This post is the start of the current trip: Salty Memories Part 4 - Familiar Places with New Faces. Part five focused on our trip over to the Fort Fisher area and can be found here: Salty Memories Part 5 - Fish Everywhere But No Fishing! This post will be the wrap up of this installment of Salty Memories, and yes, finally, it's time to talk all about the fishing.
I've come to the conclusion that I must be crazy. That's the only explanation that I can come up with for someone who goes on vacation and sets an alarm for 5:00 am or earlier every single day that they are there. There's something wrong with waking up earlier on vacation than you do to go to work, but I did. Every day. However, as crazy as it may sound to some folks, I think anybody who fishes and reads this will understand. I'm not crazy, just crazy about fishing.
|Salt Marsh Buck|
Our arrival at the island on Saturday, July 1 started with Trent and I going to catch our bait for the next day's fishing. Speckled trout fishing from the piers on the island is mainly a live bait affair, with the bait of choice being live shrimp. There are several places that these can be caught with a cast net and a little effort, but the best time to catch shrimp in most areas is at low tide when the shrimp have fewer areas to hide in. Low tide on Saturday morning was at roughly 8:30, and since Oak Island is a four and a half to five hour ride from home, we left at 4:00 am to be sure of catching the tide. After an hour or so of throwing the nets, we had a bucket full of shrimp ready to go for the next morning.
|Whiting From The Surf|
A lot of the fishing at Oak Island is dependent on the wind. A strong southwest wind had been blowing for a few days before our arrival, and was forecast to continue at least through Tuesday morning. This meant that the water in the ocean was very stirred up and dirty, which usually means that the fishing on the pier will be difficult at best, at least for trout. With this in mind, Trent, Luke, and I decided to do some fishing on the inland side of the island. We started out at daylight throwing topwater lures, but didn't have much interest from the trout. Trent and I switched over to throwing popping corks with artificial shrimp and Trent hooked up with the first trout of the trip.
The next morning, with the wind still blowing and the ocean still full of sand, Luke and I went back to where we fished Sunday morning. Once again, we tried topwater at first, which Luke has a lot of success with, but the wind was making it difficult to work the lure properly. I decided to give the popping cork another try, and wound up hooking up with a nice trout about 18' long. That was about all the action that morning other than Luke catching a bluefish on his topwater bait. Still, it was nice to get the first fish of the trip out of the way.
|First Trout Of The Trip|
We fished this area a few more times over the course of the week, and had a little more success with live shrimp fished under corks. Trent hooked a nice black drum fishing shrimp, and we had a few missed strikes and caught a few pinfish as well. However, this was always our Plan B spot, although with the water conditions it became Plan A more mornings than not. However, our luck changed on Monday afternoon when the wind calmed down and became more south-southwest instead of directly out of the southwest. After the wind changed, the high tide brought in cleaner water than we had seen up to that point, and we decided if conditions held it would be an ideal morning to fish the pier on Tuesday.
|Croaker From The Surf|
We had high hopes that Wednesday would bring more of the same, but although we fished the pier again Wednesday morning the water had begun to dirty again and the trout just weren't willing to bite. However, Trent seemed determined to catch every species of fish in the sea. Over the course of a week he hooked up with black drum, speckled trout, a small blacktip shark, several ladyfish, a ribbon fish, silver perch, pinfish, bluefish, and whiting. Most of these came from the pier during our two days of pier fishing, with the majority being on Wednesday. Once the water dirtied up, we went back to fishing inshore for the rest of the week.
|Trout From The Pier|
Overall, it was a great trip spent with the family and catching up with one of my oldest and best friends. Even on days when the fish weren't cooperating, there is something special about watching the sun rise over the ocean and being out on the beach before everyone wakes up. This has always been one of my favorite times at the beach, and I'm glad I got the opportunity to go. If you are ever down at Oak Island, my suggestion is set your alarm for 5:00 am and enjoy the sunrise over the water. If you do, you may not think I'm quite so crazy after all. Thanks for coming along with me on this sandy ramble.