As late as today people are confused about when we can legally fish for grouper. Check this link. I THINK it is up-to-date. If you have any doubts contact the N.C. Div. of Marine Fisheries, don't go to the bank on my word..
- Capt. Rickey Beck
Address: 65 Causeway Drive, Ocean Isle Beach, NC
Page 278 of 412
Well folks, I can safely say that things are beginning to come around on the inshore scene. The warmer temperatures recently have warmed the water and has certainly made the inshore critters more active. I fished Friday and we found a decent refsih bite before the west wind and falloin tide dried everything up. There have also been a few trout hanging around as well, and it will soon be the time when the true gator trout make an appearance. It looks windy the next couple of days, but the weather is suppposed to turn beautiful by the end of the week, so I sure the fishing will continue to improve as well.
The OIFC was abuzz with old and new friends alike making it out of hibernation to enjoy the fellowship, seminars, great buys and beautiful weather. All of us learned about the new techniques and the latest tackle for vertical jigging as presented by Capt. Ric Croson, the most advanced real time water temperature shots by Tom Hilton of Hilton's Realtime- Navigator.com, bait rigging and other topics by the OIFC Staff. A LOT of fishermen took advantage of the line spooling specials we had going on and saved a ton of money. Captain Brant had 5% off all fishing tackle throughout the day.
We all enjoyed seeing folks we haven't seen this winter and look forward to having you around the OIFC this fishing season. We hope you enjoyed yourselves, picked up a little knowledge and got what you needed to get started this year. See you at the OIFC and on the water.
Captain Jacob Frick reports that he's toughed out the windy conditions in order to catch 8 trout and 4 reds the last few days. He's in hopes the weather will be better as this low pressure makes its way out of here. Jacob had his best luck in the mud flats and up the Shallotte River. Late morning and around noon seem to be the best times to fish.
The wind off shore will not be letting up this weekend. Saturday looks like it is shaping up to be the best day to be outside. Try your hand at some inshore fishing. We've got plenty of artificial bait and Sterling just delivered some fresh and active mud minnows. Whether you'r wettin' a hook or not, stop by and check out the Spring Kick Off. Sign up for the Rodeo also, the pot is over $200. The G'Mack will be open, grab some lunch while you're here.
If you've been following Barrett's reports, you've read of a dispute that was filed on day 2 concerning catch and point totals. It most revolved around Rube's report of multiple 100# Yellowfin- see his picture in the report. Here is the picture of the fish that I caught- I believe we need a recount!
Did something I haven't done before. After fighting the fish to within sight of the boat, I dawned dive gear and camera and jumped overboard. It was cool to watch the fish. They hardly kick their tail to take line. Check out a few of the shots I got.
The OIFC Spring Kick Off begins Saturday at 10 am. The on shore weather is going to be beautiful with sunshine and an 8 on the uv scale. The off shore weather forcast is WIND...what's new. Come visit us, get new line on your reels, check out some of the great buys and enter the OIFC Rodeo. The Rodeo is up to $290 !
See you here!
On the third day of fishing we awoke to cooler temperatures and a slight breeze. On the way to breakfast Ken Hill made an observation that the cows which grazed about 100 yards from the lodge were all laying down this morning. This meant the fish weren't going to feed today.
Everyone loaded up the gear after breakfast and headed for the boats. Today the Sea Fox which had been having some mechanical issues was replaced with a 31' Fountain. Aboard the Fountain was Rube, Brian and Stacy; the crew on Chi Chi's 27 Contender was Brant, Tom and Blair; the Sea Moose had Stephanie, Kennan and I; and on the other 27 Contender with Chu Chi was Mike, Mark and Ken.
Ken was dead on with his prediction. The fish were not feeding today. After yesterdays onslaught we all had high hopes but it was not to be. The porpoise that signaled the tuna were still in the area but spread out. Captain Bartolo on the Sea Moose believed the tuna were still around but were spread out and down deep trying to get the bait together. After I threw the poppers until I couldn't pick up my arms we switched tactics aboard the Sea Moose. We trolled bonita belly on circle hooks behind teasers at 5 knots trying to raise a sailfish. This technique worked almost immediately as the first sail came into investigate. Over the 1st hour of this style of fishing we raised 4 sails but were unable to connect on any of them. The rest of the day was quiet as we trolled and followed the porpoise schools. The fish just weren't feeding. It was the same story on the other boats, a few near misses but overall nothing. The exception was Capt Chu Chi's crew of Mike, Mark and Ken who salvaged the day with some bottom fish and a surprise sailfish while bottom fishing.
Back at the lodge despite the poor fishing, we still had fresh fish dinner and the fountain of youth continued to work miracles so everyone was in good spirits. Tomorrow will be the last day of fishing on this adventure and because we have a long bus ride back to Panama City tomorrow as well the fishing day will be cut short. We will focus on bottom fishing the nearby islands.
As for the results of the competition of today, Capt Chu Chi and the crew of Mike, Mark and Ken took the title on the double or nothing day by accumulating 5 points with 2 Cubera Snapper, a Mullet Snapper and a Sailfish around 100lbs. The other 3 boats had the goose egg.
The last day of fishing started like the one's before it with a great breakfast overlooking the Pacific. For this shortened day the boat assignments were Ken, Kennan and Blair on the Fountain; Brian, Stacy and Tom on Chi Chi's Contender; Mike, Mark and Brant on the Sea Moose; and Stephanie, Rube and I on Chu Chi's Contender. All Captains headed off to their secret bottom fishing holes and on the way tried to collect fresh bait. The bottom fishing bait of choice is either a live blue runner or chunks of bonita meat. We fish over underwater rock structures in close proximity to any of the mountainous islands. Rube, Stephanie and I did battle with a few monster Cubera snapper before switiching tactics to top water poppers looking for a rooster. We caught a variety of species and Stephanie landed a monster cubera by the day's end. I didn't get an exact tally but the crew of Brian, Stacy, and Tom with Capt Chi Chi who were fishing near Coiba island dominated the day with numerous cubera and a variety of other bottom dwellers. Everyone caught fish on this day but with a long bus ride ahead we called it a day around noon and headed back to the hill.
At the lodge we had one more group meal together in the open air dining before we said our goodbye's to Eddi, and the staff. The bus was ready and this time Earnhardt wasn't driving so the trip took close to 7 hours across the Panamanian countryside. On the way to Panama City, Blair Bordeaux who was also our interpreter decided he needed one last adventure. So about halfway to Panama City he had the driver drop him off and he was going on walkabout for a couple days until his flight was scheduled. Blair is a brave soul taking off on an adventure like that. Fortunately we did hear from Blair a couple days later that everything worked out great and he made it back to Panama City for his flight.
Everyone else was exhausted but excited to see Panama City. Once checked into our hotel we all ventured out to the Veneto casino in downtown Panama City and took in the sights and sounds of a booming third world metropolis. Believe me there are plenty of sights at this place. We had a late night private room dinner together where we reflected on the trip and told lies about who caught what.
The next morning some of the crew stumbled out of the casino and into a taxi for the airport while others had later flights. The trip had now concluded.
Looking back this was one of the more enjoyable fishing adventures I have experienced. I can't say enough about the quality and attention to detail of the Paradise Fishing Lodge. The fishing was not exactly what we hoped for, but the accomodations, the staff, and boat crews were all top notch. I did hear from the lodge operator yesterday who told me the tuna showed up big time after we left with each boat catching at least 6 fish over 150lbs and a few over 200lbs. Shoulda been here yesterday. In addition to the great location, our group of Traveling Fishermen were a great bunch of people to share such an experience with. We started the trip all knowing eachother through the Fishing Center but ended the trip as fishing buddies.
If anyone out there has interest in fishing Panama I highly recommend the Paradise Fishing Lodge. Feel free to contact me and I can get you in direct contact with the operator. Next up for the Traveling Fisherman....Any Suggestions?- firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictures have been added to both reports. See below.
Day two starts early again. There is not a cloud in the sky and the temps are already near 90 degrees and the sun hadn't even come overhead yet. We had our breakfast and headed for the boats. Today the teams were: Brant, Ken and Kennan on the Sea Fox; Barrett, Mark and Mike on the 27' Contender with Capt. Chi Chi; Rube, Tom and Blair on the Sea Moose; and Brian and Stacy on the other 27' Contender with Capt Chu Chi.
On this day 3 of the boats left the dock and headed for Isla Montousa which is where we fished every day on our last trip to Panama. This area is known for billfish and tuna. Brian and Stacy elected to target roosterfish so they returned to the area where they had fished the day before.
To say it was hot is an understatement. The air was still as a pig........well you know. It was still. Fishing off Montousa was unbareably slow. On board Chi Chi's we did break the ice when Mark Kennedy caught his first sailfish about a 100lber around 10am. We caught the sail while trolling live bonitas. We missed two other billfish during the day but between the heat and slow fishing we were waiving the white flag by late afternoon with our thoughts already on the fountain of youth.
On board the other two boats in our area it was the same story- very slow fishing. This is where the day got interesting and controversy entered the competition. The crew of Brant, Ken and Kennan had decided to ride out and ride home on board the 27 Contender Captained by Chi Chi because the ride was much smoother than on the Sea Fox. In the morning when we arrived to the fishing grounds Brant, Ken and Kennan switched over to the Sea Fox. The same thing occured at the end of the day as the three boarded Capt. Chi Chi's Contender with Mike, Mark and I for the ride home. You see, we thought we were being courteous offering them a ride in a larger more comfortable boat. Well, no sooner than everybody got settled in for the ride back to the lodge did Capt. Chi Chi take a 90 degree turn which made us all look for the horizon. Sure enough, we finally found the fish. As we were approaching you would see a splash here and there. After a half mile we found the epicenter of the most incredible display of tuna carnage you could imagine. Yellowfin upwards of 200lbs and porpoise had worked together to force schools of sardines to the surface. The feeding that ensued was scary. The tuna were so aggressive when the crashed on a ball of bait the water would splash the crew in the boat. 6 or 7 boats had found the action and for the next hour it was on. The crews on each boat began throwing anything they could find and no sooner did it hit the water than it got nailed. Triple hookups on every boat. Most fish pulled hooks, broke lines or got crossed with other fish being angled.
Back to the competition for a minute. Remember that Brant, Ken and Kennan were now on board with Mike, Mark and I. Everyone has a different opinion of what happened and a different interpretation of the rules but needless to say there were some protest flags flying at dinner that night due to the combined crew. During the middle of the chaos Brant jumped back on the Sea Fox and proceeded to catch several large yellowfin up to 130lbs and managed to get some good underewater photography as well. Tom, Blair, and Rube were hammering the large tuna and also caught a sailfish on a popper in the blitz. My boat battled numerous tuna, caught a few up to 100lbs, caught a 40lb mahi and Kennan landed a sailfish hooked on a cedar plug from a casting rod. It was intense.
That evening the stories were of the day of heat and boredom followed by an hour of chaos and the most amazing feeding ever witnessed. The fountain of youth, tuna sashimi and cool drinks did the trick and we were ready to go again tomorrow.
The tally for the day was: Sea Fox had 5 points with 1 dolphin at 30lbs, 1 cubera, and 2 tuna one over 100lbs; Capt. Chi Chi's 27 Contender had 9 points with 2 sailfish, 2 yellowfin less than 100lbs and 1 mahi at 40lbs; The Sea Moose had 8 points with 2 mahi to 30lbs, 1 sailfish at 100lbs, and 2 yellowfin one over 100lbs; Brian and Stacy aboard the other 27' Contender with Capt Chu Chi had a great day of bottom fishing. The accumulated 6 points but stayed busy all day. The caught 12 mullet snapper, 6 jack crevalle, 2 bluejacks, 10 yellowfin tuna to 25lbs, 2 sharks, 4 cubera to 30lbs, 1 rock snapper and a trigger fish. Despite the clear winner of the day (Mark, Mike and I), there was too much controversy on the table to distribute the winnings so the decision was made to roll the pot over to the following day, double or nothing.
More to follow.
Ok, I've caught my breath and now can sit down and reflect on a busy week of traveling, fishing, and good times abroad. I am still without my computer so I won't be able to post pictures for a couple more days but I'll go ahead with the adventure details. UPDATE- PICS ARE NOW POSTED
After sending "kingzilla" on his way in Miami to the taxidermist, Brant, Rube, Stephanie and I met up with the rest of the Traveling Fishermen crew to begin our adventure to Panama. The team consisted of Ken Hill, Kennan Hill, Mike Kennedy, Mark Kennedy, Tom Bordeaux, Blair Bordeaux, Brian Allen, Stacy Allen, Brant, Rube, Barrett and Stephanie McMullan. Everyone arrived to the Panama City airport on schedule and we were greeted by our cheaufer who loaded us up on our private chartered bus. The only hickup to this point was Kennan Hill's luggage didn't make it to Panama. The luggage did eventually show up just in time to make the trip back home. It ended up working out as everyone pitched in outfitted Kennan with a hodge podge of attire.
We took a 7 hour bus ride in just over 5 hours thanks to Jose Earnhardt our driver. We traveled across the entire country including the Panama Canal until we finally reached our secluded destination around 9pm tucked away in the coastal mountains overlooking the Pacific. We arrived at night so we coudn't see exactly where we were but the fact we didn't see another vehicle for the last 45 minutes of the trip told us we were out there. We were greeted by Eddi and the staff when we arrived and treated to a fresh tuna dinner and drinks before heading to bed with instructions of an early morning wake up call the next day. The accomodations were absolutely incredible especially considering the remoteness of where we were located. The stone and concrete architecture made this place seem like a 5 star hotel.
At 6am the resort staff made the rounds waking everybody for a full breakfast of eggs, bacon and fresh fruit before heading out for our first day of fishing. By just after 7am we were all split up into our teams of three and were driven down the mountain to the river where we met the Captains and boarded our vessels. On this day the teams were as follows: Barrett, Mark and Stephanie were aboard the Sea Fox with Capt. Carlos; Rube, Ken and Kennan were aboard a 27' Contender with Capt. Chi Chi, Brant, Brian and Stacy were aboard the Sea Moose with Capt. Bartolo, and Tom, Blair and Mike were on another 27' Contender with Capt. Chu Chi.
We departed the docks and ran the 50 miles out to the world famous Hannibal Bank in calm seas with a slight 2-3' swell. Unfortunately it was so world famous there was a dive boat operation sitting right on top of the bank so our fleet began to light up the vhf in espanol for what seemed to be a quick meeting of the minds. Soon after we were told "tuna" and the throttles were hammered and we were off another 15 miles to another island. Just before we reached the island the water began to move nervously and we were directed by the crew "popper, popper" which is something we would hear all too often during the trip. The ocean was full of schools or porpoise which in Panama porpoise equals tuna. All the boats jockeyed around and casted large surface popping plugs and vertical jigs for the next several hours. Unfortunately this school of porpoise weren't traveling with the mass schools of large yellowfin like we had hoped but most boats caught a handful of yellowfin tuna up to 35lbs. It became clear with the lack of big tunas and lack of bait in the area that this spot wasn't going to produce the top water billfish/tuna action we had hoped for. Around mid day plan b went into affect and the fleet scattered as bottom fishing became priority.
The bottom fishing technique in Panama is interesting. The target species are large snapper and roosterfish. First the Captain positions the boat up current of a stretch of bottom structure. Next the hooks are baited with massive chunks of bonita, tuna or any other kind of fish. There is no lead weight put on the rig, just a huge chunk of meat on a circle hook with a heavy leader. Once positioned the bait is dropped over the side and free lined for the entire drift. The bait is sinking down naturally with it's own weight. Almost every drift each bait would get a bite. You'd feel a quick peck-peck and then wham! A fish would take the bait and head straight for the rocks. You had to feed them for a second and then engage and crank. On board the Sea Fox we caught a variety of fish including the largest roosterfish I had ever seen estimated over 60lbs. To be honest while a roosterfish is portrayed as a glamour species I'd compare it more to a reef donkey with head dress as Kennan so eloquently quoted.
By mid afternoon everyone was beat down from the long ride, the traveling from the day before and the unrelenting sun and heat. We made the trip back to the lodge where we were treated to the best feature of the lodge. The lodge operator had built a stone infinity swimming pool with a waterfall and swim up bar. This was later determined to be the fountain of youth for it's ability to rejuvenate everyone after a long day on the water. It was either the pool or the special margaritas prepared by Eddi. We soaked in the pool overlooking the Pacific while watching the sunset, eating sushi, sashimi, ceviche, drinking margaritas and telling fishing stories from the day. After showering up we all met back at the main outdoor dining area where the cooks had prepared fresh tuna and snapper for dinner from the day's catch. On the bus ride out the previous day we had a group meeting and agreed to have a daily competition with a points system and proceeds for the winners to be split amongst the fishermen and Captain of their vessel. The points system was as follows: Marlin 4 points, Sailfish 3 points, Yellowfin up to 100 lbs 1 point, Yellowfin over 100lbs 2 points, Dolphin 1 point, Cubera Snapper 1 point, Roosterfish 1 point, and wahoo 1 point. One point species were capped at 3 points maximum. Day one tallies were the crew of the Sea Fox accumulating 5 points with 7 yellowfin tuna under 100lbs, 1 roosterfish at 60lbs, 1 cubera snapper at 30lbs, and 2 mullet snapper. The 27' Contender with Capt Chi Chi had 2 points with 1 cubera at 30lbs, 1 rooster fish at 55lbs, and 3 mullet snapper. The Sea Moose had 3 points with catch consisting of jack crevalle, a white tip shark, an AJ and 3 cubera snapper up to 35lbs. Day one winner was the 27' Contender with Capt Chu Chi and crew of Mike Kennedy, Tom and Blair Bordeaux who had 6 points with 4 yellowfin, 6 cubera up to 60lbs, a mullet snapper and a shark. Prizes were distributed that night and everyone retired to their rooms after a long day and 3 more to follow.
I will pick up the story tomorrow at the beginning of day two.
Why yes, I think I'll have one. Ahhh..sea bass, one of the most under rated bottom fish in the ocean. But one of the best eating fish. This 4.05 lb beauty was caught aboard the Dirty Martini Saturday by Johnny Schuchman and weighed in at Eugene Platt's in Cherry Grove, SC.
A couple of notes. 1) Had Johnny been in the OIFC Rodeo, he would be in 1st place and would have been tough to beat. 2) he could have brought the sea bass to the OIFC by plane, train, boat or car the same day for our weigh in and been with in the rules.
The Dirty Martini is owned by Jeff Martini who also owns Martini's Continental Dinning on Hwy 17 just inside N. Myrtle Beach. Excellent catch Johnny and thanks Jeff for the pic.
This beautiful morning began with the OIFC/Get Busy fishing inshore and the World Cat headed to the Gulf Stream.
Captain Jeff Williamson of the OIFC/Get Busy Kenner Boat had a half day charter with Dimitri Trlantafyllides, has 12 yr old son Nick and John Ross Porter, of Charlotte on a red fish hunt. The group had their best fortune at the Little River Jetties where Nick boated this nice red shown in the picture. Captain Jeff was using DOA C.A.L. Shad.
Meanwhile, off shore, Captains Chris Dew and Steele Park headed to the Black Jack and the Steeples with a charter consisting of Raymond Cartright, Kyle Cartright, Bill Kratz, Billy Kratz and Mike Lane. This group spent the day bottom fishing. The Cartrights told me they caught at least 75 fish. In the bonanza were 3 gag grouper, a 15 lb American red snapper, trigger fish, bonita and aj's. As you can tell by the photo they were only allowed to keep the aj's and trigger fish. They told me they caught fish until everyone was worn out so they took turns reeling and taking pictures.
Captain Steele said they fished with Rosco Jigs, Shimano Butterfly Jigs and a plethora of other atrificals in 68 degree water. The charter members took several photos and are going to forward them to the OIFC. They'll be posted as soon as they arrive. Captain Steele may do an update with further details.
Rub it in..that's exactly right. For all who are trapped inland, or who decided to stay glued to the NCAA on TV...you're missing a beautiful weekend and the start of fantastic fishing.
Judging by the reports the OIFC has been receiving, the inshore bite is happening from the Little River Jetties to the Shallotte River and all the mud flats in between.
Check out the pictures below for photographic evidence. Camdyn Beck joined a multitude of locals and spring breakers for a wonderful afternoon on the beach, while Captain Jacob Frick and some folks caught red drum and trout around Ocean Isle Beach. As far as bait goes, you had better take a variety in your tackle box because no one bait is THE answer.
OK, the wake board pic Captain Zach posted may be pushing things a little..
Get out and enjoy the weather, we deserve it after this winter and while your at it stop by. The staff has packed the store with a lot of new merchandise.
There have been no recent offshore reports. To my knowledge no one has been out because of the wind. The weather looks most favorable for a Saturday trip if you are so inclined.
Inshore has been a different story. The trout bite is on. Based on reports the best bite has been WAY up the Shallotte River. If you know the river I'd give that a try, although you may have to go as far up as the golf course. If you don't know the river, I don't think now would be the time to try and learn it.
The trout and red bite has also been on around the docks the other side of the Sunset Bridge. Bigger drum have been caught at the Jetties. As far as baits, it's a toss up. Gulp Shrimp, DOA Shrimp, Billy Bay Shrimp and shrimp on Hookup' Lures buck tails would be good ammo.