The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

July 6, 2012

Why not include fishing in your summer travel plans

Rick Goines

TARBORO — Whatever your travel plans this summer, try to include some fishing in the schedule of out-of-town activities. Remember, variety is the spice of life.  Plan ahead and take appropriate gear from home, depending on your closest body of water, and choice of angling.  Locals are your best source of fishing Intel and info.  Be polite, but ask specific questions, and hopefully they will give you the straight scoop.

Fishing is like everything else when it comes to costs and expense; you get what you pay for.  If you don’t have your own boat, seek the services of a professional guide or charter boat captain.  Again, speak up and ask good questions, and let them know your expectations for your fishing trip investment.  It’s important that you and your guide are on the same page.

Scorching summer temps make fishing in the heat of the day a little unpleasant this time of year.  No doubt, fishing is supposed to be a fun and enjoyable activity, but always keep in mind that your personal safety and wellbeing should top your list of summer fishing priorities. Following a few common sense rules is just plain smart.  

Limiting you sun exposure with proper clothing, sun-block, and shade, should top your list.  Staying hydrated is an important, healthy way to deal with the heat of summer.  Packing a good supply of fresh drinking water is as important as having the right equipment or bait during these hot summer fishing excursions.  Truthfully, proper hydration is probably even more important.

This time of year, freshwater fisherman seem to enjoy the best luck early morning and early evening.  Fish tend to become inactive and sluggish in the heat of the day.  Deep, cooler water or any type of structure, whether a pier, dock, or big stump, might offer fish a little protection and relief from the intense sun rays, and uncomfortably warm water.

Largemouth bass, crappie, and an array of sunfish-types are the rewards for those who are patient and willing to work the freshwater creeks, rivers, lakes, and ponds.  The fish are there, but it takes a little planning, persistence, and know-how to find them.

Our saltwater ‘fin-atics’ have a little different story.  Certainly, air and water temp matter, but tides and wind also play a big part in their fishing plans.  If you are not too choosey, you can usually find something to bite your offering in saltwater.  If someone tells you they did not catch anything, it is usually because they targeted a specific fish that day that wasn’t cooperating.  It’s a rare day that something out there in that big Atlantic Ocean isn’t biting.

Crystal Coast beach, surf, and pier anglers using bloodworms and shrimp on tandem hook bottom rigs are catching the usual mixed bag of croakers, spot, sea mullet, sheepshead, and an occasional flounder.  Pier slingers, throwing Got-Cha plugs, have some fast and furious action when a school of hungry, toothy bluefish show up.

Inshore, boaters dragging anything “flashy” are having luck with bluefish and Spanish.  Gulp! Baits and live shrimp are fooling flatfish around structures.  Red drum are being caught in the creeks and shoals and in deeper water, large slabs of cut bait function as catnip for the big reds.

Offshore around the Big Rock and Gulf Stream, billfish, wahoo, and dolphin are keeping folks from dozing off after a long boat ride.  Tackle-busting amberjacks are being enticed, when bottom fishing at the offshore wrecks.    

Care to share?  Tight Lines welcomes your fishing success stories and fishy snaps at

See you on the water, my friend.