Friday, May 4, 2012

Early May Rock Fishing

I love this time of year.  The moon is building and is to be the brightest it will be all year, the first weekend of May.  So that means that crabs are shedding and when the crabs shed...the fish eat!! So I took off this past Saturday evening (April 28) and head down the beach to try my luck. I go it alone as it was a spur of the moment trip.  After making a quick stop for gas, food and bait (bunker and fresh peeler crabs)...and a couple minutes airing down the tires, I'm on the beach and looking for a good spot that I think will produce a fish. It didn't take long to notice the fish were there as I saw 2 caught as I was riding down the beach. So in angst...I find a spot quick, and start at it. Well the evening starts to go on by when I get a hit...a darned skate.  Release..bait up and back at it. Now the sun is setting and dark is approaching faster by the minute when one of my poles bows up and starts singing (line alarm) to me! Music to my ears!! I get to the pole...and feel that it's a good sized fish. So after a fight of about 10 minutes, I beach the fish, in the dark. I couldn't tell at first what it was...but to my surprise was a nice sized Rock (Striped Bass)! I'm ecstatic...but yet, to my dismay, the season doesn't open until May 1st. So I take a quick measurement (41"), a few pics and back to the ocean this guy goes. That was it for the rest of the night. It was caught on peeler.

So a few days go by, and the itch to get down to the beach again is almost unbearable, when...I've got an idea! Thursday was shaping up to be a great day...with the high tide occurring about an hour before dark, I felt a half-day of work coming on! The plan is set and put into motion, I get off work about 12:30, stop to pick up my youngest, stop by the house to pick up my truck already loaded, and it's beach bound again. Made a stop for food and some snacks for the little guy, air down the tires and we're on the beach by 2. I usually fish 3-4 poles, so I'm getting the poles baited up and casted out...when I'm working on the 4th pole, and the 3rd poles line alarm starts clicking slowly. At first I didn't know what it was..figured it was a skate, run over to the pole...crank the line tight (as I use nothing but circle hooks) and all of a sudden the fish comes to life!! After a quick battle...I beach the fish, a nice fat 38" Rock. Perfect size to go in the cooler, because I like to EAT!! :-)  So my youngest takes a couple pics, and it's into the cooler he goes. Now usually it doesn't happen so quickly, so I'm STOKED!! First cast and a keeper fish. Both my boy and I were jumping around ecstatic!! Bait up and throw the pole out, and continue to work on the 4th rod I never got out.

Now, about an hour goes by, when I see a nice bump on one of my rods. The tide was incoming and the waves are increasing in size, but this was not a wave bump. So I go to check it out...and the line goes slack. The fish has picked up the bait and is swimming towards the beach. Not uncommon at I crank like crazy until the line goes tight, and fish on!! A short fight and couple minutes later, I land this 32". A legal size fish, but a couple pics later and he is returned to the ocean to fight another day.

About another later, and after having to move the truck back from the ocean as the tide is now pushing waves up close to and touching the tires on my truck.  This is the way it always happens it seems...I'm either moving the truck, eating a piece of chicken, or indisposed due to a bodily function! So I get out of the truck and notice one of my poles going crazy!  I run over to it, tighten the line..and fish on!! A few minutes go by and I've got feisty 36" Rock swimming at my feet. This one will be meeting a pile of crab meat and an oven in it's near future.
 Now that I've reached the legal limit for the amount of Rock I can keep, I debate fishing longer, but had bait that I had to use or lose. So I decided that another hour wouldn't hurt as the change of the tide is just about upon us. So I bait up and cast back out. It wasn't 30 minutes later, one of my rods goes down hard and line is leaving the reel in a hurry. I wasn't worried about getting spooled as I my cast was short. These fish feed right in the breakers, and most times, people cast right over them and never even know they're there.  I get to the rod and right away feel that it's a strong fish...noting the head shake and relentless pulling. After about a 15 minute fight, the fish is in the swash and still feisty as ever. I use a wave to beach the fish...and at my feet lay a nice 38" Rock. I had already had my limit so a couple pics later...and I release him back into the Atlantic.
After an eventful afternoon, my youngest says he is ready to go home, worn out from playing in the sand. I agree that by the time I get done packing up, put air back in the tires and commute will be close to dark. And with that...the fishing trip is over and we head home. And this is only the first week of May! I can't wait to see what the rest of May has in store. Tight lines.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Drum Fishing

After a month of planning, I took off this past Friday (April 20th) with a couple buddies and headed to where the fish were starting to show up, down on the Eastern Shore of VA.  We arrived at the island not long after 7am, and after loading up the cart to head down the beach, we had bait in the water at approx. 7:30. The first hour was pretty uneventful as the island has transitioned greatly from when I was there last year.  When we first setup, the tide was almost high, so we weren't sure of the structure located in front of us. After a couple hang-ups and the loss of a rig or two, I knew we had to move or it would be a long day.  So I packed up my couple rods and ventured further south down the beach. After finding a good spot, I called my buddies up and told them they ought to come down and join me. Now it's about 9am when we're done relocating and are fishing the new spot with renewed optimism.  Not 45 minutes goes by, and my buddies rod goes down hard. As you can see from the pics, it was difficult to walk along the beach, let alone run to a bent rod with more and more line being stripped from the reel with every step. Once he was to his fishing pole, he set the hook and the battle was on.  Besides taking a quick break to smile for the camera, the fish put up a pretty good fight.  Once in the swash...we finally made a visual of the fish when it's tail came up out of the water. Red Drum!  The fish we were after for is now swimming at our feet...and tiring from the fierce battle it had just put up! Finally I feel the time is right to make an effort to grab and beach the drum.  After taking a quick measurement and a couple of pics, it was time to put the 40" drum back in the water to fight again another day. Nothing else really showed up the rest of the day except for a 4' shark and a couple of skates.  However, overall...the day was a great one spent down on a remote island with just me a some friends. Much better than a day of work! Hoping to do it again....

Friday, April 6, 2012

A pirate perch located in my ditch. Caught using dog food and a minnow trap! 3-4" long.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

Son Parker holding the pirate perch!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

ORV Rule & Keeping the Beaches OPEN

I've included a link to the Human Rights Petition started on, that is being sent to The U.S. Senate: Remove the "ORV Rule & Keep the Beaches Open & Provide Free & Open Access"

Everyone please take a couple minutes to sign and comment and DEFINITELY pass this along to others as there is still a long ways to go to reach the 100,000 signature goal.

Thank you!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Restricted Public Access in Hatteras

The following is VCAN's (Virginia Costal Access Now) respose to the Va. Pilot article on access in Hatteras.

VCAN on access to Hatteras 02/14/12
What the outsiders have accomplished.

The Pilot’s view expressed in “Hatteras Still Open For Business”; 02/06/12, is rather typical of the media attention that has been paid to this public shoreline access issue.

The opinion suggesting that beach driving and other public access has been unfettered and unrestricted up to this point seems disingenuous at best. But to conclude that the new rules have been established and are the result of a “good-faith effort” is blind, uninformed, or meant to misinform.

The baselines for the new rules were agreed upon in court a few years ago, and the public had no say in the matter. The National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) rulemaking process that has ensued, has been flawed every step of the way, and has merely been used to support the previous bad court decisions made. This is evident in the suit filed by the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance (CHAPA), a coalition of Dare and Hyde Counties, public access organizations, and outdoor recreation groups. CHAPA’s legal action captures and seeks redress to the fact that the National Park Service (NPS) didn’t even follow its own rules in developing this plan.

This sort of backroom rulemaking is not a unique phenomenon to Cape Hatteras. Other parks and public lands have seen public access curtailed when non-governmental organizations sue the federal government over a technicality. Years of studies and rulemaking then take place at the taxpayer’s expense. In essence we are all paying to be shut out of our own public lands.

The NEPA process requires that all impacts to the environment be assessed formulating rules and regulations. This also includes the human environment. Unfortunately, the NPS has not done its due diligence in studying and assessing the cultural and socio-economic impacts of the new rules. In addition, the science used to determine impacts of public access to wildlife resources is questionable at best. The public comment portions of the NEPA process have raised these issues. Each time this has occurred, the Park Service has simply shrugged these comments off and tweaked the rules to be more restrictive than the last round. This is far from a “good-faith effort”.

The Park Service should be required to develop the rules and regulations the proper way. Incomplete studies and analyses are not good enough. We should expect thorough, fair, and complete policy making from those that manage our public lands. This includes the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area as established in 1952.

The final rule that goes into effect February 15, 2012 unnecessarily impedes off road vehicles and restricts public access even for those on foot. This heavy handed government action driven by the outside Hatteras forces does not follow Congress’s original intent when they established the park with an emphasis on public access for American families to the seashore some sixty years ago.

The outsiders have inappropriately accomplished many things including drastically altering the Hatteras people’s local culture. A National Park where public access should be first and foremost now resembles a National Wildlife Refuge and not the nation’s first National Seashore that was created because of the continued loss of public access to America’s beaches. Congratulations and see you in court.

Mark Feltner, President