Monday, April 29, 2013

This afternoon

By far the best afternoon that we've had, I think things have finally started.  Limit of good 21 1/2 inch keepers.  Tomorrow is the last day of keeper season.  It's going to be a zoo and we're going to get ours......then the crowds are going to disappear and the fly rods will appear.

Pics from this week

Despite the "tough" fishing, catching 20-50 fish in a half day is a great day in most places and from these pics, I don't think anyone thought that the fishing was slow.

Not bad for a first fish
 Hungry one:
Another first: 

 And from Capt. Brian on the Run Off......if you can get a pretty day and get out there.

Couple of websites to keep an eye on

The first site is projected flows at Weldon, the second is a history of what's gone on.....

As you can see from the second graph, they've stepped the water down a bit.  Just as the fish were getting here and we're having a lot less trouble making our days, the water drops and it's like  putting water on the fire, it kills the bite......temporarily.  The fish drop back and for the most part, stop biting.  They fall down river, perhaps another set of falls, maybe several miles.   As soon as the water levels stabilizes,   life returns to normal, the fish start biting and the upriver migration resumes.   Even if they're on the move up the river, at least we know where they are going and they're feeding along the way.    

We're still getting what we need, but not having any "epic" days, got some pics to follow from this past week.

This rain is going to work out just fine, giving us enough water for a long season......those epic days are still to come and when they get here, they should be here a while.   The keeper season will be closed, but expect phenomenal striper fishing through May.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The patches are getting bigger

The patches of stripers are getting bigger and more numerous.  When you get on a bunch of them, it's just like the Roanoke is supposed to be, even if it only last for a few minutes and you've got to get on them again.   Father and son team of Haddock and Haddock got on a couple patches yesterday, between the two of them, they were easily into the triple digits with more than a dozen that were in the slot and too big to keep.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Grouper Time

Striper season closes the end of April, but grouper season opens May 1.  We've got some Down East Guides that can get you on 'em.

Cut off at the pass

Capt. Ponytail cut 'em off at the pass this morning, along with Capts. Haddock.  Good for us as well, but they pulled the Houdini on us this afternoon.  With a 5 and 7 year old on the boat with two dads, it didn't take but a couple keepers and a couple dozen throw backs to make the afternoon for me.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

bout like yesterday

More father sons today, but add about 45 years.   Dad and son in the morning and another dad and son in the afternoon.  None of them had been to the Roanoke and ended up very happy with what we bagged, including a few fish in the slot and up to 26 1/2 inches. 

Good stuff, but I am really feeling it after not much "manual labor" in 5 months, couple of 14 hour days.......going to bed early tonight. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Fishing today

Capt George thanks for getting the next generation of Harris hooked on fishing. Bennett, Joseph and I had a blast! Made my flight and had time for a pint. See you in May. j

On Mondays, the NCWRC/NCDMF shock and tag fish.  Today they tagged 135.  Last year on this day they tagged over 1000.  The timing is right, the water levels are absolutely perfect,but the fish are late.  Water temp 55.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Roanoke Report

The bite has steadily improved over the weekend.  The guides are now hitting those days near the triple digits,  if not, it's because they are spending time looking for some bigger fish for their customers.  The folks that are doing it on their own and are not on the water every day are not fairing so well, catching a few.   

Will have a first hand report tomorrow. 


For those of you who don't know, these are a couple of what we call nice 'uns.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Fishing with Capt. Chris

 50 plus trout and 50 or more Black Sea bass (released)   and one black drum (not released)     thanks to Capt Chris     Fresh fish tonight.  Hugh

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

From Capt. Aaron up the beach

"Love when they cooperate. Talking about the kids : )" ---

Monday, April 15, 2013

Offshore World Championship

5 guys from Norway who had never caught a billfish walked on their assigned charter boat this morning with 5 spinning rods.  They are now leading the Offshore World Championship with 7 sails and two  35+ pound dorado.   They’ll be fishing on another boat tomorrow, just as the other nearly 100 teams will be rotating charter boats for day 2 of the 4 day tournament.    Yes, they were on the Dragin Fly and when I spoke to Capt. James, he was smiling.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

And yesterday's report from Costa Rica....

Litle slower today for me boss raised 12 sailfish catch 5 had 2 big blues up on the bait but no bite 

On the Beach NC Report

A pretty day and Capt. Chris Kimrey was able to get out along the beach.   Excellent albie action, bonito should be around soon enough, 10 pound bluefish in the surf on topwater and big grey trout on the jigs.......

Heading to the "agua dulce" of the Roanoke for a couple of weeks, but I'll get some salt spray soon enough.

NC Spring Time Offshore Fishing

from Capt. Brian Harrington on the Run Off

Yesterday the weather just flat out sucked.  We had 30+ knts of east 
breeze...and average of 7-9 ft. seas......current into the 
wind.....yuck.  We ended the day with 3 wahoo and 2 blackfins.

Today was a different story....flat calm... no wind.... no 
current.....lots of bites.  Ended up with 10 wahoo and 4 blackfins... 
5 of the wahoo were well over 50 lbs.  We also hooked a Mako while we 
were catching a triple header wahoo..after the jumps ...he got away, 
however I do feel as if we were at a unfair advantage having all of 
those wahoo on too.

Also the boats that jigged today did excellent with the Cobia.  Two 
different boats who I spoke with caught 15 or better per boat.  35lb. 
average with some bigger.

Here is a pic of todays catch. 

Friday, April 12, 2013


After winning my last victory in the Oriental Rotary Tarpon Tournament several years ago, I announced my retirement.

After much consideration and support from my friends, my family and especially of my wife Anna,  I have decided to come out of retirement.   I am officially announcing that I will be fishing the Oriental Rotary Club's Tarpon Tournament and Inshore Slam July 26, 27, 28 of this year.

Through my Oriental Rotary Club Tarpon Tournament Career, my greatest accomplishment was in 2007, when Jim "Never Enough" Copland and I won the Skate Division of the tournament.....   That trophy hangs with pride in my office.  

Although I am fishing the Tarpon Division and the Inshore Slam, at my late age....far from my physical prime.....I no longer have the stamina to be competitive against the other great skate fishermen that are out there.  I will not be targeting skates this year.

I do believe that in addition to the much coveted skate trophy, the Rotary Club should offer an official Skate Division with an optional entry fee.  The Inshore Slam entry is $150 before July 15.  Entry for the Tarpon Division is $275 prior to July 15.  Pay-out is good, but the idea of the tournament is to raise scholarship money for Pamlico County students.  
I am very happy that the Oriental Rotary Club will be using observers in this year's tournament.  I believe that the return to this format is good for the tournament and good for the fish. The Oriental Rotary Club is doing good work and I hope some of you will consider fishing this year.

Details of the tournament: 

You may also consider being an observer in this tournament, a great way to spend a couple days on the water with a team of tarpon fishermen

In addition, Down East Guide Service is giving away a FREE day of tarpon fishing on July 25.   That's right, I'm going to "prefish" on July 25 with one lucky tarpon tournament team that enters prior to July 15.

Here's the schedule.

July 25 Prefish with Down East Guide Service
July 26 is the Inshore Slam
July 27 and 1/2 day on July 28 is the tarpon tournament.

Five species, two tournaments, one long weekend.

 Bring whatcha got!


Fly fishing for Tarpon:

I went through a lengthy response to Brett, see below.  I thought that some of you would be interested......

What are your thoughts on fly fishing for Tarpon in the Pamlico.  Would love to put together a trip.  Is there a time where they come to the surface more often?

 I've been asked this question a lot.....
"I'll be glad to take your money and watch you flail a fly rod, but if you really want to catch one on the fly, save your money and go to Florida......better yet, we offer a great trip to Costa Rica for tarpon. "
If you want to try in NC, my only openings are: July 29, 30, 31 Or Aug. 1, 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.
  $800/day.  Full days only.
  Attached is a word doc with details on our fall trip to Costa Rica.
  Drop me a line if you have any questions.
  All the best,

 I like your attitude!  I'll take a look at the Costa Rica trip.

 I appreciate your reply, it's hard to tell "tone" sometimes with e mail and I wasn't trying to be a smart ass......well maybe a little.    Below is a little more detail:

The NC tarpon fishing is very inconsistent and doesn't seem to be as good as it once was....but when they do get gathered up, it's a pretty impressive sight, especially if they're biting....which isn't all the time.  There is no fish that swims more frustrating.

Fishing 8-10 rods with bait in a chum slick, 1 or 2 bites is a decent day.

I have had clients who have hooked a couple tarpon on the fly, but to my knowledge, no one has ever landed one.

I believe that the most consistent tarpon fishing in the world is Costa Rica's Carribbean side, in the ocean outside any of the major river mouths which are a conveyor belt of food into the mouths of hungry fish.  

We are booking agents for and host a trip to Silver King Lodge at Barra Colorado.   Silver King is first class, includes lodging, food, fishing, transfers and a 3 day minimum of fishing.   We also have a couple of independent guides out of Tortuguero that do a great job and we build packages there for smaller groups.....also we manage the Dragin Fly for billfish out of Los Suenos on the Pacific side.   No problem with both-coast packages.

 In addition to the poons, there is some entertaining jungle fishing for guapote (rainbow bass), mojara (bream) and snook.....entertaining, but most only spend an afternoon in the jungle and opt for the majority of their time chasing tarpon in the ocean.

The fly fishing is very, very consistent, all heavy sinking lines, short casts amongst rolling fish, but on average days, 3-10 tarpon bites/day plus big jack crevelle and an occasional big cubera snapper.   

Another tarpon destination for tarpon on the fly is Belize.  Far less consistent tarpon fishing, but PLENTY of bonefish and usually, daily shots at new fascination.

Drop me a line anytime if you have any questions, I'll be in Eastern NC until late June.....which is when I'll be going back to CR, wanna come?

All the best,


Getting Ready?

Don't get too excited.....just passing along this shot that John Rea sent me from 2006, one of the first stripers that we caught over 30 pounds out of the Roanoke River......back when we were permitted to use foot long live river herring for bait.   This fish should be in the 40 pound range now  Yes, there are a lot of big fish out there, but without their natural bait as natural bait, those big bites are no longer a daily occurrence.

Yes, it could happen, but expect to make the day with the large numbers for which the Roanoke is famous.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Trout fishing

"Had a great two day trip with Charlie & Jimmy. Estimated 90 trout in two days !"---Capt. Joe Ward

All indications are that trout fishing this year is going to be "speck"tacular.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

And in Costa Rica....

"First stripe marlin for the season boss we also catch 5 sailfish with that stripe marlin today best day so far for April" ------Capt. James Smith-----Dragin Fly 

Things have been a bit slow, but looks like it's getting better....  if you're looking for billfish that is.....

Run Off Report

"4 wahoo...8 blackfins...1 yellowfin...5..jacks....and alberts"----Capt. Brian Harrington....The Run Off

That's worth fishing for.....

Friday, April 5, 2013

Roanoke Report. It is time

"George, Anna, Hope all is well.  Stripers are running the sound and making spurts up the Roanoke.  A few more degrees and the runs going to bust wide open."
 Capt. Mitchell Blake

There are now plenty enough stripers in the lower river for successful trips.  LOTS of shad up at Weldon with a few small stripers already hitting shad spoons.  Year in and year out, April 15 is usually the first of the 100 fish days at Weldon.   Folks like Mitch Blake are taking advantage of this "early" bite.   Drop us a line if we can help get you out on the river.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Justin Haddock putting a smile on the girls faces

Capt. Justin Haddock getting into the shad in the swamp.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

USA soccer

If you talk to most ticos, there is no other team than Saprisa or Costa Rica.  But to set the record straight and give credit where credit is due, the Team USA is doing pretty good.

"Costa Rica has beaten the USA 1 time in 8 tries in the USA.  We are ranked #33 in world, them #53.  They have little to no chance against us here.
But I agree, we are going down when we go down there! " 

Hard Core Bryan......who also can catch really nice wahoo, check out this slob.



Here's the link to our latest newsletter. 

In the next issue, look for news about the Oriental Rotary Club Tarpon Tournament.   Yes, I am coming out of retirement and fishing the tournament this year.  Also profiles on some of the Down East Guides that you may have heard about.....but haven't heard enough about.