FDS: November 2003 Archives

November 21, 2003

About The Flounder

It's a gif I copied from a home page at the University of Delaware Graduate College of Marine Studies--this one, in fact. I wrote Dr. Targett when ya'll wondered about its provenance.

Got an email back from him, today.

It's a rather stylized flounder (a good amount of 'artistic' latitude) but based on the summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus). It was produced by the graphics group in our Marine Public Education Office.

Timothy E. Targett <;)::-<<
University of Delaware
Graduate College of Marine Studies
Lewes, DE 19958 USA

Posted by Bigwig at 08:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 20, 2003

Water Temps

Here's a current water temperature map for the Outer Banks. Here's the page you'll need to find the most current map in days to come.

Here are the historical maps for January 16th 2000, 2001 and 2002, or as close as I can get to that day and still show some information.

Finally, here's a temperature convertor.

From what I can tell, water temps normally at Cape Point range from 53 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit--a significant difference from Oregon Inlet, where temps look to range from 46 to 53.

The range for Hatteras Inlet--maybe 50 to 55?

Come the trip, where we fish will obviously depend on the current maps, but right now, based on the historical temps, I'd argue we'd be better off closer to the point than at either of the inlets. From what I understand, water temps in the forties are too low for good striper fishing in any case, plus the warmer water might still hold drum, grey trout and some specks.

Posted by Bigwig at 01:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Outdoors at The N&O

What to expect when fishing Cape Point.

Locals call it "The Point." There's no other place like it, and it very well may be the fishiest place along the entire East Coast. At times, this is full-contact, competition fishing in which anglers elbow their way into the crowd to hurl half-pound hunks of lead and chunks of mullet to 50-plus-pound drum, cobia, striped bass and tarpon.

Gray Trout Beckon

While many popular species of saltwater game fish migrate to warmer waters during winter, at least one species stays around. Gray trout, also known as weakfish, form huge schools around artificial reefs and natural ledges near the beach.

That should be enough to pull anglers out of the comfort of home on a cold day. However, even fair-weather fishermen can take advantage of warm, windless days that occur all winter long.

Gray trout make their strongest showing in November as the water temperature hits the mid-60s. They can be caught in water temperatures near 50, but disappear or become dormant when temperatures dip into the 40s.

Specks In The Surf

Water temperature is a critical factor. It dominates the availability of food and trout physiology. The fish start showing and feeding in the surf in large numbers when the water temperature eases into the upper 60s, around 68 degrees or so.

As the water cools from the 60s to 50s (especially below 52 degrees) and into the 40s, trout schools become more and more compact and the fish less active, making them harder to find, less aggressive as they feed and harder to catch. Slow-moving plugs and grubs are critical under these conditions. A slow retrieval sequence -- crank, pause, jerk-jerk, pause, crank and so on -- is a good approach for these conditions.

Posted by Bigwig at 12:51 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 17, 2003


Mason's comment on spreading out the costs caused me to think about this. Right now there are somewhere between 4 and 8 of us going, depending on the wives react. Should we invite more? Considering that 22 person houses are going for less than $600 a week, we could really knock down the costs. On the other hand, there's the trouble of dealing with a larger crowd, though we are at least used to that dealing with that from the fall trips.

I know of at least a couple of people I that might want to go on the trip, though I've yet to say anything to them. I'm also assuming that everyone who went on the fall trip knows about the winter one by now as well, and that might not be true.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Centrifugal vs. Mag Reels

Can anyone explain to me the benefits of a mag reel as opposed to a centrifugal one?

Digital Dagger has a mag conversion kit for my reel, and I'm wondering whether or not it would be a worthwhile purchase.

Is there any real (reel) difference that makes one kind better than another?

Opinions appreciated

Posted by colin at 10:40 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

November 16, 2003

is the flounder ok?

while the drum and pompano at the top of the FDS page look fine, i think the flounder has a case of pfisteria...i mean, what is the deal with the eyes? if i ever caught a flounder looking like that, i would take it to the closest aquarium for testing!

Posted by Kevin at 08:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 14, 2003

Super Gulp!

Has anyone used these?

From the manufacturer's site.
"All other plastic baits are oil based", said John Prochnow, Berkley Chemical Engineer. "As such, these oil based worms mask many of the very scents fish detect as food. But with Gulp!, we use only water-soluble natural ingredients and more of the scents and flavors we've found in our research that are favored by game fish. These are included in the formula when we make Gulp! products."

"Since Gulp! is water soluble, these scents and flavors are released into the water 412 times faster than oil based plastic baits. This generates a much broader zone of influence for the bait and we've proven that more fish are caught using Gulp! than the other plastic baits on the market."

And because Gulp! is made from all natural ingredients the bait is 100 percent biodegradable. Anglers get the shape, action and color advantages of plastic baits with the super intense scent of the chemicals fish desire in a bait that totally dissolves in just 9 months or less if left in the water. "But don't let the biodegradable feature be misleading", added Prochnow. "Gulp! baits are extremely durable and last fish after fish.
"Fish can't resist Gulp! baits. They even outfish live bait," said Dr. Keith Jones, Director of Fish Research at Berkley. "Their look, shape and size is very natural. And like the real thing, anglers can rig these Gulp! baits one at a time or thread multiple baits on the hook."

You can see the lures they offer here.

I've written to ask how they function in saltwater, especially as compared with a live eel, but haven't heard back yet.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 13, 2003

stripers at the inlet

just saw in today's N&O where the stripers, albeit small, have shown up at oregon inlet. they are running about 17lbs. great news! this means the larger ones are on the way. they are still catching big reds off portsmouth at the north end, which is southpoint at ocracoke, and a 75lb. black drum was caught off atlantic beach, or near there. boy, it will be interesting to see what this cold front tonight and tomorow does to the fishing.

Posted by Kevin at 05:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Addl houses

Here are some more: Beach House on the Moon . I like the loft and view we would have for scouting the surf. Costs for 3 days would be $375 plus $75 reservation & $37 cleaning fee, total of $487. All of Hatteras Realty house will have the addl $75 & $37 added plus 3 days are based on 1/2 weekly rent. Here's a few more: Neelon The total is $437. Finally there's the Lydia . Now was my first attempt at trying to copy these links over. Hope it works. All of these houses were in Avon.

Posted by Mason at 03:41 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

November 12, 2003

Water Temps

Interesting to follow this and compare w/fishing news & reports. Our very own Diamond Shoals is still reporting water temp of 65.7F. Va Beach is not reporting. Cape May, NJ and Long Island, NY both are around 57-58F. I am sure that is why the rocks have kicked into high gear up north. We really need to focus on the water temps and see how they compare to the fishing reports. I am sure as the water temps drop, the fish will follow south. It may be of interest to see if we can follow the temps/fishing reports and hopefully have a high degree of predictability as to our success before we leave. However, I am sure by January we'll have some cold water with 85 gazillion stripers swimming in it!! Probably be so thick, we can grab a few each day by hand in the shallow water.

Posted by Mason at 02:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 11, 2003

They're on the way

40 million stripers are off the coast of New York, headed south.

All morning, Crescitelli and DiBenedetto pulled out stripers at will - using nothing but a plastic lure that looked about as much like a fish as a scarecrow resembles an angry farmer.

"These fish are in such a frenzy to fuel up for the migration that they'll chase anything that moves," DiBenedetto explained.

Even the Gnome, whose orca-like consumption of fish should not be mistaken for skill in the acquisition of fish, caught two 25-ounce beauts on his first three casts.

DiBenedetto and Crescitelli were like fishermen in a candy store, catching fish, posing for photos, and high-fiving - even though they always return their catch to the water.

"That way, I can catch him again someday," DiBenedetto said. But when he finally pulled in a 14-pounder, we decided that this was not just a beautiful striper, but dinner.

Posted by Bigwig at 11:50 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 08, 2003

Extra Accommodations

just heard back from mike and he will be down for that trip. his place can sleep three extra people if needed. he said the stripers will definetly be there but he also encouraged all of us to take a light trout rod a well! apparantly the specks and greys will be moving in the surf during this time. i have never targeted trout i the surf, but this sounds like it could be exciting. if we end up with more people than space, just let me know so i can get back with mike and finalize a few things.

Posted by Kevin at 03:25 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 07, 2003

More Striper Knowledge

Here, and here.

Also, since we're not booking a house till January, we'll want to pay close attention to the fishing reports. If the water's gotten cold and all the stripers have moved south, then we may want to follow them. Take a look at this water temp chart, you'll see what I mean.

On the other hand, we may want to go now.

Also, the same site that has the water temp chart lists Cape Point, Hatteras Inlet and Ocracoke Inlet as the best places to fish in January. Maybe he knows something we don't?

Posted by Bigwig at 09:36 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Curt's family

Curt's step father died Wednesday evening. He had been diagnosed w/cancer some time ago. Please keep Curt and the family in your thoughts. Funeral service is tomorrow at 11:00am at Immanual Baptist Church in G'ville. I will going down for the day if anyone wants to go call me @ 919-852-6002 before 5 today.
Kevin, I'll have some time after the service not sure what Curt will be doing after the funeral. Usually family and stuff are hanging out. I'd like to be able to spend a little time with him as well as stopping by and visiting w/you and see the house, say hello to Laura and talk fishing if you'll be around. If you are going to the funeral, I'll see you there, if not post your address or some directions so I can find you. I guess it would be around noon when I finish the funeral so early afternoon will be my visiting time.

Posted by Mason at 10:49 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 06, 2003


If I'm reading this right, We can keep two stripers over 18 inches a day fishing Oregon Inlet, and three over 18 inches fishing from Cape Point or Hatteras Inlet

Posted by Bigwig at 09:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Striped Bass

From the Red Bible, Coastal Fishing in the Carolinas

Striped bass or rock (Morone saxatilis) have come back to the North Carolina coast after a twenty-year hiatus. Two groups of stripers (also called rockfish) provide excitement from small boats, the surf, and piers, with everybody after them from fly-fishermen to charter boat skippers. The two centers of activity are the shoals at Oregon Inlet for the breeding stock of larger oceanic coastal migratory fish (including the Chesapeake Bay, Hudson River, Connecticut River, and other northern stocks), and the Manns Harbor bridge for smaller but more numerous stripers of the Pamlico-Albemarle stock. They all take anything anywhere, but the favorite baits are white, yellow, or green bugeye bucktail jigs sweetened with curly-tails, which bear no resemble at all to any natural foods.

The populations of coastal breeders from North Carolina to New York have expanded thanks to a moratorium on taking striped bass from the ocean, initiated by the Atlantic States Marine Fisher-ies Commission (ASMFC) in co-operation (sometimes grudgingly) with the states and Corps of Engineers. Let me emphasize that no action has been so important in bringing back the coastal striped bass as the ASMFC moratorium on the taking of all striped bass, an action that in just a decade brought these fish back from virtual economic extinction to today's healthy population levels.

Not all striped bass populations were depleted. The Hudson River population was not depleted because of a prohibition on com-mercial fishing based on poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in their flesh.

The Chesapeake population, the most important, was badly overfished, and the commercial and recreational moratorium enabled their recovery.

The North Carolina stock has been depleted for years by commercial overfishing of both wild and hatchery-produced fish. The population was saved by an agreement by the Army Corps of Engineers, National Marine Fisheries Service, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, and N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries. That agreement guaranteed that the Corps would operate the Lake Gaston Dam to maintain precise flows throughout the Roanoke River during the breeding season for this North Carolina stock. The flow would be maintained at just the level to keep the eggs floating so they would be ready to hatch upon arrival in the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound. In water flowing too slowly (inadequate dam release), the eggs would sink and die beneath silt or hatch in plankton-poor river water before they reached the sound. In water flowing too fast, they would not yet be ready to hatch when they reached the sound and would be gobbled up by egg-eating predators.

Managing dam releases accomplished what hatchery stockings could not—produce enough striped bass to open a limited sport fishery for inside waters. However, it could not have been done without limits on commercial takings. In 1996, the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries began allowing two big fish per day per person on the beaches until the end of December or until a target quota was landed. Commercial fishermen could take a different quota as a by-catch, but not enough to stimulate a directed fishery. Those two fisheries, inland and beach, have brought the fish and the fishermen back to the Outer Banks. And many fishermen are now going home with fish and not just stories.

The center of action for the inshore Albemarle-Pamlico-Roanoke fish is the Washington Baum Bridge between the mainland and the northwestern tip of Roanoke Island. Better known as the Manns Harbor bridge because of Manns Harbor Marina at its western end, the bridge is a low structure across shallow Croatan Sound. According to marina owner Dallas Morris, Jr., small boat fishermen have great catchand-release fishing for stripers all year, but really pour in when the two fish a day keeper season opens. The best bait is a heavy white or green jig with a twisty tail worked right up against the bridge stanchions. Masses of trucks and small boats negotiate the pot-holed parking area in front of the boat ramps, and every now and then somebody fails to heed the warning signs and hits a pot-hole, then dumps his boat off the trailer.

Out in the sound, dozens of small boats ply the quiet waters at the stanchions, or they head a quarter mile out to try trolling or plunking and retrieving jigs mostly near the middle of the bridge. Eddie Chessick, a port agent for the statistical section of the N.C. Division of Marine Fish-eries, keeps tabs on catches at the Manns Harbor bridge, and is a good contact to learn about re-cent action. The marina hosts a cash tournament for the largest stripers weighed in alive during the open season. For information, call Manns Harbor Marina and Motel at 252-473-5150.

Boaters fishing up against the violent shoals get the largest and most fish, but shorebound fishermen can fish the beach or from the Oregon Inlet bridge and do well also. Although white bugeye jigs with soft curly-tails are most popular, anything works when striped bass are hitting. When they're not hitting or when you're working the open beach, it's hard to beat a live eel. You can often get them at T.I.'s Bait and Tackle on the 158 Bypass in Nags Head.

Large popping plugs are also fun, and plenty of stripers are taken on heavy metal jigs. You don't need to cast far for these fish, as striped bass will practically beach themselves to feed on baitfish in the surf. Spearfishing in Cape Cod, I once chased a 20-pounder so close to the beach that I had to break off to avoid getting mashed by the waves onto the rocks in two feet of water.

The overwintering Bodie Island striped bass gorge on oily anchovies, baby menhaden and shad, and in some years also lots of silver perch or related small drums. So many fish from different river stocks all converge here because it's the best place to build up high energy fatty deposits and reproductive and immune systems. The fish then disperse back to their separate natal rivers, not unlike salmon, to spawn and continue the genetic uniqueness of their individual populations.


The Chesapeake Bay fish migrate south and overwinter in the waters off the Outer Banks. Here, before the moratorium, commercial fishermen would seek calm days in midwinter and venture out to the deep waters south of Cape Hatteras, setting drop nets (sunken gill nets) on the bottom in hopes of finding the overwintering fish. Sometimes those fish came in close to the beaches, and haul-seiners operating from a small boat and a pickup truck used to fill boxes and barrels with 30-pounders, to the dismay of recreational fishermen. As often happens with sea trout, the stripers on the beach were taken in numbers by netters while completely ignoring baits tossed by anglers.


The best shore-based fishing is in North Carolina at Oregon Inlet (beach and bridge) and the Point at Buxton and False Point at the end of Hatteras Island in the winter, but the fish may hit beaches anywhere from Duck to Cape Lookout, from November to March. Jetties, piers, and the numerous inland sound bridges are all top spots, especially where rocks and river flows bring hordes of baitfish.

Inlet fishing is best from a bridge or jetty, if available, on a strong, outgoing tide. Cape fishing might be good on any tide. The best times are often sundown or at night. The water should have a chop but be clear and clean, rather than murky, and should be loaded with baitfish. Casters in the Carolinas prefer big Hopkins spoons or very large popping (blunt-headed) plugs fitted with a treble hook and white bucktail. Plugs might be blue and white or white with a red head. Other lures should have both the weight for casting and a bit of red somewhere. An eighteen-inch length of heavy, forty to sixty pound test monofilament suffices as a leader unless big bluefish are in the vicinity, and then sixty pound-test wire is preferred. Snaps and swivels are always kept to a minimum and painted black.

Lures are worked right behind and then through the largest waves or the roughest surf on a beach, or parallel (as much as possible) to structures.

Meat baits can also be used for striped bass, or they can be used to sweeten an artificial lure. Popular meat baits are a whole crab, whole bloodworm, or live eel on a bottom rig. Dead eels can be rigged for casting, with one hook through the nose and out the gullet and a second hook midway back and out the belly. Rigged eels are especially effective from jetties. Studies of the overwintering breeding stock show that they feed very little on bottom invertebrates, and almost entirely on small anchovies, shad, and menhaden. That's consistent with New England studies that show them feeding there on sand launce, another small (three to five inches), narrow (almost cylindrical), silver and white forage fish common over sandy bottoms.

Posted by Bigwig at 09:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

TICA's on sale

TICA surf rods are on sale at DigitalDagger.com. $80 for the 2 piece 11 footer that Kevin likes and uses. Most other places I found are still running them @ $109. Sounds like I'll be sending Santa to there website. Haven't found any Penn 525 Mags on sale and never will!!

Posted by Mason at 04:47 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Outdoors at the N&O

Bait Rigs for Surf Casting

McBane likes fish-finder rigs for drum. The heart of the fish-finder is a nylon slide that allows the sinker to move freely on the line. The slide stops at a barrel swivel, and a monofilament leader is tied between the swivel and hook. When the fish picks up the bait, it doesn't feel the drag of a heavy sinker, and the angler is connected directly to the fish.

"It's important to tie the fish-finder leaders very short to reduce the 'helicopter' effect when casting. When the bait spins in a circle, the distance of your cast will be shortened considerably. I make mine no more than 3 inches long," McBane said.

When fishing with live bait, McBane said he likes a Carolina rig, a long, cylinder style weight in front of a leader, tied to the hook.

"I use them for any live bait, from mullets to eels," he said. "When fishing for flounder with live mullet, I'll rig a 2/0 circle hook with 20-pound test monofilament or fluorocarbon leader," he said. "During striper season on the Outer Banks, when live eels are the hot bait, I like 4/0 to 6/0 circle hooks with 30- to 40-pound test monofilament leader."

Vic D'Amato is a Raleigh angler who spends a considerable amount of time along the coastal beaches. He prefers to fish with artificial lures, but sometimes the fish want the only real thing, so he switches to natural baits, which he presents on a few proven rigs. D'Amato also likes fish-finders for drum and stripers, and, like McBane, he prefers Carolina rigs for live bait.

"I use a one-quarter to 2-ounce trolling sinker with a swivel on one end attached to a 18- to 30-inch fluorocarbon leader with a wide-gap hook for fishing live finger mullet for flounder, trout or blues in surf sloughs and around inlets," he said.

He also likes pieces of fresh mullet, fished on fireball rigs, for bluefish and puppy drum.

A fireball rig features two hooks with a brightly painted float tied directly in front of each hook. Fireballs have a reputation for being deadly on bluefish. The blues are voracious predators and quickly are attracted to the color and movement of the floats.

His third choice is a simple, two-hook bottom rig. Sold without hooks or a sinker, these rigs are universally popular among saltwater anglers and primarily are designed for smaller fish that feed in the surf.

Bill Berryhill, also from Raleigh, had just returned from a trip to Cape Hatteras when he offered some thoughts on his favorite bottom rigs, and he echoed D'Amato's preference for the basic, two-hook bottom rig.

"I've probably caught more fish in the surf with this over-the-counter rig than any other, primarily because of its versatility," Berryhill said. "Simply by snapping on small or large hooks and varying the type of baits used, the surf angler can target smaller fish such as spots, pompano and croakers. Or he can go after medium size fish such as sea mullet, gray trout, blues, flounder and black drum.

"If I could only carry one rig to the beach, the plain, old two-drop bottom would be my choice, plus plenty of different-size hooks."

Posted by Bigwig at 04:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Two Huge, Cheap Soundfronts

At Pirates Cove.

Here, and Here.

Not that we want to book either of these, actually. But it does illustrate how cheap real estate is at that time of year.

Also: The Pirate's Cove Fishing Report

Posted by Bigwig at 10:50 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Cockpuker Ahoy!

Tommy is tentatively cleared for the Striper trip.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:30 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 04, 2003

January Stripers

Per Mason's post below, I've been cleared for a January Striper trip, which is supposedly a good month to go

January is probably the best month in a series of excellent months for ocean-bound striper fishing along the northern Outer Banks.

The Oregon Inlet area is the take-off point for almost all of the action, which involves a group of big stripers that may have migrated south from as far away as Long Island and Cape Cod.

The first spot to check is the shoals around Oregon Inlet, where fish may school up for most of the winter, depending on water temperatures. Casting spoons, big lipless crankbaits or soft-plastic jerkbaits can be very productive. But normally, at least by mid-January, fish have moved a couple of miles off the beach and are schooling in 30 to 60 feet of water.

MLK day is the 19th. We could go Friday, fish Saturday and Sunday, then return.

Update: Talked to Hatteras Realty. Unless we book for a week, we have to wait until January 2nd to book a house. According to the girl on the phone, that shouldn't be a problem . There is a three night minimum, cost is about half of what a week would cost. So we could get this house, for instance, for something around $400, though they'll likely add on taxes and fees. This one is even cheaper, but sleeps only 6. I figure the trip, no matter what size we book, will cost something @ $75 per person in the end.

However, if someone wants to book something cheaper and organize this themselves, feel free.

Posted by Bigwig at 01:05 PM | Comments (24) | TrackBack

Striper trip

Anyone interested in a trip for stripers? Has to be a short one, maybe a long weekend or something. Late November/December is usually a good month. But, unless we get some cold weather and the water temps drop, who knows when the stripers will arrive. Stripers will hang near shore until water temps hit the low 40's. BRRRRR, that's cold!! Fish exactly like we do for the drum as far as gear, methods & bait. So we already have everything we need. Location would need to move north up to Cape Point area or Oregon Inlet. The striper fishing is getting better every year of late. Some of these fish run into the 30/40 pound range. Sounds like something I'd like to try, anybody else?

Posted by Mason at 12:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 03, 2003

Chum Fishing

If I can't be frozen, this is what I want to be.

Joyce Yoder of Pearland will take a boat to her husband William's grave site, an artificial reef in 75 feet of water, and cast a line so she can "fish off Bill."

Posted by Bigwig at 08:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Never Underestimate the power of Prayer

Got a note in my inbox from Wayne Hegamyer, the fellow who was on the island with us for most of the week. I last saw him when he dropped by to chat with Dad and I on the day he was to leave the island. He'd yet to have much luck for the week.

It was great meeting many of your group recently. What a nice annual outing for a group of old friends.

In looking at your FDS site recently, I saw several complaining about parking. My brother has an empty soundfront lot next to Property # 28
(Anticipation) in the Ocracoke Island Realty listings. I will be glad to ask him but I am sure he would be happy to have you use it for parking it that would help you. This is at the end of British Cemetary Road. His lot is the last on the left with the dock.

......On the last day we were on the island, I was standing in the small breakers where we had caught a small drum the prior day and prayed for a fish before leaving. I prayed "Lord I have been patient all week and you above all know that I will release this fish unharmed. I can only fish another 10 minutes and I want to catch a drum NOW!"

Had one (24") on the beach in 5 minutes and was released unharmed for another day. We left promptly after the release.

Nice fish.

Posted by Bigwig at 10:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack