Fish are optional

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Water near the Point at Emerald IsleOctober is typically one of our nicest months here on North Carolina’s Southern Outer Banks.  The air has lost some of its heat and humidity but the water is still warm.

For those of us who love to fish, October can be the time when we hit some home runs.  I have had some memorable fishing trips in the month of October.  In 2009, a fishing friend and I had an amazing afternoon with the bluefish around Bogue Inlet.  In 2005, I probably had the best half day of fishing in my life near Beaufort Inlet.  Both those trips were in late October.

With a hot summer that made fishing challenging, most of us fishermen and our female equivalents have anxiously been awaiting the fall fishing season.  Actually we have been trying to rush it along.  I did a little fishing early in the morning in late September, but the water temperature was near eighty degrees, and the fish still were not biting.   I considered those efforts scouting trips.

Even over on the ocean at Third Street Beach, it still felt like summer as September turned into October.  As the first week of October really got going, I received a call from a mountain top friend who really wanted to catch some spots.  In fact he was so eager to fish that he drove a few hours  straight to our place and hopped in my boat for an afternoon fishing trip.

Dedication like that is the sign of a true fisherman.  Anyone who will drive to the Crystal Coast and go fishing without even stopping for lunch is serious about fishing.  My friend and I fished a couple of afternoons, and he did catch a few spots.  However,  I caught only one blowfish for the two afternoons.  Neither my friend nor I were upset about the lack of fish.

It is always easy to come up with excuses for not catching many fish.  In my case, I am not a very dedicated bait fisherman.  I would much rather catch a fish on an artificial lure of some sort.  Both of my most memorable fishing trips revolved around a single lure on each trip.  No other bait was involved.

It takes very little to get me to stop fishing with bait and start fishing with lures.  I am also known for ignoring what is happening regarding fish if I happen to get distracted by a good picture that needs taking.  It is not unusual for me to be caught completely ignoring fish  and snapping pictures.  I almost lost a rod and reel over on Third Street because of that recently.  I was bottom fishing with one outfit in a sand spike and had wandered off casting with a lure and taking pictures when I just noticed a large wave knocking my pole over. I managed to catch it on the next incoming wave.

When I am really serious about fishing, I usually carry one rod and in my back pocket is a small plastic box with a few lures.  That is all the tackle that I take.  I do take two cameras though.

Most of the time fish are actually optional for me, but I truly love to stand in the water and fish, and that is exactly what I did on the afternoon of October 7, 2011.  I first tried Third Street beach, but the currents were too strong so I headed down to the Point. This is a movie of the beautiful waters that afternoon.

After my hike down to the beach and out the vehicle ramp,  I fished the south side and west end of Coast Guard Channel.  Then I walked over and hit the shore just north of the Point.  I got to enjoy some birds swirling in the air just before I got to the beach.

Once over on the shore I headed back along the beach and enjoyed the impressive waves along the south side of the beach.  I didn’t start fishing until I got just in front of the little hook of sand that makes the Point area so interesting for fishermen and even swimmers.

I had been in and out of the water all afternoon so wading into it one more time was not a problem.  It only took me a minute to adjust to the water temperature. I worked the water pretty well, but I didn’t raise any fish.

If I had been really serious about catching fish, I would have probably moved on or changed lures.  However, the location, the view, and the weather were close to perfect so I just stood there fishing the same water with little expectation of catching a fish.  The moment was perfect even without catching a fish. I stayed so long that I felt the need to call home and apologize for being a little later than I had promised.  Fortunately my wife knows me well and had already planned on me being late.

You can see some views of my fishing spot at this photo album.  I will be posting more photos there after I get my weekend chores completed.  My trip to the Point didn’t produce any fish for me, but it was spectacular afternoon on the water.  It was a real treat.  I will take an afternoon with no fish in the surf by myself over a day of sitting among the spot yachts any time.

The truth is that I throw back most of the fish that I catch anyway.    Fishing is a sport of patience instead of immediate gratification anyway.  If you keep fishing , you will eventually have some of those memorable moments.  You cannot catch a fish without your line being in the water so this time of year, I try to stick it in the water whenever I am near water.

I had some recent fun fishing in my kayak.  I even caught a fish,  which was nothing to brag ab0ut, but I ‘m hoping that it is a sign of things to come.  The sunsets that I have seen while fishing in my kayak will stick with me longer than the memory of the fish that I threw back.

I will be back out on the water the first chance that I get, but I won’t be disappointed if I come home empty handed.

The scenery and the water are all that I need.  Fish are definitely optional

 

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