Canal Flatties

Canal Flatties

Thursday, October 10, 2013

North Carolina Saltwater Fishing

    Last Thursday, I headed down to the Outer Banks with my brothers, a friend, his little brother, and my grandfather. My dad goes down to the Outer Banks every October with a group of guys to fish for a week, and the kids usually head down to crash the party at the end of the week. They had 5 boats between the 10 of them, and all but 4 of the guys headed home Friday morning. The plan was to take the remaining two boats out that day to wreck fish for triggerfish and black sea bass, but upon my arrival on Thursday night, I decided I would go try to hunt down a fish somewhere near our house. I rigged up a gulp grub on a jighead, and headed out to fish some spots on the canals that I have caught fish from in the past. My first stop was a wooden bridge that crossed the canal, the only fish I have caught there that is worth talking about was a small striper that I landed while on a similar night outing a couple years back. I ended up jigging my gulp vertically off the bridge when I felt a thump and set the hook into a nice little redfish. That was the only one I caught that night, but I was glad to get the skunk off.
     The next morning, my brother and I headed out to do some casting for trout and redfish before the boats departed. We only landed 3 fish in two hours, but it was still nice to get out. Wyatt caught a keeper flounder, and I caught a baby grey trout and another small puppy drum. We headed back to the house, got on the boats, and headed to the AR145 wreck about 8 miles from Oregon Inlet. I dropped a stingsilver tipped with cut bait to the bottom and only jigged it 2 or 3 times before hooking a small sea bass. I repeated this process many times, most of them being below the 12.5" size limit, and about every 4 or 5 drops, I would hook a triggerfish. We also caught some baby scup, a few pigfish, a false albacore, and even 2 baby gag grouper. The between the two boats, we ended up bringing back 12 seabass, 46 triggerfish, and 3 spanish mackerel (caught when trolling for bait). I kept track as usual, and out of the 54 seabass I caught, only 3 were keepers. That should say something about just how many fish we landed that day.
     The next day, we caught plenty of bluefish while casting in Oregon Inlet, the birds were everywhere and so were the glass minnows (bluefish food!). We loaded the livewell with them and headed to Tower C, a tower owned by the Navy that is about 15 miles out. We dropped live blues for an hour with no luck, then, finally, as if someone had flipped a switch, the amberjacks started biting. We hooked 5 and landed two, they make short work of tackle if you can't keep them out of the tower legs. I landed the bigger of the two, a fish we estimated to be between 50 and 60 pounds. We then headed back to AR145 and caught a few more bottom fish, and one more amberjack, before heading home. I when we pulled back into the canal at the house, I got on the bow to cast a few times as we drove in, and caught a nice ribbonfish, a new fish on the list!
      That night, we ate at the restaurant in the Pirates Cove Marina, and afterwords I took some Little Tunny fillets to an open boat slip near the fish cleaning station, to chum for stripers. I cut up a bunch of big chunks and threw them out into the marina, and then my brothers and I started pitching pieces of bloodline from the fillets and broke off the first two fish. We were using 30lb braid and no leaders, but the fish were still running around the pilings and breaking us off. We ended up landing two 18"ers and a 17"er, but that was it for the night, next year, if we do it again, we will step it up to 50lb braid on much stronger rods, so hopefully we can turn their heads before they run into the pilings.
    The next day, we fished Jennette's Pier from about 10:00 to 3:00 in the afternoon before heading out. We dropped squid and shrimp around the pilings for triggerfish, but only caught pinfish and pigfish, if there was a trigger down there, he couldn't have even gotten to the bait before the little guys stripped the hook clean. Our next plan of attack was to fish for sea mullet. We rigged up all 6 of our rods with carolina rigs (2oz egg weights) and various small bits of bait. We caught lots of sea mullet, a couple pinfish, some spot, and one pompano. There was also a 43" red drum landed on the end of the pier while we were there. At the moment I am trying to get back into the freshwater swing of things, but bowhunting and the early duck season are keeping me busy right now, so this blog might go quiet for a week or two. Make sure to check out my hunting blog though, I should have something new posted there within the next week. As always, thanks for reading!
 The first fish of the trip
Baby Grey Trout
  The haul from day 1 

 Wyatt's keeper flounder 
A new species for me, the Atlantic Cutlass Fish! 
  Boat slip puppy drum
Here is a picture of the big AJ, you can see half of the tower in the top right hand corner of the screen

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