10/19 – Fished this morning with Chris and his father, John. Puppy drum was the game and we went after them hard. John is a very experienced angler and let them have it with his bass gear and mirrolure topdogs. Before the sun was even up and within 3 casts John had an explosion on his lure and was instantly hooked up. This went on for the next 90 minutes as both father and son landed 6 or 7 gorgeous slot drum (i can’t remember the exact number) and only missed a few strikes. As the tide hit high and the fish went back into the grass, we decided to switch over to trout.
I didn’t take long – within a few minutes we had a fish that went 3.85 pounds in the boat. The bite was typical for big trout – slow but fairly steady. The only problem was getting them in the boat. Over 3 hours, we probably lost 6 or 7 quality fish at the boat and John had one on that I estimate at an easy 5-6 pounds. This brings to light a good lesson in trout fishing – I have a lot of anglers on board who really struggle to get the fish in the net and it’s simply because trout fishing is a lot like bass fishing but they must be fought in a way unlike many other fish – and many people have never fished that way before. Trout, with their soft mouths must be fought very gently to prevent the lure from tearing out – and for that reason, I like to use spinning rods (like a St Croix TS70LM) with a very light tip. Bait of the day was the Rip Tide Flats Chub in electric chicken (www.riptidelures.com).
10/20 – Due to hard SW winds, I cancelled my king mackerel charter this morning and spent much of the morning doing a tackle inventory and much needed maintenance. Come the afternoon, I heard from my buddy Capt. Gordon Churchill and we decided to do a little trout fishin’.
Boy did we find them!!! On his 2nd cast, Gordo hooked up with a 4-5lb bruiser that he fought for a few minutes and got to the gunnel, right as i dipped the net, the line busted and I quickly scooped up the fish – just to watch it actually swim through a 3×3″ hole where the rubber netting of my net meets the yoke. We looked at each other dumbfounded, so I will say this: fish don’t get big by being stupid!!! Over the next couple of hours, we hammered the trout – landing probably 12 in the 1-3lb range and several small spikes. We released all trout today.
In the midst of the trout fishing, we reponsitioned the boat – and BAM – all of sudden we were smack dab in the middle of a school of reds. For almost 2 hours, we caught them on almost every cast – fish of all sizes (from 15 to 28″). Also, in the fray of reds, we each pulled out a decent flounder – getting us both our INSHORE SLAM. We easily landed 20-30 reds – who counts when the fishing is that good?? We left the reds biting and went on home – what an incredible day!!!!!
Again, all trout and drum were released – I kept one flounder for my dinner.
10/21 – This morning I fished with Grant and his son Matt – they both have places in the area and wanted to learn a little more about inshore fishin’ With a hard SW wind scheduled, we decided to try some drum and trout action that day. However, the good ol’ weathermen proved themselves wrong again – and the ocean was a slick gorgeous calm. We did, however, decide to start the morning with some of the hot topwater drum action. Once we reached one of my favorite spots, I cast out a mirrolure topdog so that I could demonstrate how to use the lure – and within 3 seconds a huge red exploded on the plug!!! It took these guys a while to get the action and the casts down, but once that happened – we started getting some good hits. They didnt land any in the 90 or so minutes we fished for them – but I am confidant that if they went after it again, they would do much better right off the bat. It was about this time that I go a call from my friend, Captain Dean Lamont telling me the ocean was beautiful and that he had caught a few big spanish mackerel and saw some albacore.
So, since Grant and Matt had wanted to fish the ocean anyways, we quickly switched boats and motored out of Beaufort Inlet. Within a minute of arriving at my destination, we were right in the middle of a giant school of 3-6lb spanish mackerel (with some bigger ones in the mix!). It was every cast for over 2 hours – we light-tackled them on topwaters, stingsilvers, two-at-a-time on speck rigs…you name it. They would hit it as soon as it hit the water, at the gunnel – heck you could have dangled a hotdog or a kernel of corn in the water and they would have eaten it. Grant and Matt caught and caught and caugt them until their arms were about to give way – we released a bunch, had dozens of cut-offs and kept 17 for the grill/freezer. Let me put it this way – the drag was screaming for hours. As soon as I got my buddy Capt. Dean on the phone – he ran over and they had fish on the fly within 20 seconds of the boat getting off plane. The school was so big and unconcerned that I could motor my boat right in the middle of them and they would not spook – we’d drift with them for probably 10 minutes and never have to resposition the boat! Gosh…I Wish everyday was this easy………….during those few hours, we could honestly claim that we had the best fishing in the universe.
After they were pooped of spanish, we did a little bottom fishing and only caught a few seabass and a king mackerel (on the bottom?) – my friend and client, Brian Allen (congrats on being a Dad!!) was bottom fishing right next to us and they landed a massive red drum on live bait (pic below). We tried to get one for a little bit but called it quits and made the journey home.
We also saw a lot of false albacore around the spanish and on the way home – they were just still in their early season mode and were gulping micro baits (nearly microscopic juvenile baitfish) on the surface and had little interest in any of our offerings.
10/22 – Again, I had the pleasure of fishing with crazy-fisherman Sean. Some of you may remember me talking about him this past July – not only can this guy fish unlike anyone else but his enthusiasm and love of the outdoors is so intense that I really can say that I have met few people like him. This time he brought with him his mother, Rose and his friend Corbin – who may even rival Sean with his love of the outdoors! It’s such a pleasure to have such great guys onboard – it really gives me faith in the future of fishing. I wouldn;t be surprised to see these boys become guides one day.
After a lengthy thunderstorm delay, on the the first day we decided to do some ocean fishing and try to find some King Mackerel – the ocean was rough, very rough and proceeded to get rougher and rougher and rougher during the morning and afternoon. Within minutes of arriving at my destination, one of the reels was screaming and Corbin brought a beautiful 20lb king mackerel to the gunnel. 5 minutes later, a nice shark hit one of the lines. I thought we were in for some serious pullage – boy were we wrong. For the next two hours we didnt get a strike. So we decided to do some flounder fishing – and we caught oyster toads (really big ones I might add) and seabass. As the swell got intense, we motored home through an incredibly nasty Beaufort Inlet, played with the snapper blues for a while and decided to do a little trout fishing – the bite was on but didnt have a lot of time to fish before the sun went down (we landed some spikes and lost several).
10/23- Day 2 of fishing with Sean and co. – we decided to go after some trout and drummies this morning. We left aerly and busted out the topwaters (thse boys are like me – they prefer artificials) -and many, we worked the marsh so hard. The only problem was that it was much much colder that morning, and the front really turned the reds off their previously hot bite. This morning they were coming to the baits but were not taking them like the week prior – rolling on the lazily no matter how slow we worked them. But we did manage upwards of 15 strikes and corbin was the first to get hsi big slot fish to the gunnel – one of the few that slammed a topdog hard. I put a trailer on Sean’s lure and when he had a lazy roll on his lure, the big slot red ate the trailer. “Whew!” was wjat I said at that moment!
As the drum went into the grass, we decided to do the t rout thing. On the way to one of my many holes, I heard that the bite had been good in the morning but wanned with the tide. We worked and worked and worked and picked away at the spike trout and small flounder (Sean did get his slam) and bucho lizard fish. They were thick today – really thick. Out of the brown trout fray, we did land a 6lb doormat flounder on a grub and Sean lost an even large one (on a grub!) at the gunnel! The only thing we caught on live-bait was lizards. We even caught one twice.
Not a bad day in retrospect but we just had to work so hard for our fish – Fishermen like Sean and Corbin deserve big spanish mackerel blitzes and big schools of drum…but that’s just fishing. We all had a great time and I expect I’ll be seeing them again in the future (perhaps Bonito?).