The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Tight Lines

September 7, 2012

Fall fishing gets hot as temps cool down

TARBORO — Fall fishing is hard to beat in eastern North Carolina.  Anticipating colder temps and approaching severe winter weather, most fish go on somewhat of a fall eating frenzy.  They are packing on a little extra weight to get through the food-scarce winter months.  Sounds like a plan an overeater like me can understand and appreciate.  Some of those same fish that thrilled fisherpersons this summer are schooling-up in the fall and looking for the nearest all-you-can-eat-buffet.  That’s where you and your trusty rod & reel come in to play.  Cool, sunny days and fish bending rods dancing in your fat, stubby fingers.  Wow!  It just does not get any better than that!

 Gary Bateman tells us that he once again enjoyed a magnificent “flounder pounder” week at Swan Quarter in mid-August.  This is an annual affair for Gary, friends, and family.  He was joined this year by Mike Twiddy of Manns Harbor, Mike Johnson of Rocky Mount, and his brother, Richard Bateman of Williamston.  Gary is Pastor of Warrenton Church of God in Warrenton, NC, but no stranger to Eastern NC inland waterways, as he grew up in Williamston.  Reverend GB loves to fish, is very good at it, and does so as frequently as his ministerial duties and schedule will allow.

 They stayed hard at it for 6 days and caught a ton of trout, puppy drum, and flounder.  Of course, many fish were undersized, and released immediately.  Forty (40) of the flounder were of the keeper variety with numerous fish in the 19-20-inch length range.  The big fish of the week was a 22.5-inch doormat.  That’s a right nice flattie!

 Gary and crew gave a variety of Gulp! Baits a good workout, or I should say the fish gave them a good workout.  They enjoyed a couple of tasty fresh fish fry outings during the week, and still had plenty of fish to stack in the coolers to send everyone home happy.

 Hotspot of the Week – We are getting some fabulous reports of big Red Drum being hooked in all the familiar places.  I am receiving stories and pix of regular, steady catches 40+ and even 50+ pound fish.  Lower Neuse River below Oriental is a sure bet, but tackle-busting big Redfish are all over coastal waterways this time of year.

 Most of the action I am hearing about are catch & release hook-ups, so thumbs-up to all you smart and thoughtful C&R people.  A big hunk of cut bait seems to do the trick.  Got a favorite big red hunting ground?  Have at ‘em!  I can recommend several good professional Red Drum fishing guides, if you have the need.  Shoot me an e-mail, and I will help you make a good connection with someone that will put you on the fish.  Catching a big red is like going to Disney World.  Everybody needs to do it at least once in their life.

 Rick’s Soapbox – I got a nice reaction to last week’s rant about my opinion that fishing and boating is no place for excess consumption of alcohol.  One faithful reader suggested a timed self-imposed coordination test that would indicate your ability to safely operate watercraft.  Maybe NCWRC should have a contest that would invite ideas and solutions dealing with this problem.

 Works for me, but of course the big stumbling block in most of these situations is the offending party acknowledging the problem, and agreeing to do something about it.  Alcohol tends to enlarge the “stupid” brain cells, if you know what I mean.

 Care to share?  Tight Lines welcomes your fish snaps, tall tales, and outrageous lies at

 See you on the water, my friend!


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Tight Lines
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