If you came to the Crystal Coast this week, you picked a spectacular early spring week. While there have been a few clouds and some wind, this has been a great week to be on the beach or sample some of the area’s waters. The blue skies have been spectacular in the mornings.
This past Wednesday, I was on the water around noon showing the White Oak River to some very nice folks who are relocating to the area. While out cruising around what I consider my backyard playground on the water, I noticed that the water temperature was just under seventy degrees Fahrenheit.
Heading back to the dock, the air had that feel of late spring. Wednesday felt nothing like the weather we had in February or early March. Instead it was just like so many other times when you come off the river in early spring. The river typically has some wind. When you pull into Raymond’s Gut that leads into Bluewater Cove, all of a sudden the breeze disappears. The waters quieten, and warmth surrounds you. You often see a white heron hanging around in the sun’s heat We even saw one of those herons on the way back to the dock on Wednesday around noon.
There is no doubt that this past Wednesday was a near perfect late spring day. After the boat ride, I took my wife to a late lunch at Nicky’s and noticed that the predicted winds still had not shown up. We had a great lunch, and then I made the decision that this was going to be the afternoon for my first spring fishing trip.
I called my fishing buddy, Dean, and asked him if he would like to try a little early spring fishing. I knew he would say yes. We agreed to meet at my boat dock in thirty minutes after I picked up some shrimp for bait, and some ice for coolers. We moved the car from Nicky’s to Clyde Phillips, and I headed inside with my standard little blue cooler which travels in our car and on the boat.
While Jimmy weighed out some shrimp for me, I got in a conversation with the “town council” which was holding court in the rocking chairs by the fish counter. We ended up taking about spring weather, and how different it can be. They finally got me to talk about Canadian snow after I mentioned that some friends from New Brunswick had been down the week before and had left their home in Tay Creek, New Brunswick with 5.5 ft of snow on the ground. I told them about the time they cancelled school in our spot of Canada when the snow was so high that they were afraid kids would touch power lines while playing on snow drifts.
After making a graceful exit by leaving the town council with the tidbit that my youngest daughter was born in New Brunswick when it was forty below zero, we headed back home stopping only to fill the car with some gas and to pick up a bag of ice.
I barely had time to coat myself with zinc oxide and sun screen and load the cooler when Dean showed up. We got the fishing gear on board along with the assorted boating gear that makes for a safe trip and headed out to the White Oak.
It took us about six or seven minutes from our dock to one of our favorite fishing holes which was recently featured on page 46 of the February 2011 North Carolina Sportsman. In fact if you look closely at the picture on that page, you can see the deck of my house. You can also see Red Sixteen which is the buoy where we turn into Bluewater Cove.
While I never mind sharing my fishing holes since most anglers not from the area won’t bother to come up the White Oak anyway, I was pleased that the article actually missed our favorite spot by just enough to leave it a mystery.
However, if you look closely at this track and happen to be someone who fishes a fair amount, you can probably figure where we fished on Wednesday afternoon. It was great to be out on the water. We had a hitchhiker who decided to sunbathe on top of our white navigation light pole.
We had a number of good bites, which is better than we did on our first trip last year. Eventually I did hook and land one of the bait thieves. It turned out to be a Virginia Hake. It wasn’t very big so I threw it back and switched to casting some lures. We fished a few more minutes before the winds picked up. Then we headed back to the dock behind my house.
While we were only out on the water an hour. It was a great victory for the forces of warmth. There will be some cool air incursions, but I think we are headed in the right direction. It is about time that we blotted out the memory of this past winter.
By the way, the number one rule when fishing is to always buy food=grade shrimp for fishing. That was when you come home empty handed, you just eat the bait.
In fact we turned our shrimp into shrimp cocktail and are still enjoying them.