I’m not what you’d consider a “beach dude”. But shore fishing in the ocean is one thing on the beach I can appreciate. With a cooler stocked with Miller High Life, finger Mullet and Shrimp me and my buddies hit the shores of the Outer Banks in North Carolina last week in hopes of hooking a bluefish, flounder, shark or whatever would put up a good fight.
To spoil the story…we didn’t do so hot. A few factors were working against us. Clumps of dead grass carried in by the tide constantly tangled our rigs. Fishing as the tide went out helped to keep us out of the weeds giving a better presentation for the bait. Our gear seemed undersized as well as most folks were using 8-10 foot rods stuck into the open end of a 3-4 foot PVC pipe as a holder.
All my buddies on the trip are freshwater fisherman. We took the heaviest gear we use here in Michigan, mainly our catfish combos. We used 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 foot, heavy action rods with both baitcasting and spinning reels with 15-17 lb mono. We bought triangle weights, 4-6 oz, steel leader rigs and 2/0 and 3/0 circle hooks from the local bait shop. Presenting the bait is simple. Cast where the waves break, just past the mud line, and try to keep your bait from washing ashore. Place the rod up right in a PVC pipe stuck into the sand. Then…wait. And drink beer.
With little luck on the beach, we followed a tip from a guy at the bait shop and headed to a rock jetty at the Oregon Inlet, near Rodanthe. A beautiful delta dotted with duck blinds connects the Pamilco Sound on the west side of the islands to the Atlantic Ocean on the east side. Big cobia were reported to be caught in the area. We hiked out to the spot and my buddy hooked this clearnosed skate. Considered a garbage fish by saltwater fisherman, we were just happy to some some strange looking fish on the line.
At the inlet some anglers were fly-fishing for redfish and puppy drums but weren’t very successful. This time of year the action seems to be best off-shore. Charter’s docked with limits of Mahi and BIG cobia while we were there.
If you’re a freshwater fisherman who wants to try something new in a beautiful location, head for the Outer Banks. The non-resident license is only $10 and I spent a total of $40 on bait and tackle for the entire week. Our lodging was affordable (a four-story house with private pool and hot tub) and right on the beach. I was told the surf fishing gets better in the fall when the Stripped Bass are in. With the beautiful sunsets over the sound I don’t think it’d be hard to convince my wife to head back in a couple of months.