I am not certain where or when I learned that being on the edge where different worlds meet is the key to excitement. But I have taken it to heart.
I have no doubt that the area between the Point at Emerald Isle and Bear Island is truly one of those places filled with life because it is where two very different streams of life meet and challenge each other.
We have seen pieces of that battle before in our lives. Being in places where we could watch the different worlds challenge each other has added much richness to our lives.
In the seventies we lived in a small settlement on the shores of the Bay of Fundy. It was definitely a place where the elements met and fought. The ocean and weather often battled with the land and people in our little world. There were times when we would go from blizzard to rain and mud back to snow, ice, and frozen mud. And always there was the wind trying to carry away anything that wasn’t tied down. I can remember seeing foam from the waves frozen around power lines over a mile from the beaches.
After that we lived on a farm in central New Brunswick in Canada. We were so much in the wilderness that we didn’t even have to fence our cattle at the back of our farm. It was always a battle between the forests and our farm land. You had to be vigilant or the spruce trees and alders would take over pastures and hay lands. I even learned a healthy respect for black bears and black flies both of which believed they owned the area. Once I stood on ridge somewhere near the back of our farm with two old timers who had lived and worked in those woods for all their lives. For half an hour none of us had a clue where we were or the direction to take us back home.
Our last stop before the coast of North Carolina was the side of a mountain overlooking Roanoke, Virginia. Our house often felt like a ship in a sea of wind. While the challenge of living on a sometimes snowy Virginia mountain might be something to contemplate, it was nothing like the wilds of Canada. Still I did feel like a high outpost standing strong against some of the toughest weather you could find in Virginia. There is nothing quite as awe inspiring as watching a dangerous thunderstorm circle the valley’s mountains and bounce off the mountain peaks. I used to joke that living on the mountain separated the people who wanted to feel alive from those who just wanted to be safe from the weather.
Then we found the Crystal Coast, and not long after moving there, I got to fish the area between the Point at Emerald Isle and Bear Island. It is where the waters of Bogue Sound and the White Oak River meet the Atlantic Ocean. I had fished it from the beach in the sixties when it was only accessible by driving down the beach. Even that long ago, we knew it was the place for fish.
Most area fishermen will tell you that it is one of the most productive fishing spots in our area. It is also one of the most dangerous. Even in the last few years, it has claimed a few boats. While it is a place filled with fish, it is also home to treacherous currents and ever changing sandbars. There are days when it is as safe as fishing in a bath tub, and there are days when even the most experienced boaters will not challenge the seas in Bogue Inlet. It is a place where you learn to respect the power of the water.
There is no doubt that life on the edge where the sound and river meet the ocean surf is exciting and much more diverse that it is in a pool of trapped water. Mostly when you fish in a lake, it is fairly predictable, there are not a lot of places you have to avoid when boating in a lake, and you have a pretty good idea of what you might catch when you wet your line. It is a little like living in subdivision. To a certain extent life in the subdivision is predictable like fishing is in a lake.
However, fishing in Bogue Inlet can bring a day with the bluefish, or you can be hit with a rogue wave which comes close to standing your boat up in the water which is enough to send most fishermen back to calmer waters. You can also pull a beautiful red drum from the battle line between the surf and the sound or a tasty flounder. The Inlet is a place of great opportunity and some risk.
Because we can have wonderful afternoons like the one we where we caught so many bluefish that our arms ached, we will go back and challenge Bogue Inlet again and again. It is one of those things which if it were really easy and safe, it would be overwhelmed by people. Because there is an element of risk, some people will stay away. I am pleased to say that we rarely see jet powered personal watercraft in the Inlet.
Knowing that the action is where the waters meet and different worlds collide is a powerful inducement. You will find me out there as soon as the winds subside to the point where my wife won’t have me committed if I head out to the Inlet.
The good news is that even if I don’t catch something, there is a reward for just being there and surviving the challenge. I can hardly wait to be there.