Let’s go fishing!

pixelpusher

Well-Known Member
I've kinda lost some of my love for fishing. That was originally why we got kayaks, so we could paddle across core sound to portsmouth island, drum inlet and get on those redfish. Low fishing pressure out there in the boonies, you could only get there by boat, and we'd *usually* catch a slot-size one each every time we'd go, plus blues, whiting, black drum, and flounder. Sometimes gray trout and specks or Spaniards if they were running.

But really, I figured out I loved going catching, not fishing so much. Some of those days you'd spend a bunch of time just standing on the beach, and I figured when I just went paddling, I always got to paddle, but when I went fishing i didn't always get to catching. So I started leaving the poles at home more and more and catching the waves instead of the fish. It's ever so much easier to just stop at the market on the way home, and costs about the same as buying good bait. I mostly ever only used really good shrimp like I'd want to eat, or some kind of spoon or plug for jigging. In Florida on the panhandle, all we had to do was take a bucket and rod, and pick up sand fleas (mole crabs) out of the wash, and you'd catch whiting and pompano all day. I've tried the sand fleas here in NC, and have NEVER caught a fish on one up here. Which I think is one of the great mysteries of the universe. Down there, we'd never have put eating shrimp on a hook, up here, that's all that works for me unless it's a plug and a bluefish or spaniard.

Some of the funnest fishing trips:

When I was a late teen in Fl, my stepdad got a 24' C-hawk. He'd bring home scrap aluminum L bracket from the phone company (not sure ALL of it was scrap, he "found" some long lengths, hmmm) but we built a tower on the boat. Took it offshore out of Destin and we'd catch up a load of mahi and tuna on ballyhoo. He had a buddy who'd go with us, and he got seasick every time but still went. I seem to be blessed somehow, I think I got seasick once as a kid.

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Our agency used to team up with our color house guys every year and split an offshore trip out of Morehead. One morning we posted up at the boat around 0'dark Thirty, and the captain came up with his coffee and said it's gonna be rough out there today, sure we want to go? We all voted heck yeah, and set out. Well it was rough. Couple guys got sick and lay on the sofas in the salon, but the rest of us fished our arms off. Boss had smoked a whole bunch of chicken wings the day before, and had them in a giant tupperware thing swimming in melted butter and tabasco sauce. EVERY time we ate a wing and tossed the bones off the back, BOOM a rod would go off. We caught huge mahi, marlin, tuna, king mackerel and wahoo and filled up the box. Boss had probably went through a 12 pack by early afternoon, and I have a memory of him hauling a big wahoo over on the gaff, aiming at the box, right when a wave dumped into the cockpit. Swept him off his feet, the wahoo came off the gaff and was flopping all over the cockpit, I think it smacked everything in there including bosses legs. He was on his back kicking the wahoo off, and somehow we all got up on the fighting chairs and the ice boxes at the corner of the salon doors. The way the boat was pitching and rolling I don't know how we managed that. Finally Bossman got to his feet, found the gaff and with one of the other guys help got the wahoo in the box. It had knocked itself unconscious, or just ran out of air and passed out by then. With that disaster averted, I remember hooking up on another big mahi, and fighting it from the chair, the boat went down in the trough of a wave, and my fish, all lit up with color like they do, was in the wave above my head, I'm looking up at it, then as the boat was coming back up the sun lit the wave, so I had this vision of my fish broadside on there in the wave like a piece of fruit in jello. Never forgot that.

That trip was one where, when we'd got back home finally that night, I got in the shower, and it was like being back on the boat again, it felt like the shower was pitching back and forth in the waves.

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One day me and my wife had paddled over to Drum Inlet in the kayaks with our first son. He was about 5 I reckon. Usually the beach water here in NC is pretty murky but that day we were surprised to find it as clear as the water on the FL panhandle. I forget the phenomenon, but offshore water had come in. The water was chock a block FULL of red and black drum. It was so clear, you could literally pick your fish and lob the shrimp to it and watch it pick up the bait. I know y'all think I am lying, I'm not. Told bossman about it the following Monday, he said he'd seen it like that once in his 40 or so years fishing the NC coast, and didn't expect he'd ever see that again. Anyway, we caught fish until our arms were sore. We each kept an 18" redfish, and several black drum, all we wanted. The rest got another chance.

Towards the end, I foul hooked a black drum, and it was bleeding. By the time I got him off the hook, looked back out there, and 5-6 blacktip sharks had moved in. They were flying around in the water looking like fighter jets with their pectoral fins sticking out so far. They'd come by, hit a fish, stun it, then turn and come back and tear it to bits. My son was playing just in a slough in the wash, a little bit of sandbar exposed between him and the surf. I ran down there, "Get out of the water, get out of the water!" Course, he was in his own world playing with shells, didn't hear me. I snatched him up to my shoulders, and was pointing out to the waves, "you see the sharks? Look at the sharks!", and he's all like "Whaaaattt?" and looking everywhere but at the water, lol! He never did see them.

We packed up and made the paddle back. That was a great day.

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When I was a little kid, maybe 8, my stepdad from the first marriage took me for Bluefish in Connecticut. I don't remember this one very well, but we turned up at some rock jetty fishing spot way too early in the morning. He bought a box of frozen cigar minnows from the guy in the little tackle and bait hut. I remember the rocks were super crowded with men in boots and coveralls. It was cold. It was a bluefish BLITZ. As soon as the bait hit the water you were hooked up. These fish were like the size of my grown leg's calf. I was told over and over and over to keep my fingers away from their mouths. I remember reeling some of them in, it felt like I was hooked on the rocks of the jetty.

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Back up here in NC, when I was grown, went down to the pier one November day. It was another bluefish and spanish blitz. Spitting drizzle that really wanted to be rain. About 50 degrees out. We used Gotcha plugs. The pier was elbow to elbow but I found a hole somewhere and squeezed in. As soon as you'd get the plug down there and jig it once or twice WHAM, like you hooked a cinder block. Haul em up and into the box. Every once in a while, someone's line would get wrapped at the tip of their rod as they cocked it over a shoulder to cast the plug again. They'd cast, and a loud pop, and the plug would go sailing out into the water, off the line. Whenever that happened, lol, there was this little grom surfer kid about 14 or 15, long curly hair, and in the middle of jigging as hard as everyone else, he'd pick his head up and holler in the general direction of the *pop*, "DER GOES ANUDDER TWO-FITTY!!" (Gotcha plugs were $2.50 in the pier house, and it didn't matter if you got the pink head, green head, or gold). Eventually, I popped my plug off, was congratulated on my loss of 2.50. I went into my tackle box and brought out the spare. These are little "stick plugs" emulating a glass minnow, but they have two fair size sharp treble hooks, one behind the lead "head" and another at the tail. I was in a rush to get it back in the water, (Jigging blues is EXCITING) and I fumbled it, dropped it and it fell perfectly through the gap in the pier deck. Which was only just about big enough to let it through. I stood there in dismay, looking at where it had disappeared. The old man next to me simply looked over, still working his rod, and calmly said "I bet you couldn't do that again if you tried!". LOL LOL LOL... I never forget that either!


That's enough, gotta give my typers a rest.


ETA: Well, a little bit more. Many people don't like to eat bluefish, they consider them trash fish. I agree about the larger smoker blues, they are not the best. But if you ever can catch the littler choppers, 12-14" or so, and you fry them up fresh, in House Autry chicken breader, and fry some green tomatoes beside them, you gotcha something there. I like oily fish. King Mackerel is some of the finest eating in the sea IMO, right next to Wahoo and Swordfish. Perhaps a bit high in mercury, but that is why we say grace before meals, right? :hehee


ETA 2: Even one more. Ain't got nothin' else to do.

Back in Florida, maybe 18 or 19. We didn't know what kayaks were yet, but I was into snorkeling, and hardly a finer place to do it than those snow white beaches and gin clear waters. I was by myself that day and rode over to the beach in my little VW bug. I brought my fins and mask, and a rod, sand spike and a cooler in case I caught any whiting or pompano. I decided to go snorkel first. So I'm flutter kicking along, checking out the sandbars and sloughs, where were the whiting hanging out at? Presently, I noticed a strange sight. The seafloor in the surf zone was pretty clear in most places of any kind of seaweed or shells or rocks, just nice sandy bottom with the patterns of dips and riffles that the waves made. There in the distance was a black something, sticking up out of the sand, waving back and forth. What kind of weed, or was it a worm? I got closer, and noticed it was a loop actually, very uniform. It's some kind of cable, I guessed, but why is there a cable here, on the seafloor behind the surfline? Cautiously I got closer, cause I didn't know what manner of creature I might be disturbing. Visions of some giant angler fish came to mind. When I got right up to it, oh, it's some kind of rubber something, but it's not a surfboard leash? I fanned the sand a bit around it with my hands, and I could see a metal clasp around the end of the loopy thing. I pulled it out of the sand, and there came out this long, skinny pole it was attached to. It reminded me of the fiberglass rods that would have a red flag on top, that we had attached to our banana-seat bikes back in the day. When I'd pulled it all out, at the other end from the loopy bit, which was like black rubber tubing, there was like a molly-bolt and what looked like a field point on an arrow. I'd never seen a Hawaiian sling spear before, but that's what it was. It only took me another minute or so to figure out that when you speared a fish, the half a molly-bolt thing would prevent it coming back off the spear. Quite naturally I put my thumb through the loop, and pulled the spear back, grasping it near the middle with my hand. Cool I thought, maybe if I see a fat whiting on the way back to the beach I'll try it out.

So I'm swimming back in, and then there is a spanish mackerel about as big as my arm. It's just hanging there in the water. It turned broadside to me. I really didn't think I would hit it, figured it would dart away, but worth a shot, right? So I slowly raised my hand pointed as best I could at it (there's no sights on such a contraption) and let the spear fly. Well, I nailed him right through the gills. My chin scraped sand. The fish is now flopping, thrashing on the spear and bleeding PROFUSELY. I grabbed the spear, turned over on my back to get the fish out of the water, and motorboated my flippers as fast as I could back to the beach, heart pounding, wondering how long it was gonna take sharks to show up, and would they be little dogfish, or a tiger or bull shark!? I got back to the sand, and put the fish into my cooler. Shaking now, but calming down. It was a beautiful spaniard, but it had ripped a pretty ragged hole where the spear was.

I got all my mess back over the dunes and into my car, and headed home, (we lived five minutes from the beach there in Navarre), stopping at Shorty's for a bag of ice.

Later that afternoon, my stepdad (the C-hawk one with aluminum tower) got home from work. Now, in the trailer we stayed in, he always kept his .357magnum hanging in it's holster on a peg by the washer and dryer near the back door.

"Hey G, how's it going, you have a good day at work?"

"Yeah, it was alright, glad it's Friday. What'd you do today?"

"Oh, I went over to the beach, snorkled, did a little fishing. Go look in the cooler on the back porch." I followed him out.

He opens the lid and there is the spaniard laying there on the ice, looking all beautifully silvery with it's spots and then this big, ragged, bloody hole in it's gill. G has a puzzled look on his face. What the?

"Yeah, so I took your .357 over to the beach today. I saw this fish in the wave, so I shot it." Just as deadpan as I could.

"WHAT?! You can't do THAT!"

"Well, there it is. We're having fish for supper! I didn't get your gun sandy or anything."

"<speechless>"

"Nah, I'm kidding. I found a fishing spear." And I got it out and showed him. Relief floods over his face.

"Oh, that is a Hawaiian sling. They are illegal. That's probably why you found it, probably someone was diving, and saw the ranger coming down the beach so they buried it."

"Oh. Well, it's neat, I won't get caught with it."

And that's the story about how I "shot" a Spanish Mackerel one fine day.
 
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3 Nails 4 Given

Sinner saved by the blood of Jesus
Just read a USCG link stating April 1, 2021 All vessels under 26ft under power of a motor greater than 3HP the operator will now be required to wear a engine kill switch lanyard or wireless kill switch device if the vessel is operating on plane.

The boat we just rigged out did not have one installed, now we have to install one. Florida passed it into state law. So Fla. Marine Patrol and or USCG can issue citations for fines starting at $100.

The links I’ve read are saying since the law is new, first offense will be a warning. Any second offense will be a fine.
 

pixelpusher

Well-Known Member
Just read a USCG link stating April 1, 2021 All vessels under 26ft under power of a motor greater than 3HP the operator will now be required to wear a engine kill switch lanyard or wireless kill switch device if the vessel is operating on plane.

The boat we just rigged out did not have one installed, now we have to install one. Florida passed it into state law. So Fla. Marine Patrol and or USCG can issue citations for fines starting at $100.

The links I’ve read are saying since the law is new, first offense will be a warning. Any second offense will be a fine.
Its a good idea.
 

3 Nails 4 Given

Sinner saved by the blood of Jesus
I need to quit planning trips and just go. Every time we plan a trip bad weather comes. The weather is 50/50 tomorrow, but we’re going to try anyway.
Fish have to drink too.:chatter

I can handle the rain it’s those electric bolts I don’t like and high winds.
 

3 Nails 4 Given

Sinner saved by the blood of Jesus
Yahoo we finally got to go! We got halfway into our 1.5hr. drive and realized we left the downriggers at home. Oh well we trolled without them and only had one small strike with no hookup.

We found a nice rock pile and proceeded to catch our limit of Black Sea Bass. We probably caught and released twice our limit in undersized ones.

We had two large hookups that both broke off, one on 30lb. test monofilament line and one on 80lb braid. There was a boat near us that was catching oversized Redfish and releasing them, so we think our two break offs could have been those.

After a full day we came back inshore and found a marina with a restaurant and went inside and ate a nice supper. We had a fun day despite the foul weather.
 

alisani

Well-Known Member
"Rivers and the inhabitants of the watery elements are made for wise men to contemplate and for fools to pass by without consideration."

Izaak Walton

Cheers gents. My dad would have loved this thread. :hat
 

seated with Christ

Well-Known Member
I need to quit planning trips and just go. Every time we plan a trip bad weather comes. The weather is 50/50 tomorrow, but we’re going to try anyway.
Fish have to drink too.:chatter

I can handle the rain it’s those electric bolts I don’t like and high winds.
My father and I were fishing in a Louisiana spillway when it started lightening, he had me drive in big circles out in the middle, away from trees. We later saw a gas company crew boat and the guy on board invited us in, he gave us coffee.
 

3 Nails 4 Given

Sinner saved by the blood of Jesus
The weather was questionable so we stayed nearshore. I’m kind of glad we did because the winds picked up exponentially. The fishing was poor and the ride back in was terrible.
 

JSTyler

Well-Known Member
W00T! :dance2

I finally had a small window in my schedule open up this morning and was able to wet a line for the first time this year. I caught a single fish. One beautiful little red-eye small mouth. Maybe a pound with a lot of fight in it on the super light tackle I use. It ain't much but I'm content.

Other observations;
- The white perch are running the streams and muddying the water and making a general ruckus, diminishing the quality of fishing. I wish they were never introduced into the freshwater bodies around here. I hate the odor that prevails when the are in their active spawn. And they have ruined Spring fishing for the old-school native species.
- I'm feeling the aging factor when I'm wading streams now. I used to go for entire days, now I'm good for a a couple hours before the joints force me to quit.
- The Brood V cicada are emerging extremely late but they are emerging. Once the day warmed a little the chorus, though minimal as of yet, began to rise and fall. I absolutely love the sound of it.
 

3 Nails 4 Given

Sinner saved by the blood of Jesus
W00T! :dance2

I finally had a small window in my schedule open up this morning and was able to wet a line for the first time this year. I caught a single fish. One beautiful little red-eye small mouth. Maybe a pound with a lot of fight in it on the super light tackle I use. It ain't much but I'm content.

Other observations;
- The white perch are running the streams and muddying the water and making a general ruckus, diminishing the quality of fishing. I wish they were never introduced into the freshwater bodies around here. I hate the odor that prevails when the are in their active spawn. And they have ruined Spring fishing for the old-school native species.
- I'm feeling the aging factor when I'm wading streams now. I used to go for entire days, now I'm good for a a couple hours before the joints force me to quit.
- The Brood V cicada are emerging extremely late but they are emerging. Once the day warmed a little the chorus, though minimal as of yet, began to rise and fall. I absolutely love the sound of it.
White Perch, Crappie,? or White Bass?
 

JSTyler

Well-Known Member
White Perch, Crappie,? or White Bass?
They introduced white perch and supposedly "hybrid" rockfish/striped bass 3 decades ago. Those hybrids have reproduced like mad. It's my opinion that both have ruined what used to be fantastic fisheries. The white perch are the worst and they've all but eliminated the crappie populations and feeder creek trout and small mouth by infesting the same habitats. I know a lot of local fisherman that really like the stripers because they get huge but they are monstrous eating machines and have ruined the crappie, small mouth, walleye, shad and pike fishing.

They did the same thing years ago with the cheesball trout...rainbows in the local streams and rivers. When I was a lad, I was able to catch loads of brookies, browns and the oddball golden until the stocking of those nasty farm raised things. I'd honestly rather go back to the good old days of 20 large creek chubs per 1 nice native trout ratio than have try and avoid then next 10 inch cheeseballer that has about 10 seconds of fight and then go limp.
 

Tall Timbers

Imperfect but forgiven
and the oddball golden until the stocking of those nasty farm raised things

In the 60s we caught a lot of Golden trout in the higher elevation lakes of the Sierra Nevada. Then stocking programs began and the golden practically became extinct. Then they put expensive measures in place to try to protect the golden species that they'd nearly wiped out... A pure Golden is such a beautiful fish. Good eating, too.
 
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