White Oak River, headed towards Raymond's Gut

White Oak River, headed towards Raymond’s Gut

We are approaching the middle of April and we are finally putting some distance between ourselves and the cold weather that hung around since early March 2014.

Now as we move into April my tomato plants are thriving near Raymond’s Gut which runs behind our home. With blooms on a couple of the tomato plants and the yard starting to look like I might have to mow it, my thoughts are turning to getting out on the water with my kayak.

On April 5, 2014, I took our skiff out in the river for its weekly run. The picture at the top of the post was taken as I headed back into Raymond’s Gut from the White Oak River. On my short trip I found that the water temperature in the White Oak River had risen to 69F. That compares to the 55.5F which I saw on my March 11 trip. The 69F is even more impressive considering that we had a temperature plunge not long after that as March gave us one last taste of cold weather.

While our area’s waters can look very enticing in spring, a good deal of caution is warranted at least in a kayak until we reach the magic water temperature of 70F.

That why I was very excited to find a water temperature of 74F inside Raymond’s Gut. That means if the wind will behave, it is time for the first kayak trip of the year. If the winds are  little much out on the main part of the river, I can stay in the small bay just outside of Raymond Gut or if it is really not nice on the river, I can fish the marsh grasses inside Raymond’s Gut.

I prefer to fish the oyster rocks out in the White Oak but I am a realist when it comes to wind and weather on the river. In the early spring, you sometimes have to be flexible or you stay at the dock.  It is not unusual for me to be seduced by the river but it is more likely to happen in the fall when the river still has some of summer’s warmth instead of a good dose of winter’s chill. This time of year, the important thing is to get that first taste of being close to the water in your kayak.

I will be surprised if I catch a fish this time of year since April usually is a slow fishing month and May is always a much better time for me.  Even that knowledge does not stop me from wanting to be out on the water. I readily admit that if you embrace living here, you have already decided that life is all about the water.

Now that the river is almost at 70F, the kayaks will not be the only craft venturing out. Usually as the waters start to warm,  we manage a trip in our skiff out to the big water by Bogue Inlet. The good thing about living by the river is that you can be on it and back home quickly if things turn nasty.

Most of the time the White Oak River is fairly deserted. The zig and zag of the channel that you need to follow to avoid the oyster rocks often limits traffic on the river. The lack of traffic on the river just makes it easier to embrace as a personal playground.

The White Oak has a lot of moods, but if you can find the time to catch a day when the surface is glassy smooth, it is hard to beat. I am hoping the winds are quiet enough that I might be able to slip the kayak in the water tomorrow.

For more information you can get our comprehensive travel guide to the area.  We will be publishing a free electronic update for people who buy the 2013 edition.  There is no greater place to vacation with a family than North Carolina’s Southern Outer Banks.

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