Just How Early Can You Get On The Water?

People often ask about how early we get on the water? The simple answer is that almost any week it is possible to take a skiff out on the river. The weather is normally that good here on the Crystal Coast even during the winter. There only a few weeks like this second week in February of 2014 when I would just as soon keep my boat at the dock.

I usually avoid taking the kayak out during January and February and I have learned that just because the air is warm does not mean the water is warm or that the fish have started biting.

Sometimes especially in our early years here we have been a little over enthusiastic like when my friend Dean and I decided to go fishing on the river on February 12, 2009.

The following is the post from that trip.

The last five days here on the coast have been a welcome way to erase the memories of the colder than normal weather which we endured for a couple of weeks. I have complained enough about the cold weather, but I have to state that we only had a couple of days when we struggled to get out of the upper thirties so most people would laugh at our cold.

This spell of warm weather could not have come at a better time. Most of us were wondering what had happened to the great weather of the last two winters.

After this weekend we wondered no more. Our great weather was back. We got to seventy five degrees Fahrenheit this weekend. It was car washing and shorts weather.

The great weather continued through today, Wednesday, February 11. After some showers tonight, the temperature will approach seventy on Thursday and will only slip back to the mid-sixties on Friday before dropping back into the fifties for the weekend.

I have been itching to go fishing, but as often happens there are always a few things to get done before you can go. On Monday I took the boat out on the river to make sure it was running fine. Tuesday I had to work all day. This morning I renewed my fishing license.

Tuesday night I had called my fishing buddy, Dean, to see if he was available should the weather, winds, and tides cooperate on Wednesday. He was eager as I was to get back to fishing.

I was disappointed when I got up this morning and found warm but cloudy weather. By a little after 9 AM a cool breeze had picked up and was coming in off the water. I called Dean and told him that it did not look good, but that we would play it by ear.

The tide was still low and I had some real estate forms to pick up at the office, so we headed out at around 11 AM. We stopped at the boat shop on Highway 58 so I could get my fishing license renewed. When I walked out of the store with my new license, I could not believe it, The sun had come out, and the temperature was up ten degrees.

Immediately I called Dean and told him that we would give it a shot at 1 PM. We headed off to Clyde’s to buy some shrimp. There I found that the funny looking boats that I have seen on the White Oak are deep water clam diggers.

After getting the shrimp, we made a quick stop at the office, and headed to the automated ice machine on Highway 58 in Peletier. It turned out to be out of service so we stopped by the Peletier General Store for a small bag of ice.

We got home at about ten minutes after noon. I started loading the boat while my wife warmed up some soup and fixed some sandwiches for lunch. We had a nice lunch, and I was ready in plenty of time when Dean pulled up at 1 PM.

Unfortunately our sun had disappeared by then, and the wind had picked some more. Being dedicated fishermen, we decided to forge ahead and go to our favorite fishing hole which is only a short distance from my dock.

After dropping anchor we fished for about an hour and one half with just one bite. I did catch a nice blue crab but I let him drop back in the water since one crab does not make a meal. He also looked a little ornery.

The wind kept increasing, and the sun stayed behind the clouds. So with no luck at catching fish, we reluctantly ended our first fishing trip of the season.

We still had a lot of fun. It was great to be out on the river. We saw a lot of fish moving on the fish finder, we just could not find out what they were hitting.

The wonderful thing about fishermen is that we are eternally optimistic. We have caught plenty of fish in that same spot so we will be back there regularly as the water continue to warm up.

When I was out earlier in the week, the upper inches of the water registered 48 degrees. Today it was up to 55 degrees. I am sure that was only for a little of the water profile, but I will take any progress towards spring that I can get.

It might have been a cloudy somewhat gloomy day, but we came back in great spirits.

If you would like to read more about the Crystal Coast and why we are living here, you will find some helpful posts at this link.

More information about life here can be found at my Crystal Coast Life blog.

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