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Mediocre Trout Fishermen, listen-up

I was at a meeting of the Saltwater Light Tackle Fishing Club where Don Willis (Custom Marine Fabrication, New Bern) was the guest speaker talking about new fishing tackle and gear he saw at the recent Henry’s show in Raleigh. He showed us some cool stuff, and also made an observation that I think was right on. He said “Berkley Gulp! and suspending baits have turned mediocre and poor trout fishermen to good trout fishermen.” Just think about it, anyone can almost catch just about anything on the Gulp! flavored baits. And suspending hard plastics baits are recent proven killers of trout, drum and you name it. These days there are other flavored baits as well as special secret formula juices, pastes and sprays out there, to enhance your baits and attract fish, all of them work extremely well, and you don’t need to be a genius to use them. You toss them out, you bring ’em in and viola, you catch fish. The suspending baits, like MirrOlure Catch 2000, or their 17 and 27-MR series are also equally deadly. You throw them out and let them sink (they don’t really suspend, they sink slowly), add a few twitches and during the pause and drop-down, and they are nailed by hungry, aggressive trout, especially in the winter.

suspending baitsMirrOlures from top to bottom on the left (menhaden style):

  1. Catch 5
  2. MR 27
  3. MR 17
  4. MR 14

MirrOlures on the right, top to bottom (mullet style):

  1. Catch 2000
  2. MR 19

MR17_pogieMR 17 and peanut pogy (or is it Memorex?)

There is some finesse with these baits. I particularly like to use the lightest jig head with the Gulps!, usually 1/8 or 1/16th oz. or even better unweighted and fished weedless with one of the bass worm hooks. These and other soft plastics are also excellent producers fished on the ultimate of suspending baits, the cork where you have total control of the movement and motion of the bait. If you fish these often you will quickly notice that most of the hits occur in the settling and drop down phase, when nothing is seemingly happening. So fish both the corked and uncorked slow and low and only twitch the baits from time-to-time. Ditto with the suspenders, and I don’t mean the ones that hold up your pants. Cast, let the current drift the bait when possible, occasionally twitching the bait. Again in the “sleep” phase is when you should expect the hit, bite or bump, so be ready or you may miss the fish. All this is well and good, but you also have to remember, if there are no fish around, it really doesn’t matter what bait you use, finessed or not.

soft plasticsSoft Plastics fished on a cork

We are currently talking winter and early spring fishing, with lethargic fish that can barely produce a light tap or bump, and on somewhat slack line, one of the non-stretch braided lines is a must, or you risk missing fish. Personally I use 10-pound test PowerPro Braided line with a 12-pound fluorocarbon leader, others use 15 or 20-pound test braid with a matched fluorocarbon leader.

So if you want to improve your trout fishing give the new generation of scented baits and the flashy “suspending” baits a try and easily upgrade your catches from poor to wow! Of course this is all well and good, but you also have to remember, if there are no fish around, it really doesn’t matter what bait you use, finessed or not.

 

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Bobbers, corks, and floats, not just for kids anymore!! By Dr. Bogus

Remember that big round red and white bobber that used to be a staple in you tackle box as a kid? You would float night crawlers down the creek and watch the red and white plastic bobber bob up and-down as it cruised the river in search of a bass or pickerel or bream. Or you might have gone down to the sound or dock or pier and float a silversides in search of a hungry snapper blue or two. Then somehow those bobbers somehow sunk to the bottom of
your tackle box doomed to decades of disuse. Well, if you haven’t already, it’s time to unearth the bobber for some adult usage. The first thing however is get the proper terminology, or as Capt. Jim (“JJ”) Johnson (Newport) reminded me, “we don’t call them bobbers any more, you got to call them floats now or you’re back with the kids”. Ok, a float it is, or maybe a cork, but not a bobber!

Today’s corks are made of many materials according to Capt. Rick Patterson (Cape Crusader Charters, Newport). “Most of them are made of hard plastic, Styrofoam plastic, balsa wood and some are actually cork,” said Patterson.

They also come in many shapes and sizes, from long thin pencil shaped floats to the traditional round bobber, properly fished, all of them are effective gear that should float near the top of every angler’s tackle box.

“It’s a good all-purpose rig actually,” explains Johnson, ”you can drift up along oyster bars for drum, trout and actually catch flounder on them too.” “That’s the main thing, keep your bait suspended and natural,” said Johnson, “it’s a good way to get your baits under and around structure too.”

What are the normal depths of use? “I don’t think floats are necessary in 2-foot of water, you can just flat-line your bait up in there rather than use a float. But I would say from two to three-feet to whatever you want to do, even, up to 12-feet out at the rock jetty at Cape Lookout, but typically it’s 4,5, 6-feet using a typical popping cork.”

There are a variety of noisy “popping” corks. “I’m sure everybody has seen a popping cork,” said Patterson “with the front end cupped out.” “You throw it out there and kind of jerk it along and it pops on the top of the water. It makes a little bit of noise. Some other companies, especially down south make some call the Equalizer and the Cajun Thunder that have a cork that’s on a stainless steel shaft and have beads that make noise too, which helps draw the fish to your bait,” explained Patterson.

“Like a dinner bell,” chimed in Johnson.

“Ya, like the shrimp,” said Patterson, “if you’ve been back up in the creeks before, and you’re kind of easing along, the shrimp get up on top of the water and start skipping across the surface, and they’re kind of popping like that.” “Those corks that make noise simulate that, and of course that’s going to draw a trout or redfish.”

One of the favorite fishing areas is the Cape Lookout Rock Jetty, and many citation speckled trout are caught there in the fall and winter on corks. Here, Patterson likes one of the slender pencil corks, whereas Johnson prefers a Styrofoam Plastilite cork, with a straw in the middle. Since both slide freely on your main fishing line, they need to be “stopped” at the proper depth, about a foot above the bottom. How is this done?

“Many companies make them; it’s called a bobber stopper,” said Patterson. “All it is, is a piece of twine that you set above on your line and you pull (cinch) it down to tight on your line and put a bead below it. That way you can set the depth where you want to fish at, but it allows your cork to go up and down the line. If you want to set it up for 6 or 8- feet, you can slide the bobber stopper up on your main line at the depth you want to fish in. It of course reels through your rod guides real good and casts. It’s real effective,” emphasized Patterson.

For fishing line, Patterson uses one of the super-braids and Johnson prefers eight or 12-pound test mono, but both Patterson and Johnson were in agreement, fluorocarbon was the leader material of choice. Why? “Because some of the braided lines especially when we are talking clear water conditions …” said Patterson, I think the fish can see that and cut down on the number of strikes you get. That’s why I like to go down to the fluorocarbon, because
fluorocarbons are almost invisible in the water.”

Johnson added, “This is all light tackle fishing, for trout so I’d use 8 or 10-pound test main line, and if I use 8-pound line I’ll use 12-pound fluorocarbon leader, especially around the rocks or oyster rocks. I like to give it basically another one-third of what the breaking strength
of the main line is,” said Johnson. I’m a stickler with fluorocarbon when it comes to float rigs, it’s simply because of the oyster rocks, or you’re fishing around the rock jetty or pier pilings. I think it’s imperative to have that little extra abrasion resistance,” said Johnson.

Hooks are also a matter of preference. For live bait, Patterson is a circle hook believer. “As far as hooks goes, I like to use the circle hooks and sometimes treble hooks too,” explained Patterson. “I like the circle hooks, because you don’t have to set the hooks at all. Once the fish pulls and pulls down the cork usually the circle hook comes around and catches him right in the corner of the mouth and you don’t actually have to set the hook, you won’t throat hook a lot of fish either.”

For hooks, Johnson goes for the gold, especially when baiting live shrimp. “I prefer No. 6-gold treble hook,” said Johnson “and typically the trout won’t swallow it.” “I hook the shrimp either in the tail or right at the base of the horn between the two black spots, the brain and the stomach otherwise pfft… they’re dead. Fresh but dead,” smiled Johnson.

Shrimp, is one of the most popular baits to “cork”, but other live baits can be used effectively and artificials too. “Of course, next to shrimp, finger mullet, mud minnows … work great with slip corks,” said Patterson, “and for artificials, any type of plastic such as grubs, jerk baits anything like that.”

Johnson agreed, and also pointed out that late in the season, “Once the shrimp are gone mud minnows are the next best bet, and if you can get them little greenies, and mullet minnows if they are still around, all those are excellent live baits for trout and drum,” said Johnson. “After that, we also use little pinfish,” explained Johnson, “but we cut the dorsal fin off, the trout are very sensitive and they’ll spit a pinfish out sometimes, so you can help yourself out by cutting off the dorsal fin.”

Then there is the line of Berkley nearly natural, flavored, “Gulp!” baits. “Artificial baits now have gotten so realistic,” said Johnson, shaking his head, “baits such as Berkley Gulp! fished on a jig head under a cork, it’s an awesome rig.” Johnson continued, “They (Gulp! baits) have shrimp bodies and little pogies, some that mimic anchovies, and little crabs too,” said Johnson, “you can either put them on jig heads, or a treble hook, if fishing for drum you can use the Octopus or Mosquito hooks, just hook it up like a live fiddler.”

If this is not enough versatility for you anglers, floats are worked effectively from the bank around inlets, from fishing piers and even offshore. “As far as float corks offshore,” said Patterson, “they are good for Spanish mackerel, cobia and especially spade fish. You can find them later on in the summer out on all the artificial reefs or any kind of structure, and are really spooky but fishing a clear plastic float with jelly ball strips works great. They are a load of fun to catch, it’s like catching a gigantic 5-pound bluegill,” said Patterson.

Finally the ultimate in float fishing, balloons, just ask Jesse Lockowitz (Cape Carteret), who landed the current state record 175-pound tarpon from Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier last September floating a live bluefish off the pier on, you guessed it, balloons.

Jesse’s record has since been broken by a 193-pound tarpon landed from Seaview Pier in 2008 by Malcolm Condie.

Corks

From Left to right:

1) Tubular pole slip float, often used at Cape Lookout Rock Jetty

2) 4 1/2-inch popping cork

3) 2-inch popping cork with 18-inches of leader and treblehook

4) Classic round red and white “bobber”

5) Slotted cigar float

6) Slip cork

7) Rattlin’ Pop-a-Top float with 2-foot leader and No. 4 treble hook

8) Equalizer clacker float rigged with jig and curltail soft plastic bait

9) Balloon

10) Above the balloon you can also see some of the “bobber stoppers”

 

Posted by & filed under Fishing, Reports category.

Surf at Bogue Pier ranged from a Low of 68 to a high of 78-degrees with an  average of 73.0, (blue diamonds). Bogue Sound (red squares) had a low of 63 and a high of 78-degrees with an average of 70.6-degrees. October. was a cooling off month.

 

Posted by & filed under Fishing, Reports category.

Dates for the first mullet blow of the season on Bogue Banks  since 1999.

Average date is August 30, average surf temperature is 81-degrees.

9/1/1999, 9/6/2000, 8/25/2001, 9/1/2002, 9/6/2003, 8/24/2004, 8/26/2005, 9/2/2006, 8/29/2007, 9/1/2008, 9/1/2009, 8/28/2010, 9/2/2011, 8/25/2012, 8/25/2013, 8/26/14, 8/25/15, 8/30/16

 

Posted by & filed under Fishing, Fishing News.

State removing buoys that are no longer needed at artificial reefs

 

MOREHEAD CITY – Over the next few weeks, the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will remove the buoys from several artificial reef sites along the coast.

Staff plans to remove buoys from 11 artificial reef sites that are already accurately depicted on federal navigation charts or soon will be changed on the charts.

Technology has advanced to the point that the buoys are no longer necessary for safe navigation, and it is no longer cost-effective to maintain them, said Craig Hardy, chief of the division’s Habitat and Enhancement Section. GPS receivers are readily available at a low enough cost that nearly all boats that go offshore are equipped with them.

The buoys will be removed from:

North of Cape Hatteras

  • Artificial Reef-130 (no official name) 12.5 nautical miles north of the Oregon Inlet sea buoy

Hatteras to Cape Lookout

  • Artificial Reef – 230 ( Mr. J. C. Reef) 3.5 nautical miles south-southeast of the Hatteras Inlet sea buoy

Cape Lookout to Cape Fear

  • Artificial Reef – 320 (Clifton Moss Reef) 7.3 nautical miles west-southwest of the Beaufort Inlet Fort Macon jetty
  • Artificial Reef – 330 (Howard Chapin Reef) 11.8 nautical miles southwest of the Beaufort Inlet Fort Macon Jetty
  • Artificial Reef -345 (Swansboro Rotary Club Reef) 8.1 nautical miles southeast of the Bogue Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef -355 (New River Reef) 9.7 nautical miles south of the New River Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef -360 (Topsail Reef) 2.5 nautical miles east of the New Topsail Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef -362 (Tom Boyette Reef) 8.7 nautical miles east-southeast of the New Topsail Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef – 364 (Billy Murrell Reef) 6.2 nautical miles northeast of the Masonboro Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef – 372 (Bruce Barclay Cameron Memorial Reef) 5 nautical miles south-southeast of the Masonboro Inlet sea buoy

South of Cape Fear

  • Artificial Reef – 430 (Jim Knight Reef) 3.8 nautical miles east-southeast of the Lockwood’s Folly Inlet sea buoy

Buoys on another 25 artificial reefs will remain on station for two to four months longer until staff can verify that navigation charts accurately reflect their locations.

These Artificial Reef sites are:

North of Cape Hatteras

  • Artificial Reef – 140 (no official name) 8.9 nautical miles north of the Oregon Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef – 145 (no official name) 8.1 nautical miles northeast of Oregon Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef – 160 (Oregon Inlet Reef) 4.0 nautical miles south-southeast of the Oregon Inlet sea buoy

Cape Hatteras to Cape Lookout

  • Artificial Reef -220 (no official name) 4.9 nautical miles east-southeast of the Hatteras Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef – 225 (no official name) 6.2 nautical miles east-southeast of the Hatteras Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef – 250 (no official name) 5.1 nautical miles south-southeast of the Ocracoke Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef – 255 (no official name) 6.1 nautical miles south of the Ocracoke Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef – 275 (Billy Smith Reef) 2 nautical miles southeast of the north end of Drum Inlet
  • Artificial Reef – 285 (George Summerlin Reef) 4.4 nautical miles north-northeast of the Cape Lookout Shoal buoy R”2”

Cape Lookout to Cape Fear

  • Artificial Reef – 315 (Atlantic Beach Reef) 3.5 nautical miles West from Beaufort Inlet Fort Macon jetty
  • Artificial Reef – 342 (Onslow Bay Sport Fishing Club Reef) 3 nautical miles east-southeast of the Bogue Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef – 340 (J. Paul Tyndall Reef) 7 nautical miles east-southeast of the Bogue Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef – 366 (no official name) 30 nautical miles southeast of the Masonboro Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef – 368 (no official name) 15.5 nautical miles southeast of the Masonboro Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef – 370 (Meares Harris Reef) 3.5 nautical miles east of the Masonboro Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef – 376 (no official name) 9.9 nautical miles southeast of the Masonboro Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef – 378 (Phillip Wolfe Reef) 2.6 nautical miles south of the Carolina Beach Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef – 386 (Lennon / Hyde Reef) 17.8 nautical miles south-southeast of the Masonboro Inlet sea buoy

South of Cape Fear

  • Artificial Reef – 420 (Tom McGlammery Reef) 3.1 nautical miles north-northwest of the Cape Fear River sea bouy
  • Artificial Reef – 425 (Yaupon Beach Reef) 5 nautical miles north of the Cape Fear River sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef – 440 (Brunswick County Fishing Club Reef) 4.5 nautical miles south-southeast of the Lockwood’s Folly Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef – 445 (Dale McDowell Reef) 9.3 nautical miles south of the Lockwood’s Folly Inlet sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef – 455 (Dale Ward Reef) 10.6 nautical miles west of the Cape Fear River sea buoy
  • Artificial Reef – 460 (Jolly Mon Reef) 3.0 nautical miles south of the Shallotte Inlet sea buoy

These sites were first charted in the 1970s using the now antiquated LORAN radio navigation system. Since LORAN coordinates do not always accurately translate to GPS coordinates, the navigation charts need to be verified before the buoys can be removed.

For more information, contact Chris Jensen with the division’s Artificial Reef Program at 252-808-8051 or Chris.Jensen@ncdenr.gov or Gregg Bodnar, also with the Artificial Reef Program, at 252- 808-8053 or Gregg.Bodnar@ncdenr.gov.

 

###

Patricia Smith

Public Information Officer

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries

3441 Arendell St.

Morehead City, N.C. 28557

(252) 808-8025 (Office)

(252) 342-0642 (Mobile)

Tricia.Smith@ncdenr.gov

http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/

Posted by & filed under Recipes category.

Panko and Parmesan encrusted Mahi Mahi

Compliments THE WHITE OAK RIVER BISTRO Swansboro, NC

Ingredients:

6 to 8 ounce skinless, boneless Mahi steaks

2 cup Panko bread crumbs

2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

½ cup buttermilk

Seasoned flour for dredging (Old Bay, salt, pepper)

 

Method:

Dredge filets in seasoned flour. Dip in Buttermilk and then into bread crumb and cheese mix.

Saute in hot skillet with a small amount of olive oil. When filet begins to get golden brown , move

skillet to hot oven. Cook until fish easily flakes. Serve with lemon caper butter and fresh dill.

Posted by & filed under Recipes category.

Seafood stuffed Spanish Mackerel roulades

Compliments THE WHITE OAK RIVER BISTRO, Swansboro, NC

Ingredients:

8 skinless boneless Spanish mackerel filets

½ pound steamed shrimp

½ pound backfin crab meat

1 cup bread crumbs

3 T. diced onion

3T. diced red and green bell pepper

1 T. Old Bay seasoning

1 cup Mayo

Method:

Combine all ingredients except Spanish filets. Toss ingredients to hold mixture together.

Lay Spanish filet flat with skin side up. Place mix on filet and then roll up into roulade.

Place on baking sheet and brush with olive oil or melted butter. Broil or bake until fish is flaky and

stuffing is golden brown. Serve with lemon butter or tartar sauce

Posted by & filed under Fishing, Reports category.

Surf at Bogue Pier ranged from a Low of 79 to a high of 84  with an  average of 82.0, (blue diamonds). For the month we had flat horizontal line that fit the gyrating data. Bogue Sound (red squares) had a low of 79 and a high of 87-degrees with an average of 83.6-degrees.