Had a great chance to take my brother-in-law, Mike Holman from Shelby, North Carolina, fishing for a few days. Mike fishes quite a bit on the NC coast and has been down here before, and it was time for an update. We left from the Sea Hag at 7:30 on Friday to light southwest winds and a softly dropping tide. We moved onto a long flat and worked our way in as far as we could with a dropping tide. We were fishing topwaters, and after a few short reds, picked up this one on a chrome Super Spook Junior.
We had a number of nice strikes, failing to hook up with some fish, and caught a few small trout as well. We continued that drift until the tide changed, then headed to a spot south of the river outside of Hardy Point. By this time the wind had ceased completely, the water was very clear, and there were schools of small whitebait that were being harassed by small trout, lots of small Spanish mackeral and the occasional redfish. We worked our way into shore and headed south, but couldn’t find any reasonable fish. Finally after arriving at a rocky bar that frequently holds fish, Mike nailed this nice 26 ¾ fish.
We went in for lunch as the sea breeze kicked in vigorously. We headed out in the chop around 2 and fished some of my favorite areas, that were holding lots of mullet but nothing else. We moved out into some deeper water and tried fishing jigs as things had really slacked off in the 12-knot wind. There was lots of surface action at first, with large schools of whitebait moving through the area, and Mike found himself hooked up with this 10 pound jack which kept him busy for 25 minutes or so. We headed in late with no other excellent fish.
Saturday was crowded, with two tournaments going on. We headed into some strong swells and tried getting to some offshore bars to try them out, but it was clear that would provide us with a very wet return trip. With that in mind, we changed plans and headed back to the south, trying to find an area without lots of tournament boats. We ran south of Rocky Creek to some areas that have been excellent in the past and found nobody there, so we began again casting topwaters since we were somewhat screened from the northwest wind. Near some areas of rock grass, I found this 24 incher.
About five minutes later, I had a vicious strike that looked like an explosion, but the fish missed the plug, so I dropped the Powerpole and threw back to the same spot. I saw a large hump rise up in the 2 foot water and a huge head tracking directly behind the plug, actually out of the water, until the fish caught up with the plug. Then things got interesting. I was actually hoping it wasn’t a tournament-winning fish, since we considered entering the tournament and decided not to, and I would have had to live that down for a long time. However, I didn’t have to worry. Within a minute or two, it became clear that this fish would not have won any tournament…at least that required a legal redfish. After 25 minutes, with the fish wrapping my ten pound line around rock grass, and long head-shaking runs, Mike slid the net under this fish.
One thing that made the task so hard was that one of the trebles was hooked behind the pectoral fin and I never could get pressure to turn the fish’s head. He was approximately 38 inches (the stick only goes to 36) and he pegged the 15 pound Boga immediately. I’m guessing around 25 pounds, but we will never know. This was the biggest red I’ve ever caught inshore, and on ten pound test, was a bit more challenging than the same size fish caught on grouper rigs. The wind picked up after this and we headed north up to Porpoise Creek to get away from it. Rapidly rising tide, beautiful up the creek, and it was full of mullet, but not much else except small trout.
We had to be in before lunch, so we headed in around noon. All fish were released. It was a fine weekend, and I was glad we managed to find some fish to make Mike’s trip worthwhile. It was really great to get to take him out again…