The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Tight Lines

January 4, 2013

Looking back on a very productive 2012 fishing season

TARBORO — My 2012 fishing season was a good one. Maybe my best ever! It was all about hickory shad, white shad, rockfish, and speckled trout. More important, than the fish themselves, were the people I met and fished with along the way. Old friendships were renewed, and new relationships forged every place I wet a hook. Anglers are some of the nicest, friendliest, and most helpful people you will ever meet. I say this with tongue in cheek of course, but I don’t trust a man that doesn’t fish.

By changing my usual format, I will focus on the four fish targeted in 2012, and a little history surrounding my involvement with each one.

Hickory shad – We kicked the season off with Tight Lines 2nd Annual First Hickory Shad Contest. Uber shad angler Henry Knight caught the first shad the last week in January, thus the season was underway. We enjoyed about 7-8 weeks of hickory shad action on the Tar River in Tarboro. The regulars would congregate at “The Shad Hole” on River Road adjacent to the Highway 33 Main Street Bridge to Princeville to fish, talk, belch, and tell lies. We had a large time. It was like belonging to an exclusive club, but not having to pay dues, unless you count those 2-3 dozen Custom Jimmy D Shad Rigs I sacrificed to the water gremlins.

The highlight of the hickory shad season is the annual mid-March TASS Hickory Shad Tournament that is always a challenge and fun, fun, fun.

White shad – The “Whites” would be the lead story on many shad fishing adventures last year. The Tar and Roanoke Rivers were chock full of American Shad, which locals call White Shad. The boat ramp at Battle Park in Rocky Mount was a White Shad hot spot for me last season. I even caught a few late-season “Caucasians” there in early June.

When I tell this story, I can just hear KWG (my Daddy) saying, “Richard, you need to get your head examined.” It was mid-March, the height of shad season. I got up at O’Dark:thirty and went to fish the Roanoke River at Weldon. Mid-day, I drove down I-95 to Rocky Mount and fished the Tar River at Battle Park. Late afternoon/early evening, I planted my blue chair at “The Shad Hole” in Tarboro, and fished until dark. I think I actually had a line in the water 12-13 hours that day and caught a caboodle of fish in all locations. Worn slam-out, tired, but very happy! Hey! Maybe dear ole Dad was right!

Rockfish – This Maryland boy loves to catch a rockfish. Yes, Chesapeake Bay folks, we do catch rockfish down here in North Cakalacky, believe it or not. I enjoyed several exciting trips with Bobby Mason on the Roanoke River at Scotland Neck. I stood there bug-eyed and watched Mr. Mason haul in a 40-pound striped bass on one trip.

I always anticipate with glee my annual Goines Rock-O-Rama on the Roanoke at Weldon with family and friends. A special treat for me was having two of my beautiful, precious “Grands,” Hali and Morgan, join me in the fun. Hopefully we can have an encore performance this April.

I partnered with Dempsey Dupree in the John Cherry Rockfish Rodeo on the Tar, and lo and behold, we won 1st place honors due to Dempsey’s skillful good fishing. I was good ballast in the boat to steady us and keep us from sinking while Demps was cranking in the fish.

Speckled trout - John Dupree played matchmaker and hooked me up with Greg Bottoms. We trout fished creeks off the Neuse River in Pamlico County, mostly Dawson Creek, near Janeiro. Catching specs is more fun than a barrel of monkeys, and Greg really made it happen for me. So, thanks, John and Greg!

Greg and I participated in the fall TASS Toys For Tots Speckled Trout Tournament, and I had the honor of netting Greg’s 5.58-pound spec that won all the marbles.

Greg has been a “find” for me in 2012. His fishing expertise and friendship is truly a Godsend.

Rick’s Soapbox – Fishing, writing about it and getting paid for it is a dream job for me. The pay ain’t great, but it keeps me in bait, lures, and cigars. My situation reminds me of the guy that landed that much sought after job with Playboy Magazine. At his hiring interview they ask him if $25,000 would be ok to start, and he said, “Geeze, I’m not sure I can afford to PAY THAT much to work here.”

See you on the water, my friend!

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Tight Lines
  • Rick Goines tightlines.jpg Rockfish tourney nearing

    It must be spring because it is sign-up time for the John Cherry Rockfish Rodeo on the Tar — April 26 is the big tournament day.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blounts Creek environment threatened

    It took a year, but Wifey and I finally met Bob Daw at Blounts Creek. An avid angler, Bob writes an interesting weekly blog about Blounts Creek fishing.

    December 6, 2013

  • Lionfish.jpg Invasion of lionfish could impact local anglers

    Are lionfish quickly becoming a nuisance and threatening our native North Carolina reef fish populations?  Those experts in the marine sciences give an emphatic yes.  The nagging question begging an answer is what to do about it.
    Known in the scientific community as Pterois volitans, lionfish are typically one-pound, foot-long, reef bottom feeders with venomous spines that have no natural predators, and are starting to overpopulate, damaging the ecological balance of the reefs off our North Carolina coast.

    September 12, 2013 1 Photo

  • Rick-Goines.jpg National hunting, fishing day Saturday September 28

    North Carolina joins the nation Sept. 28 to celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day.  Your NC Wildlife Resources Commission has family oriented activities scheduled statewide to help you welcome this enjoyable occasion. For more information about the event, call 919-707-0010 or go to  Visiting that NCWRC website regularly is always a good idea to stay on top of current, solid outdoor info and intel.
    Fall fishing is hard to beat in Eastern North Carolina.  I would stack up our fall Eastern NC fishing action, freshwater and saltwater, against fishing anywhere.

    September 9, 2013 1 Photo

  • Battle Park is a cornucopia of nature

    Fifty-seven acre Battle Park, in the heart of Rocky Mount, is named after the Battle
    family of Tarboro, founders of Rocky Mount Mills. Water-powered, the mill dam was hewn of the rocks of the Great Falls, past the westernmost point of Edgecombe County.

    June 7, 2013

  • Take a kid fishing this summer

    As you put the final touches on your summer vacation plans, consider a fishing outing for the youngsters.  They might not remember or appreciate that expensive beach cottage rental, or that high-dollar meal at that trendy waterfront restaurant, but I would bet a pretty penny they will recall every detail of a fun-filled family fishing experience.
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    May 31, 2013

  • Shad Season in Review

    All things considered, 2013 was a good shad season, thoroughly enjoyed the fishing activity and usual camaraderie among shad fishing friends. Shad fishing to me is about so much more than just catching fish.  It’s a total package of enjoyment as it captivates and dominates my life February through May.
    Wayne Harrell kicked off the season winning the first shad contest catching his hickory shad on a cold 19-degree Saturday morning, February 2.
    The shad hole on East River Road in Tarboro was a little disappointing this year. Untimely flood waters might have limited our regular peak run. Fish were caught and we had some good days, but not the action we have experienced in past years.

    May 24, 2013

  • Banner Day at Battle Park

    Sunday was Mother’s Day.  I am not a mother, but I played one in a school play years ago, so I figured that entitled me to go fishing on Mother’s Day. Need an excuse or rationalization to go fishing? Check with me, I’ve got plenty!
    After suffering through 2-3 days of a rain induced swollen, unfishable Tar River at Battle Park in Rocky Mount, it was jackpot time on Sunday. Without a doubt, I had my best white shad fishing day ever, fishing from sunrise to early evening. Action was good all day, with a little lull for about 2-hours in the heat of the afternoon.
    I am proud to report to you that I enjoyed a 50-fish day. I caught a personal best 46 white shad, 3 hickory shad, and foul-hooked a very angry, upset 3-foot gar.  I thought I had two large white shad, or maybe a big rockfish, so I was a little surprised to see Mr. Gar.  It was like reeling in an uncooperative 2x4 piece of lumber.

    May 17, 2013

  • NCWRC enforcement officers doing a great job

    North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission has two enforcement officers assigned to each county. That’s 200 dedicated, educated, and highly trained individuals protecting our North Carolina environment and natural resources. To become an enforcement officer applicant, one must participate in a highly competitive selection process. A typical candidate is required to pass extensive background and psychological screening. Also included is a vigorous 19-week training academy that is patterned after a military boot camp, with an emphasis on physical fitness.

    May 10, 2013

  • Tight Lines declares Ginger Perry of Nashville the shad queen

    One of my favorite places to bank fish is the boat ramp at Battle Park in Rocky Mount. I have met a lot of interesting people there. Three or four times this season, I have watched this amazing lady, Ginger Perry, fishing with her friend, Big Kelly, for white shad. Simply put, she is one good angler! She casts and retrieves like a pro, and always catches her fair share of fish. Maybe a few more than her fair share! This lady can flat-out fish!

    April 19, 2013

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