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"They're still heeee-rrrrre..." | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 01/23/09
 

I just talked to Curt O'Donnell of Charlotte who returned an hour or so ago from bluefin fishing.  Curt pushed a little further offshore than the fleet has been fishing and found a nice color and temp break about five miles inshore of the Frying Pan Tower.  He and his sons managed to hook a tuna and fought it for 20 minutes before it came unbuttoned.  Good to know that there still is a fish around.  I fished with Capt. Joe Seegers, Capt. Jeremy Hicks, Barry Gardner, and Stephen Hunter yesterday and did not get a strike, but hearing about Curt's near miss, my spirits are lifted.  Can't wait for good weather so I can try it again. 

P.S.  Curt got his strike on a black/purple JAG 3 head down deep.  Maybe I need to add something darker to the spread...

Speaking of giants, I just got these pictures from Jamie Blue's mother, who put together a collection of shots we got on our last trip--many thanks to her for doing that.  Jamie's now at his new job in upstate SC, but he confided in me just a few days ago that he wants one more shot at a tuna this year.  Let's hope he racked up some vacation time really quick!  I think the middle of this week is going to be prime tuna time.


- Capt. Chris Burrows
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"Bluefin State of the Union" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 01/21/09
 

OK- I know we've been pretty quiet over the past week, but I think that is going to change.  We had a booming first push of Bluefin that lasted the entire first week of Jan.  Then the fishing did slow down the second week, but every day there was effort at least one Bluefin would be caught or hooked up- keeping the dream of catching a Bluefin alive.  Now we've entered into the third week, and I think the action is about to be renewed.  Last Thurs, Fri and Sat there was a strong bite of Bluefin off of the Morehead City area.  The fish showed up on the East side of the Cape Lookout shoals the first day and by the second day had moved off the end of the Knuckle.  I believe this is the next group of Bluefin that we will see to our area.  I think this group should make it here before the end of the month, my guess would be mid next week, but strictly a guess.  The weather looks good tomorrow, and I know there will be effort, so maybe the fish will show early?  Regardless of whether its tomorrow or next week, the key to getting in on the action is to either be a pioneer or be ready to go at a moments notice.  Usually, by the time you hear about a bite, it's too late.  Luckily, you can stay tuned to www.OIFC.com and the moment the fish show, we'll let you know.  You then need to drop everything and get here quick.  The bite may only last a day or two- so be ready!

As for myself and team, we are heading to the Raleigh boat show this weekend, so we'll be off the water.  We will keep in the loop and keep you updated.  Amy, Caroline and I are heading to Key West on Friday to fish the SKA tournament on Sat and Sun and we'll be back the following week.  Hopefully I'll get in on the last week of action with the Bluefin.  I'm sure if the fish show, Capt. Roger and Capt. Chris will carry the flag for the OIFC. 

Anyway, good luck and be ready.  I believe we will get one more good shot of Bluefin, so don't be late!


- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Meanwhile......" | OIFC 1- 36' | 01/20/09
 

I got cold just watching the weather channel this morning with reports of snow and sleet covering the Carolinas including the coast.  Fortunately I quickly warmed up when I opened the door to 70 degree temps and sunshine outside our motel in Key West.  The road team consisting of Rube, Stephanie and I made it down to Key West a couple days ago and have set up tournament headquarters in preparation of the upcoming pro tour event this weekend.  I hate to say it, but there's something satisfying about leaving frigid temps and heading south to shorts and flip flops weather.  Although, we are supposed to have a cold front come through today and temperatures are expected to plummet to the mid 60's.  Other tournament teams are beginning to arrive, but rough sea conditions looks to keep everybody on the hill until Thursday.  This is good and bad news really.  Good because it gives everyone a chance to settle in after a long trip, but bad because Duval street will likely never be the same after this crowd spends two days landlocked.  There's only so many rigs and fluorocarbon leaders you can tie before it's time to "explore" Key West.  The forecast looks pretty good for tournament weekend and we hope to hit the water for bait catching a pre fishing beginning Thursday.  Down here we like to use big blue runners for bait, which can be a challenge to locate.  This is the time of year when Gulf king mackerel and Atlantic king mackerel stocks presumably converge off Key West making for some of the most impressive kingfish action anywhere.  We'll be out searching towards the end of the week and hopefully will have them cornered for the weekend.  Stand by for updates. 


- Capt. Barrett McMullan
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"Road Trip!!!" | OIFC 1- 36' | 01/19/09
 

The staff of the OIFC is taking a road trip to the 2009 Raleigh Convention Center Boat Show this Friday thru Sunday.  You can meet Captains Roger and Chris who are experts in off shore fishing from Morehead to Myrtle Beach.  They can  "hook you up" (sorry, couldn't help myself) with knowledge from tying line to trolling for our Blue Fin Tuna.

Also on hand will be our own Mrs. Juanita.  Juanita is a veteran of the U. S. Coast Guard and among many other duties serves as our graphic artist and Web Store Manager.  Some guys sell her short on her boating and fishing knowledge because "ooooo, she's a girl", but she can talk fishn' and tie line with the best of us.

Not only will we have expert information on fishing south eastern North Carolina but we'll have products to sell and charter's to book.  What will be missing is me.  Captain Brant doesn't let me out very often.  So if you'd rather come to the coast and get your salt water fix we'll be open our regular hours and takin' care of business.


- First Mate- Rickey Beck
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"2008 Rodeo Results" | OIFC 1- 36' | 01/18/09
 

The independent accounting firm of Wii, Ketchem and Howe has issued the final results of the 2008 OIFC Rodeo which are posted on our Tournament page.  The prize money totaled $1,840.  There were many excellent fish weighed in and congratulations to all who participated.  There were also a LOT of big fish which would have changed the results of the Rodeo brought to our docks by anglers who had not yet entered the Rodeo.  The 2009 edition of the OIFC Rodeo will begin March 1st.,  entry tickets are available  I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate me for the excellent work I did as assistant director of the Rodeo.
- First Mate- Rickey Beck
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"More tuna news" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 01/15/09
 

Despite rough seas, at least one angler hit paydirt today, again in the same old place near the Knuckle Buoy.  "Tricky" Rickey out of Southport reports a high 80s inch fish.  It's shaping up for a good weekend.

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Also, for the hard-core jiggers out there--the OIFC has listened to your requests.  We now feature the larger Shimano Lucanus Jig, which has proved to be the ultimate weapon on larger sea bass and snapper.  I am willing to bet that the heavy sizes we now stock will be a grouper killer as well. We also got in a shipment of the larger Butterfly jigs--proven on grouper as well as pelagic species.  Ms. Juanita will have them on the webstore shortly, but in the meantime, we have them in the store at OIFC.  Owner assist hooks/split rings/solid rings will be here shortly.  If you have questions about any of the jigs or other products we carry, don't hesitate to give us a call at 910 575 FISH.

*********************************************************************************************


- Capt. Chris Burrows
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"Still tuna time" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 01/14/09
 

It seems as if there are still some fish around and they're biting a little.  There were no tunas brought to our docks today, but there were several hook-ups from around the Knuckle and Raritan.  Wade Long just gave me his side of the story, where he got most of his spread destroyed when another hooked fish ran through his planer.  Hope the angler who hooked him got the fish--sounds like a nice one!  Anyways, looks like it will be on this weekend with cold weather to get the fish really chewing.  Catch 'em up!
- Capt. Chris Burrows
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"Kendal" | OIFC 1- 36' | 01/14/09
 

Talked to Kendal today. He and his wife and eight year old daughter survived a horrible automobile accident. On the way back to OIB from Cincinatti[on the way to go Bluefin fishing] a 18 wheeler pulled in front of them and they hit at 65 mph. With no time to break, Kendal said he jerked the wheel to the right, impacted the fuel tank which miracouslously served as a cushion as it depressed and ruptured, rather than going under the truck with an outcome you can figure. The tank was diesel so it didn't explode. They survived with bruises/cuts/ and a few broken bones. Kendal said he is trying to count the number of angels that were looking after him and his family. If you know that Kendal has devoved his life to missonary medical work throughout 3rd world countries, you can see he has paid his dues for the angels effort. Hurry up and heal and lets go get the Tuna.
- Rube McMullan
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"Local Characters" | OIFC 1- 36' | 01/14/09
 

Captain Tommy Helms sent some pictures of a trip he, Tommy Littton and the rest of their "cast of characters" took recently for a time of fishing, friends and fun.  Isn't that what it's all about anyway?  Check out some of the flounder and stripers they caught.  There were several more pictures, but I can't download but so many.  Also I'm told we should ask Mr. Tommy Litton what the new definition of "Golf Ball" is.  I'm afraid to ask.  
- First Mate- Rickey Beck
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"The best may be to come..." | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 01/12/09
 

High winds this morning kept most of our fleet at the docks.  Only two boats made it out.  One of those that did struck gold with an 87 incher, again caught between the Knuckle and the Raritan.  The Tag-A-Giant team reports from their archival tags that the main body of fish is headed this way, and each day we get further and further away from the full moon.  We may be in for an all out bluefin bite next week, as cold temperatures will only serve to get these fish feeding more and more aggressively.  Time to get ready.  Fishing has been good, it may just become great shortly.
- Capt. Chris Burrows
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"Blue Fin Seminar" | OIFC 1- 36' | 01/11/09
 

With all the Blue Fin action I've laid back on some reporting.  But it seems I've got a break in action today so I can do one.  Friday night after a long cold day Tuna fishing Captain Brant presented his Tuna Seminar.  There were a lot of people in attendance as Brant covered every aspect of this intense fishing.  I for one learned a lot.  There have been a lot of Tuna caught in our area this year  which has generated a great deal of interest and the Staff at the OIFC appreciates having so many brought to our dock.   We're also happy to see so many friends back on the water. There were several boats out fishing around the Knuckle yesterday and from what I've been told there were some Tuna landed.

All the fishing action is not off shore though.  As I reported in an earlier post (which I deleted so we could get some Blue Fin action up front), some flounder giggers have reported flounder stacked up in the creeks.  They said they are not doormats, but they are there non the less.  A friend also told me he got a Carolina Slam the other day while kayak fishing.  Our inshore assassin, Brandon Sauls has returned to OIB and from what I've heard he smacked the trout.  There's plenty of action for everyone to enjoy.  Hope to see you down here soon.


- First Mate- Rickey Beck
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"Today's Tuna Report" | OIFC 1- 36' | 01/10/09
 

Shane Hollar, and Evan Edwards landed a 74 inch Blue Fin today on Evan's 238 Sailfish.  Evan was the driver and Shane was the reel man using an eighty wide with a pink and pink Jag 3 down deep.  Shane and Evan were fishing the Knuckle Buoy.
- First Mate- Rickey Beck
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"More striped bass" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 01/10/09
 

Check out Mike Lyerly and Dennis Pethel, showing off their VA Beach stripers from last weeks trip.  I also spoke to Capt. Steve Prevatte, a local inshore assassin, about the stripers in this area.  He recommended heading to the Little River bridge on the "worst weather you can find" and either throwing plugs or fishing live bait.  I'll have to give it a  try on the next day where bluefin tuna is not an option.
- Capt. Chris Burrows
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"Today's Blue Fin" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 01/09/09
 

Captain Roger along with Buck Jenkins, Michael Coleman and Robert Coleman returned to the OIFC this afternoon with a 74" Blue Fin.  Michael was on the rod and fought the fish for about an hour and a half.

They were fishing the Raritan in about 70 ft. of water using 80 wides rigged with pink and white JAG 3's.  The Tuna was caught on a downrigger set at about 50 ft. deep.  It also had a stomach full of shad.  Saturday looks great and next week looks super.

A tip if you are fishing with Captain Roger....make sure he's wearing his lucky Scooby Doo drawers.


- First Mate- Rickey Beck
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"Free Bluefin seminar Friday Jan 9" | OIFC 1- 36' | 01/08/09
 

For everyone who is interested in the complete "how to" story of the amazing Bluefin Tuna season we are having, don't miss the opportunity to come to OIFC tomorrow at 5:00 to learn from the best Bluefin fishermen around. Capt Brant and crew will put on a detailed A-Z on everything you need to know in order to participate in this fishery.

Having read Barrett's tuna report yesterday, one thing he left out on his report was the "secret" color of lure he was using. He disclosed to me, in the presence of his wife to be Stephanie, that the night before she was painting her toe nails with purple nail polish. He reciprocated by painting his Bluewater Candy JAG lure with the same purple nail polish color.[What do you expect from a guy that catches King Mackeral on a dill pickle?] Now that the secret is out, go get em[purple polish avaiable at WalGreen and CVS] 


- Rube McMullan
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"Charter Fishing Forecast" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 01/07/09
 

It looks we'll be able to get Friday and Saturday in, although they will likely be a little sloppy-- However, Sunday through Tuesday are looking VERY good right now and we do have openings on these days.  Take a day off work and come go fishing with us- call (910) 575-3474-

Capt. Brant


- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"No Fishing For Us Today" | OIFC 1- 36' | 01/06/09
 

A combination of 4 straight days of fishing and a bad/getting worse weather forecast kept the covers pulled tight over my head this AM.  I felt guilty not going out fishing given the unique opportunity we have been given recently with the Bluefin fishery.  It looks like we'll certainly be on the hill thru Thursday, but then hope to pick things back up on Friday. 

FREE BLUEFIN SEMINAR- THIS FRIDAY, 1/9- 5pm: We invite and encourage anyone interested in participating in this fishery to come to the OIFC to get geared up and ready. Capt. Brant and staff are hosting a hands-on seminar/class on how to get hooked up and handle Giant Bluefin Tuna. There are specific techniques to having success, but beyond that, there are safety issues involved with handling fish of this size. If you are someone who is interested and licensed to sell Giant Bluefin Tuna, our Bluefin tuna broker, will be on hand to discuss how to handle the fish once boated. For information on what licensing you will need to sell fish, call Donald Diehl at 252-241-9944. However, it is important to remember that this fishery IS NOT just about catching and selling these fish. There is a great catch and release recreational fishery for the Giant Bluefin Tuna. You may also keep a Bluefin to eat if you like, however, they are truly not the best Tuna to eat and releasing them is encouraged. For all the current regulations on landing Giant Bluefin- visit www.NMFSpermits.com . The thrill of hooking up to and releasing one of these awesome fish is a challenge to any fisherman and a great accomplishment. If you are interested in the fishery, don't get discouraged if you don't have the license or don't want to kill these fish. It is highly encouraged you fish and if possible, tag these Giant Bluefin Tuna so more can be learned about them. If you are interested in participating in the recreational tagging program EMAIL Barbara Block with the Tag-A-Giant foundation for information.
Again, the seminar on Friday is FREE. The OIFC hopes that by helping you become successful, we can earn your business for this season and seasons to come.

Here are some pictures from Sunday's fishing.  We had outdoor writer Mike Marsh on board and he took some nice shots.


- Capt. Brant McMullan
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"Tag-A-Giant" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 01/06/09
 

We haven't touched much on this topic this season, but Dr. Barbara Block's Tag-A-Giant program is still alive and well off of Morehead City.  This study is being undertaken this year on board Capt. Dale Britt's "Sensation."  This past weekend, good friend Bob Newell got to participate in the program on board Brick Brown's "Annie C."  They flipped the first fish in the pictures to the taggers on "Sensation."  The second fish pictured is one caught by the tag boat.  Good to see that even in these tough times there is still research being done to ensure the long term sustainability of these fish.


- Capt. Chris Burrows
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"Hooked Up! Again!" | OIFC World Cat / Carolina Cat | 01/05/09
 

What a weekend.  Lots of fish on the docks, lots of people in town, lots of hooks in the water.  I was ready to give it a try myself.  So when good friend Joe Seegers gave me a call Sunday evening and asked me to fish with him today on the "Hooked Up" out of Southport, I was all over it.  Jamie Blue had no plans today, so we decided that we would all meet at 5 at South Harbour Marina and head out after a bluefin.  Josh Timbers (inshore guide in Southport) would also be joining us.  Neither Jamie nor Josh had ever caught a bluefin tuna.

The first few hours of trolling in the fog near the Knuckle were fruitless.  We heard of several hookups, but no fish had come our way.  We decided to get some dinner and headed over to the Horseshoe, where we put a one-sided beating on the jumbo bass that winter there.  After filling up a few buckets we were satisfied, so we headed back toward the Knuckle buoy.  Fifteen minutes after our baits hit the water again we saw an enormous school of porpoise and marked bait from top to bottom.  A few laps around the area and the long rigger got torched.  Jamie grabbed the rod and and put his first ever bluefin in the boat, in just under an hour and fifteen minutes.  The fish was 82 inches long and later cored at 267 pounds.

You can probably guess the rest of the story.  The same spot produced another bite ten minutes later, only this time it was the planer bait that got nailed and Josh on the rod.  His first ever bluefin hit the deck just over an hour later.  This fish went 78 inches and cored at 207.

What a day.  Nothing beats a successful day of fishing with friends.  Very cool to see Jamie and Josh each catch their first bluefin on the same trip.  Also, it is an encouraging sign that these fish are hanging around our waters.  We have seen good numbers of fish on each fishable day, and there is a good class of fish around.  We have heard of very few short fish this year.  Let's just all keep our fingers crossed that this fishery remains in place for years to come.


- Capt. Chris Burrows
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"Preparation" | OIFC 1- 36' | 01/05/09
 

Blue Fin Tuna fishing can be a long boring trip which explodes in a split second into a fight with a Volkswagen sized pelagic.  I've worked at the OIFC for the past couple of years, but this is the first time I've gone Blue Fin fishing.  The "fishing" starts with preparation....having the right equipment.  For Christmas, Jeff got a Shimano Tiagra 80W purchased from guess where?  Brian Aycock also got a new 80 wide.

Before going out they came to the OIFC and got Captain Chris to set them up with the proper line.  But the type of line is only a small part of the equation.  Captain Chris is one of the finest craftsmen I've met, especially when  it comes to spooling a reel and tying the proper knots to ensure strength and smooth action.  I've got a picture of him here practicing his trade.  The next photo is Jeff and Brian wet packing their line after Chris has loaded it up.  Chris always advises anglers to wet pack their big reels.

Then today I got my first exposure to Blue Fin fishing.  We left the OIFC at about 5:30 am.  Brian was the helm and Jeff and I were keeping a sharp eye pealed as we traveled the ICW, then cleared the Shallotte Inlet.  Once in the open sea, we were smoked by Mike Kennedy and Captain Brant in the  twin Yamaha 350 powered Yellowfin.

As the sun came up, the fog fell, so thick we couldn't see much past the bow of Robbie Robert's 23 foot Contender "King Hunter".  By the time we arrived at our numbers Mike and Brant had already landed  a Blue Fin.  Soon there were several boats in the area with the same mission.  We  were all slow trolling, with at least one long line out back.  We were pulling a variation of Blue Water Candy Jag 3's.  Everyone on the water was careful to give each other plenty of room and especially staying clear of boats with a "fish On"  That is with the exception of some @#%#! on a Triton bay boat, who was flying all over the place.  He finally managed to cut our long line.  As Brian would say, "you just can't teach that".

For the rest of the day, the fog hung low and heavy with limited vision, but the seas were as smooth as a lake.  The sun sure didn't shine on us as we failed to land a Tuna.  But a bunch of other fishermen did,  including Brant and Mike Kennedy and Chris and Joe Seegers, who boated two giants.  Even Though we came up empty I learned a lot.....make sure your electronics are working right, have the right rod, reel and line combo, and use proper etiquette when fishing.  Most of all enjoy yourselves  Keep a check on our reports and come get some of this action.

On a finale note, I've computed all the Rodeo standings and purses.  As soon as Brant and Diane check it for errors, I'll post the results and Brant will get the checks out.

 


- First Mate- Rickey Beck
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