- Special Sections
- Public Notices
After reading last week’s report by Capt. Barrett McMullan, I am inspired to write at new literary heights. “Far better is it to dare mighty things, though checkered with failure, than to take ranks with those poor souls who live in the quiet of darkness and thus know not the thrill of victory nor the agony of defeat.”
Really? How can I compete with such genius? Here is my best effort, but kudos to Capt. Barrett for such strong presentation.
Mother Nature has finally opened the door, giving a peak and a reminder of what spring is supposed to be like. It has been one long and tough spring, but my guess is we may skip spring and jump right into summer from here.
Remember the “pendulum” I often refer to? Fishing, weather, politics, life, it does not matter; the pendulum will always swing too far in one direction and thus must correct, and in doing so, will often swing back too far in the other. According to my tabulations, we are due for some awesome fishing weather in the next month and half. I won’t mind sacrificing March if it means a great April. This past weekend the weather broke and a few boats headed back offshore to give the fishing another shot.
Capt. Steele Park, of the Ocean Isle Fishing Center, was host of a Gulf Stream fishing school last Saturday and Sunday. The school was limited to four students (Josh Otey, Harry Smith, Doug Cross and son Daniel Cross), providing intense one-on-one, hands-on fishing instruction.
The land-class portion of the school took place at the OIFC from 4-6 p.m. Saturday. Steele reviewed making rigs, rigging baits, setting spreads and where and how to find fish. Beyond gathering knowledge to be utilized on their own boats, the class was specifically prepping for a day of fishing aboard the OIFC Carolina Cat in the Gulf Stream.
The winds were from the northeast at 15 knots when the team cleared the inlet. The forecast was for winds to die down, but it was no easy ride offshore in the 3-5 feet seas. Steele chose to fish the Winyah Scarp area, about 60 miles due south of Ocean Isle Beach.
Upon arrival, Steele guided the class in setting the spread. The school is all about the students doing the work, not the crew. Whereas a charter would consist of the captain and mate working in unison to quickly and efficiently set a spread and prepare for fishing, the class is all about the students becoming as efficient and confident as a professionally trained crew. Things typically begin a little rough: tangled lines, missed fish, knots…but as the day progresses, the students begin to work together as a finely tuned crew.
The water temperature was a bit cool at 70 degrees, but it was blue, which is a key to finding wahoo along the break. By noon, the crew was 1-for-4 on wahoo with several amberjack and false albacore. The seas were calming and the water temperature was on the rise, now at 72 degrees. By early afternoon, conditions were coming together nicely as the team boated another wahoo and a blackfin tuna.
The last part of the trip consisted of vertical jigging, and the crew had plenty of good bottom structure in 150-200 feet to work. Amberjack are a given, but golden nuggets like gag grouper, cobia, African pompano and hog snapper are what all the work is about.
The class got experience jigging and knowledge of just how much fun and hard work it can be. And the class ended as a great success. The students all got a lot of hands-on experience they will now transfer to their boats.
The weather this week is forecast to be nice. A look at the satellite imagery is showing the Gulf Stream is pushing across the 30-fathom break. The wahoo and blackfin are out there. April is the peak month for wahoo and blackfin from our area. The time is now. I will see you out there.
Brant McMullan, a two-time winner of the SKA national championship, is a charter captain and fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at email@example.com.