Tidelines – October 11, 2018
Where to start?
Part of me wants to talk about the hurricane and its aftermath, and part of me wants to start the process of moving beyond the hurricane and just talk about fishing.
If I chose to just talk about fishing, then the obvious choice would be our Fisherman’s Post trip with Capt. Joey VanDyke of Fingeance Charters out of Hatteras Harbor Marina.
The Fish Post crew was recovered enough from the hurricane to travel to Hatteras Island the weekend of September 28-30 to host the third annual Hatteras Island Surf Fishing Challenge. Fortunately, this event wasn’t cancelled or postponed, as the Outer Banks didn’t see much at all from Florence.
Registration starts at 3:00 on Friday afternoon, so that left us all Friday morning to get out on the water and spend some time catching fish before recording weights of all the fish our surf anglers caught from Friday midnight until Sunday at 12:00 noon.
Joey pulled out of the marina and turned the boat northeast to head to some deeper water behind Buxton where he had been consistently catching gray trout.
Two weeks after Florence, most of the North Carolina coast and surrounding areas were experiencing poor water quality, but the bad water hadn’t affected the sound-side of Hatteras Island. We fan-casted popping cork rigs off the back of the Fingeance, and before long Nate (writer) had hooked the first gray trout of the morning.
I followed Nate by bringing in our se
cond gray trout, and then he and I seemed to go back and forth, one pulling in a few fish in a row, and then the other doing the same. Rosa (sales), though, needed some help, and that’s an area where nice-guy Joey excels.
Despite Rosa having a boyfriend that loves to fish, apparently that boyfriend hadn’t taught her how to cast. Joey picked up on her struggles immediately, and he broke the process down into steps that she easily began to follow, and follow with success.
First he showed her roughly how far up to reel, suggesting she leave about six inches of line from the tip of the rod down to the cork. Then he showed her how the line coming off the reel should be next to the rod so that it’s easy to grab with your pointer finger.
Next was to hold constant pressure on the line between her finger and the rod as she flipped the bail all the way over and brought the rod back over her shoulder. Finally, throw the rod tip quickly forward, letting the finger and line go at the right time, and watching (hopefully) the cork rig go flying off in the desired direction about 15 yards.
Sure, sometimes Rosa reeled the rig up too close to the rod tip, and sometimes she forgot to keep pressure with her finger or skipped the part about flipping the bail. However, Joey reminded when necessary, but more often just let Rosa troubleshoot herself.
The result? Rosa now knows how to cast, and she hooked and reeled in her first ever gray trout.
After our morning session of mostly undersized grays but enough keepers to limit out, Joey took us back closer to home to a grass flat that had been holding some slot red drum. He positioned us on the windward side, just off of some breaking waves as a result of chop meeting the shallower water, and we threw out cut mullet on circle hook rigs.
I took the first turn in Joey’s tower, hoping to see some reds moving around the flat in between the grass beds, but either the water wasn’t clear enough or the fish weren’t there. Nate was second in the tower, but his main motivation wasn’t fish. It was to enjoy a couple of morning cigarettes away from the judging eyes.
Rosa was last, and she saw the tower as an opportunity to work on her sun tan.
This was the morning of registration for our Hatteras surf fishing tournament, so the phone inevitably rang a couple of times. The timing of one call in particular, though, was fortunate for me but unfortunate for Nate.
As Nate was confirming to a pre-registered angler that they needed to come by registration in person to have an armband placed around their wrist, one of the rods bent over as a red drum picked up the bait and made a typical red drum run.
I would have gladly stepped aside for Nate (on the phone) or Rosa (sun bathing) to fight the red back to the boat, but since they were busy, I pulled the rod from the rod holder and enjoyed the fight of an upper-slot red drum running around the shallows.
Capt. Joey VanDyke, of Fingeance Charters, loves to take people of all skill levels fishing, whether it’s red drum, speckled and gray trout, cobia, citation red drum, spanish, blues, sharks, or any species that swims in the inshore and nearshore waters around Hatteras Village from spring to fall.
You can talk to Joey about all the options he offers by calling (252) 475-0402, or visit him online at www.outerbanksfishing.org.
In summation, Nate needs to give up smoking, Rosa has a questionable boyfriend, and Joey is good at and enjoys what he does.
Me? I’m thankful to even be in a position where I can think and write about fishing. So many people we all know are affected so severely by this hurricane that it’s overwhelming to try and comprehend. I hope everyone is able to move forward, even in tiny steps, to some version of the life they knew before Florence.