My watery backyard

My watery backyard

I have enjoyed water all my life.  My happiness has always been the greatest when there is some water close by our home.

Often it hasn’t mattered whether it was a stream, pond or an ocean.  Sometimes just being able to see water has been enough to keep me going.

When I was growing up in Lewisville, NC, a small creek down in the woods behind the house helped keep me happy most of the time.  Even then there were times when I needed more water.

My mother used to drive my friend, Mike, and me to my uncle Henry’s fishing ponds across the county line in Yadkin County.  We were left there at very young age, but we were very responsible kids and both strong swimmers.  We could fish a whole day and not say a lot.  Neither us ever fell in one of the ponds.  We were too busy fishing to horse around with each other.

After college, I moved to Nova Scotia to fulfill an itch to be close to the land.  I got an old farm on a hillside that had a wonderful view and frontage on the Bay of Fundy.  I could eat breakfast and look at the water.

On our farm in New Brunswick, we had a small pond and a trout creek at the back of the farm.

Later when we move back to the states and lived on a mountain overlooking Roanoke, Va., I would often hoist our two person kayak on the roof of our little limo (a Nissan Axxess)  and head off to Carvin’s Cove for some fishing.

Still I had a dream of living by the water.  In 2006, after looking for over three years, we found a place in Bluewater Cove on Raymond’s Gut just off the White Oak River.

In September of that year we moved into our home which definitely has water behind the house. The water leads to the White Oak River, Swansboro Harbor, the ICW, Bogue Inlet, and eventually the Atlantic Ocean.  Not long after moving, I officially declared the White Oak my backyard.

I got a new one person kayak in the fall of 2006, and in June 2007, we got our 20 ft. Sundance skiff  which I gave the unofficial name of “Living the Dream.”  Since then we have fished the area with varying degrees of success.  We have had some great fishing trips, and I have even caught fish off of our dock with my fly rod, but I always felt that to really enjoy living where we do, I had to learn more about fishing the river.

This past February, the North Carolina Sportsman magazine published an article about fishing hotspots in the Swansboro, NC area.   I bought one, and when I turned through the pages, I was not very surprised to see our deck in the distant background of what was called the croaker hole in the article.  It was a spot that we had successfully fished often.

I haven’t fished a lot in 2011, but this fall as the opportunities to fish have presented themselves, I have been focused on using artificial bait and staying close to home on the White Oak.  Most of the fall I carried a rod with me when I went out in the kayak or skiff.  I just didn’t catch much of anything, but often I was only out a few minutes.

Earlier this second week of November 2011, the waters began to really cool, and my luck started to change.  I caught a bluefish from our skiff while drift fishing the croaker hole near the red sixteen buoy which we can see from the Bluewater Cove dock.  That was all I caught in the few minutes that I fished, but I did think about naming him “the bluefish of happiness.”  One fish is not a lot to rave about, but I caught him with in sight of our house.

The next day, the weather was even nicer, so I decided to head out and fish the oyster rocks in the middle of the river near our home.  It is something that is hard to do in anything but a kayak since the water depth is very shallow as you can see from this picture.

I had only been fishing a few minutes when I caught a nice bluefish.  In a few more minutes, I landed a really nice trout between fifteen and sixteen inches in length.  No long after that I caught a smaller trout just a little over twelve inches long.  I fished for a while more, but I didn’t get any more taps as they call trout bites.  That was okay, it was my best kayak fishing trip of this year.

As I have said before, fish are optional when you are fishing in such great weather in surroundings that are hard to describe with words, but it is nice to catch one once in a while, and it is even better if you catch it in your backyard.

I am looking forward to the rest of the fall, I think that I might have my touch back.