Saturday, October 22, 2016

SC Giant Red Drum

If you want some, it's not too late, this is what Capt. Rod is doing right now in South Carolina

"If you have any customers who didn't get enough or missed out on the Old Drum action on the Pamlico I have been on the bite of my life here in Winyah Bay in Georgetown, S.C. Fresh water from the hurricane has pushed the salt line out to the bay entrance and yhr jetty is stacked with big Reds. I hate reporting numbers but I have gone to two rods with folks who don't fish much. Four guys who know how to fish can boat ten or more an hour. Darndest thing I have ever seen. Catching a few on the cork and the fly guys have hooked up as well. Thanks for passing the word."

---Capt Rod

Friday, October 21, 2016

Another most excellent day

Wow, beautiful weather, breaking albies and plenty more along with LOTS of sharks behind the draggers.   Best yet, got to spend these past two days with Bob Clouser and Linda Heller.  Yesterday we used his flies, today we used mine, pretty cool.

albie fishing

was most excellent yesterday.   Casting at breaking fish and muscling and hosring them to the boat before the sharks made lunch of them behind the shrimp trawlers.   Really great fishing.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Good report, how long will it last?

Floodwaters are arriving at New Bern and Washington with lots of debris, yet to see how much oxygen choking muck and nutrients from a load of sources.   That nutrient sponge that we were talking about in our last newsletter got a big squeeze.   Hopefully with the lower temps there is more room in the water for oxygen and decomposition that uses that oxygen will be slowed leaving enough in the water for fish to breath.

There will be areas where it is really bad, both water quality and isolated fish kills due to low dissolved oxygen, other areas are going to be loaded with large concentrations of fleeing and hungry fish.   Signs of this already at the coast with huge schools of albies feeding on glass minnows flushed from the sound and big trout already in the surf.

Here is a report from Capt. Mitch:
"Dang George, Matthew was a mess.  Some remained business as usual and others were in areas that got disconnected form the world.  You didn't have to be at the coast to get hammered either.  I got the leaves out of the boat and this is what I found: 
Trout Bite is outstanding!  H Don't know but if you miss this you might miss the best of it.
Flounder, few around they are either easy keepers or a  1/4" shy, looks good for next year too. 
Stripers are busting on top top.
Reds are at most stops but almost all of them I found were just short of keeper size.
 All in all the rods are bent and slams are coming on the boat!"



Monday, October 17, 2016

what will the flood bring?

Really good trout and striper fishing ahead of the flood waters arriving in the lower Neuse around New Bern.   Not sure what's going to happen when it gets here, a lot of that will depend on the winds and dissolved oxygen levels.  Should be pretty good in the creeks of the lower Neuse/eastern Pamlico Sound, but may be ugly in parts of the main river.   Hopefully enough good water for fish to get away. 

Offshore at the beach and in the ocean, no problems and fishing has been and should remain good. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

On the way back

I'm wrapping up stuff in Costa Rica and Anna is fighting for the fish in Washington D.C. this week.   I'll be back in the "office" on Friday.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

storm aftermath

I have hesitated sending fishing reports, because there are more important things going on out there than fishing.   Downstream of the coastal plain where the rivers are wide and slow, the floodwaters have room to spread out without doing much damage.   Upstream from New Bern, Washington and other coastal cities sitting on the banks of these narrower parts of the rivers, their troubles are far from over.   Here, the river has nowhere to go but out of its banks and too often into people's homes and businesses.   No matter if it is a few inches or a few feet of water, everything that it touches is pretty much destroyed.  
Although many of us came out of this unscathed, complaining about the loss of a few hours of comfort until the power comes on, there are too many who are devastated and have weeks of clean up ahead of them.    

Friday, October 7, 2016

Not only tarpon on the fly here in Costa Rica

Dr. Lee with a big jack and two tarpon this morning.   14 for 24 on three boats this morning, plus Lee's 2 for 2 on the fly.  He was 6 for 6 on the fly yesterday. 

Trout bite starting to fire off in NC

Got my tarpon

From the beginning of this trip, I thought it would be really cool to catch a blue marlin on one coast, then fly over and catch a tarpon on the other coast the next day.   Got the blue marlin checked off, next day was after the tarpon.   In the morning I fished with Chris, below is his first tarpon.   An hour into it we had a double header on the line. 

 Butt Brynn got a little too heavy on his and busted him off.  I jumped mine off.
 After lunch and a siesta, I was back out there, this time riding along with Kennon and Rusty

 Kennon got his.
 Rusty got his.

and on our last drift of the day, I got mine! 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The report, pics to follow.

This trip to the seamounts  is an example of why when planning an overnight trip, plan on at least a couple of nights.  Most of our trips are 4 nights and 3 full days of fishing, a grueling trip, but no better opportunity in the world to experience the kind of morning like what we had today.  An abbreviated version of 3 nights/2 days (chugging there and back overnight) is perfect and allows you to go where you may need to go in order to get the best fishing.   The trip we took was too short.

Our departure was delayed a day due to a generator rebuild and repaint that took a few more days than planned.   Pat Renfro, one of my partners in the Dragin Fly,  had plenty of patience watching our investment come out shining like new.

We headed out mid morning yesterday.   There is almost no one fishing this time of year, the "green season", despite a beautiful day and reports of great fishing on day trips.   We were hoping to run into the tunas and catch enough of them for the trip and to take down to the lodge where I will be tarpon fishing TOMORROW!   By late afternoon we should be arriving at our first seamount for the afternoon bite.   Everything went as planned, found the tunas, caught tunas.  At the seamount, we did have a couple of squalls and the seas built up before calming down overnight.    We saw only one blue marlin and missed it.  
Today, after a nice night and a morning with calm seas,  we got up at daylight, had coffee and hot breakfast while steaming to another seamount.  Arrived.  Fished.   Fished some more.  Caught bait.  Live baited.  Nothing.   Honestly, we were pretty bummed out, having to be due back in Los Suenos by late afternoon.  

On the way home we passed by the seamount that we had fished the afternoon before with only one bite.     I’m glad that we did.   First bite on a lure we pulled off.   Second bite on a pitch bait.  Sancocho.   And another sancocho. 
Side bar:  What is a sancocho?:
A sancocho is when you miss a fish and you reel in only the mashed head of your bait.  Sacocho is the name of a soup made out of mashed vegetables, not pure' like mashed potatoes, but squashed, kind of like the head of your ballyhoo.   Sancocho can be used as a noun or a verb, for example, I sancochoed the last three sailfish, but I’m going to get the next one.   It can also be used to describe one who makes many sancochoes, also called a sancochero. 

Wow, talk about feeling low, finally we are getting some bites and we cannot keep them connected, but the next bite on one of Joey's lures and a few minutes later, Pat has his first blue marlin release of the day.    

Another bite on a Laceration Lure and Pat beats me to the rod, shortly later he has his second blue marlin release of the day.

I am putting out the same green Pedro and we hook up again, this time I have my release.

 We then started doing a little more switch baiting, pitching bonito on circle hooks to marlin that are now coming in hot on the teasers.  With three blue marlin releases really quick, we were tickled to see our fourth fish come tight on a pitch bait after the poor work we were doing earlier in the morning.   Pat has got the hook up and it's a striped marlin!  Pat is having an amazing day, I miss a blue on the pitch bait, but Pat cleans up and catches his third blue marlin of the morning.  The next fish to pop a rigger clip was on Pat's side of the boat and was another striped marlin.
Pat is now holding 3 blue marlin and two striped marlin releases by 10:30 in the morning. 

Our thoughts wandered to a grand slam,  Pat has two of the 3 necessary billfish releases to qualify for a grand slam, with a pair of sails, he could accomplish what few have ever done, a double grand slam in the same day!

We still have got to be back at Los Suenos by dark, so we  make bait, filling the tuna tubes, hoping to run into that school of tuna on the way to the edge, where there has been a decent sailfish bite.   things are going just as planned, we find the tuna and now everyone in the lodge and the village is having tuna.

Up on the edge where the sailfish bite has been firing off,  is also where the black marlin live.  All we need is a pair of sails for Pat’s individual double grand slam in a single day, but a black, now that would be something.   I think that they call 4billifsh species in a day a Super Grand Slam? 
 Here we go, into the fleet of 4 or 5 charter boats and we quickly raise a sail.  Pat makes a sancocho.  The pressure is on.

Pat cleanly hooks his next sailfish giving him one grand slam, only one sailfish to go when BAM, the left teaser explodes with a marlin bite.   I felt a little guilty by pitching a marlin bait to the hole in the water where a nice black or blue just creamed the teaser, but I did it anyway.   I pitched my marlin  bait at the same time Pat’s hit the water, I may have even beat him, but either way, I wanted in the game…….and I got the bite, dropped back, nothing, he came back for it, a bite again, dropped back and hooked up.     We clear the lines and Pat brings in his pitch bait just as my fish jumps, it’s a damn  SAILFISH (that ate the marlin bait) and the marlin is still behind the  boat, but Pat’s bait is out of the water and the marlin fades off.   My sailfish jumps off, serves me right, and we never see the marlin again.   We can only guess if it was a black or a blue, up on the edge like that, chances are…….

Back to Pat who still needs a sail to finish his double grand slam and he’s having a little trouble connecting, missing the next two fish in a row, then he hooks up solidly.   My rigger also pops and we have a double header of sails.   Release on both and we are heading to the dock, leaving that marlin for another day.
Blue marlin, sailfish for me today, hopefully a tarpon TOMORROW

In short, we were 4 for 9 on blue marlin, 2 for 3 on striped marlin and 3 for a bunch of sailfish.  Oh, and the tunas.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Rain Delay

Rain has not delayed the fishing, but it has delayed this paint job we're putting on the Dragin Fly, Hoping to get offshore tomorrow,  in the meantime, this is a pic of one of the 5 big drum released on popping corks two days ago by one of our customers.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Did you see the newsletter? Not as much hate mail as I was expecting

Here are some samples of what folks had to say:

"George….really appreciate the CCA kudos in your newsletter !   Also, really enjoyed the OPEX fishing event and wanted to echo RW's comments   “World class fishing with a world class outfit!"  
 Hope to see ya on the water soon !   Best Regards to your bride.

"Capt. George
 Thanks for the rant particularly on the unattended nets AND the flounder closure………

"Cool pic of the ass end of Dragon Fly!  Funny that I read news letter on our farms North of Scotland Neck. I was checking dams on ponds after all this heavy rain we had in the last week. We are doing our part to keep rivers clean. Water was clear due to conservation measures we started years ago. Watershed is upper Kehukee Creek that flows into Roanoke at Palmyra.
 Fair Winds. JJ"

"Best newsletter I have ever read. And I read every word. DF" 

"I appreciate your reports.
 I am not writing about your reports, however your statement about Gill Nets.  You might have a degree, and so do I.
Gill Nets, kill and doesn't matter if they are attended or not.
 I live in Texas.  Gill Nets are illegal, period.....and our fishery  has never been better.....Redfish, trout, and flounder.
 Get a grip.....if you have the balls, call me

"I wanted to sent you a personal thank you for your kind words regarding CCA hard work on the Southern Flounder issue.  Your wife is sorely missed on the MFC and if the opportunity ever arises for her to be reappointed, we will do all we can to make sure that occurs.....    I thought she was very fair to both sides and had the resource as her main concern.  I respected her points.
 You are right on point with your news letter, CCA is not out to put the commercial sector out of business, we just want to change some of their gears and regulations to protect the non-targeted species.  We are making a strong effort to make sure 2017 brings some exciting changes to fishery management in NC.  Thank you for your support.   B.A." 

"Hey George, hope all is well. I just finished looking over your most recent Down East Guide Service newsletter. I thought I would give you a little more info on the recent striped bass spawning success. We actually had two, back to back spawning successes like we haven’t seen in the Albemarle in a long, long time. 2014 AND 2015 seem to both be huge year classes. I’ve been getting reports since fall of 2014 of the huge numbers of rock from up the Meherrin above Murfreesboro, down to Ocracoke, back across the Sound to Bay River and up to Swanquarter. They are just all over. However, the 2013 spawn was just the opposite. Absolutely zero spawning success due to bad flooding in June of that year while the fish were still coming down the river. So there will be no 4 year olds up the Roanoke next spring. But several good years after that.
 Will see you next spring and thanks again for putting us in touch with your folks on the river at Weldon. It helped us out with our tagging study tremendously. 
Tight lines,

 Good newsletter today. We are seeing lots of small Reds in the Back Sound, North River area too...... I wanted to reach out to you about our fishing tournament on Nov. 5 out of the Boathouse. We are going to release up to ten tagged Reds the day before the tournament and have a new Silverado up for the first one returned to the weigh master. The folks at CMAST are going to hold and release them. The money prizes are good too. We’ll be splitting the proceeds with Hospice House which serves Carteret, Craven, Pamlico, Onslow, and Hyde counties. Anything you can do to help promote it would be appreciated. Thanks.
 BTW, I’m sure you know CCA was out front on small mesh attendance too. I and many others spoke at the meetings ....... It did have an immediate impact. 

"good evening, 
do you have more information on the australia trip? details, cost, etc. Sincerely, M.R."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

some more pics from the giant black drum day

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

my last day of the season on the Neuse

Ran my last trip on the Neuse for this drum season and ended up with a double digit day, caught 15 citations in about 2 hours this afternoon.   Taking the Parker to Capt. Ken Kramer at the Crystal Coast where he is going to teach her some fly fishing.

I am going on a big adventure.   Heading to Costa Rica for some business, then a trip out to the seamounts for blue marlin, followed by 3 days of tarpon fishing.  More on this and reports to follow.

pups and alberts on the fly with Capt. Ken.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Capt. Ken Kramer

"Wassup!   Lots of small drum and some nice trout, alberts eating Cape!"
------ Ken

This just came in from Capt. Ken.   He's got a great boat for polling around the marshes and is "the" man for sight casting to tailing "reds".   Yes, that is available here in MHC, but maximum of 2 anglers, ideally 1 angler.

When Ken is not in the marsh over the next few weeks, he will be chasing alberts and those big Spanish mackerall that they're catching on the shoals.  For that, he'll be running my 23' Parker.

Fishing out of MHC and the Crystal Coast is cranking up.

Double digits and dates still available

Puppy drum fishing has improved, also trout are starting to bite and there are as many stripers around as I've ever seen on the lower Neuse, perhaps because of a lot of  the water coming down from New Bern.   Something else is going on also, apparently an amazing spawn in 2014 on the Roanoke River/Albemarle Sound.   To the north of us on the Albemarle Sound these 10-16 inch stripers are abundant in biblical numbers and they are overflowing their range into the Pamlico River through the ICW and across the Pamlico Sound from the eastern Albemarle.    In 20 years of guiding I have caught more striped bass in the lower Neuse than all previous years combined.   Coupled with an equally epic 2015 spawn of red drum, every stop is covered up with 14-17 inch puppy drum who just had their first birthday and by next year, they will be in the slot. 

Oh, the big drum, yeah, Greg had a double digit day yesterday and the 6 that we caught came within an hour, so yes, they are still around and biting a lot better now that we're away from that full moon.   As long as the water temps stay in the 70's, there should be a great opportunity for catching a giant through the next couple of weeks.    Greg, Jennings and Ray have openings on the lower Neuse and Joe and Mitchell will be running more on the upper end.

Also a reminder that striper season opens Oct. 1.......I think.   

Thursday, September 22, 2016

yes, there are still some big drum around

and the afternoon bite should be getting better as we get further away from this big moon.