass beds looking for trout and flounder and yielded mostly voracious little spot and croaker. As a kid, I probably caught a thousand of these on the numerous piers, some still going strong and others long since blown away by the fall hurricanes. While not the sportfish I typically target, they are the gateway for kids to a lifetime of fishing fun, and catching them was kind of nostalgic.

In between the time on the beach with the kids, dinners out and other family activities, fishing was limited. I managed to get out on the Rodanthe Pier for a bit with my brother, enjoy some beers and cigars, and even caught some tailor blues. Eight years ago we scattered my Dad's ashes from the stern of the Hog Wild just a half mile off that same pier. The most excitement that afternoon was a large jack crevalle caught by one of the guys live lining from the end of the pier. I never even broke out the surf fishing gear as most evenings brought us thunderstorms, and this time of year yields little action.

My kids like to fish, but right now their attention spans don't last more than half an hour, so the spot and ever present blue crabs on the sound keep them happy. I can't wait for the time when I can take them on a trip like the ones I took with my dad. We stayed in old places like the Tanorama Motel, right next to the Avalon Pier, The Drifting Sands, and other places long since bulldozed to make room for more McMansions. My wife saw the Tanorama right before its demise, and needless to say, was not impressed. However, with cheap efficiencies right next to a place that served hot breakfasts and provided fresh bait before the sun came up, it was a fisherman's favorite.

Few people driving past these old motels, most in a pretty dilapidated state, appreciate their link to a very different OBX. You won't find Taylor Cottage, one of the original 20 or so, where I stayed as a kid in the 70's. There was no by-pass. Hatteras was truly an isolated village. Last year I fished with Ernie Foster, owner of The Albatross Fleet, the first charter fishing boats on the OBX. Ernie's dad Ernal was the first to figure out that people would pay for him to take them deep sea fishing. The entire fleet is decades older than I am, and the boats have smooth lines and an art deco look of the era they represent. I fished in the same chair as Al Flueger. The office of the Albatross fleet has pictures of my Godmother, Betts Walker, a seven year old Ernie, and one of her record marlins.

The OBX has always been a special place for me and my family. As a kid I learned to love the ocean and fishing, as teenager I spent most of my summers at our place in Duck, chasing girls and running our center console out of Oregon Inlet, and today I'm taking my own kids back down. So I didn't get a ton of fishing done, but I hope I built a lot of great memories for my kids, and that they fall in love with the OBX the way I have.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Headed to the OBX this Weekend!

Next post will be after 7/14 when I return. Hope to get some fishing in during the family vacation!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

7/1 Report - Fisher's Island

Up and out early today! Not so much because I expected to catch the night bite, but because it's Sunday to start the 4th of July holiday week. Normally the ramps are empty at 3:30am, but today there were 4-5 boats. The plan was to fish the ebb tide on the north side of Fisher's, hopefully for more of the nice keeper sized stripers I had landed last week. In addition to the stripers, blues had moved in resulting in cut off Hogy's and chewed up sandworms. Still, managed to land a couple keepers and several schoolies.