Duck Duck Goose Noise Noise And More Noise Raritan 5,0/5 4514votes
Duck Duck Goose Noise Noise And More Noise Raritan

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Q: Anything happening with the trout bite? Haven't seen any reports lately. A: Sorry for the lack of reports.

The inshore captains have been in and out of town chasing other critters. The trout are here in all the usual places. Live shrimp floated under a cork will find the bite and soft plastics in white or chartreuse color patterns will work trolled slowly or jigged near any structure like creek mouths, end of docks, and along scattered oyster bottoms. Hot spots of late have been of course little river jetties, calabash crossroad area, Shallotte river and Lockwood river have all produced trout. See ya on the water!

Q: I will be down at Holden beach next Thursday until the whole following week which is Thanksgiving. I was wondering where you think the kings will be? I know that they have been close lately but with this cold front that just came in, do you think it will ouch them off to the shark hole or even the Horseshoe? IF it is really nice I would like to get the stream if the fish are biting out there! I have heard some good reports from the stream. A: You are correct on everything you said.

If not still at Shark push off to Horeshoe, should be there. November is a great month for wahoo. Q: Lighthouse Rocks or 390's. Where would you start inside 12 miles? Where is the greatest concentration of pogies? Thanks for being a resource. A: Last weekend both spots were hot.

They should continue this weekend as nothing dramatic with weather this week and it is settling from cold front on Monday Pogies are up and down the beach, usually better off Long Beach. They will get harder to catch now as they being to 'run' vs 'ball'. Need a fast sink net that you can laaunch out in front of your boat. Q: Is switching the cable on downriggers to braid a good thing to do to eliminate the hum in the water? Also what pound downrigger balls do you prefer when slow trolling and how far should I put the bait out from the Downrigger ball when slow trolling menhaden? A: yes braid is the answer but leave wire on spool as backing as the braid will cut the spool.

We have downriggers packs of 250lb braid at OIFC. We use a 8 lb ball but if lot of current go to a 10. The clearer the water the further back from the ball, typically 25 yards. Q: A couple of years ago I went on a charter with Captin Jacob and caught plenty of black drum off of live shrimp under the Ocean Isle bridge.

Since then, I've fished under the bridge with live shrimp, but I have not had any sucess. Tide wise, when would be the best time to go if i'm looking for black drim? I remember that Captin Jacob scheduled our charter for a specifc time because of the action of the tide.

Thanks A: Stephen, Last there hours of falling tide and first three hours of rising tide has always been the best tide to target most all species. Low tide concentrates the bait in the deeper water and the predators often follow. Once water gets higher into the grass, bait and fish start to spread out. As far as the OIB bridge goes, the black drum bite has been hit or miss there lately. It was off the chain in June, but has pretty much disappeared altogether since July. Not sure where the fish went too. Shallotte Inlet around the docks and sea wall at Inlet View bar and grill has been producing as of late.

However, the weather is making each and every day a little different causing the fishing to be a bit tricky. I haven't been on the water in a few days as I took my boys on a vacation. I haven't heard good things though. We were catching nice flounder, reds and black drum before I left.

Guess I will have to look hard to find a few more fish in the next few days. Good luck out there! See ya on the water! Q: I am planning to fish on Wednesday. I have a bay boat and was wondering if NE wind made favorable sea conditions?

The forecast is calling for 5-10. A: Mother Nature has given us a magnificent blessing with a cold front in the middle of the summer.

We normally don't get a front like this until mid to late August. As long as the wind has north to it, it will be flat along the beach front, so I would net me some pogies and get out in front of Long Beach Pier or yaupon, and catch me a October kingfish in July/August. I bet they bite. Once the wind moves more east, it will be less favorable but still fishable right along the beach. Q: Any luck on Spadefish using jelly balls? Which wreck supports more Spadefish? A: Haven't heard much talk about Spadefish lately as the King bite has been so good, that is where the fishing focus is.

Jelly balls are the answer, 8lb flor, small circle or small jhook. Put jelly ball in a bucket as it will stain your deck. Put a coat hanger thru it and drop down on your downrigger to the bottom.

When you see it bouncing, slowly raise to surface and free line small pieces of the jelly ball. Lots of fun on lite tackle. Only keep enough for dinner and catch/release.

They should be on the nearshore to midshore wrecks. Q: Planning a Gulfstream trip in September with ya'll. Just wondering which you may prefer late or early September. A: For the gulf stream, later is better as the fall wahoo bite will kick in as the water cools. Truthfully, later in the fall is better than early for wahoo[November]. Bottom fishing in the deeper water is usually productive also for grouper, amberjack/ect.

The best time of year to fish the gulf stream is May as that is when the migration of mahi and blackfin tuna occurs. Late summer gulf stream trolling is a hit or miss.

Q: Goin out tommorrow and heading to the shark hole, do you think the water is warm enough for any mahi or is that not far enough. I only have a 23' bay.

A: The Mahi are just now arriving along the continental break[approx. 60 miles out]. As the water warms they will move into the shallower waters and the Shark Hole is definitely a spot they will come to. There could be a mahi there[I saw flying fish there last weekend], but more likely you will need to wait till mid June and on thru the summer. You could find a King or Cobia at the Shark Hole now. Q: Do you think the weather will be suitable for nearshore this Sunday.? Also do you think the fresh water and cooler temperatures will affect the king/cobia bite?

A: Right now the winds blowing 25+, water getting churned up. Will take a few days to clear up for beach bite to get back in gear. Inshore, be best to go up the river to try to find less turbulent conditions. This weekend will be a challenge. Rain/cooler temps not much a factor, actually north wind good for King beach bite.

The stirred up water will be the issue. Q: What do you use to determine where the target offshore water temperatures are. Are any of these offshore apps better than any other? What temperature am I looking for to troll in vs bottom fish in. In 2 to 3 ft.

Seas my worldcat will cruise at about 25 mph comfortably. That said what should I target in a fifty mile range of Lockwood folly Inlet. The furthest we have been is the Navy wreck. We are planning a trip for the 21st or the 28th if we can get some good weather. A: Push off another 10-15 miles and you are at the break[150' to 250'].

There you will find mahi/whaoo/tuna. May is the best month of the year to fish the gulf stream.

We like the Hilton's water temp report best. In fishing the stream, you are looking for 72 degree+. Q: Coming down April 15th or 22nd.we can range out 40 miles or so from Lockwood Folly Inlet.We know how to catch Kings pulling cigar minnows and sabiki live bait and chum and basically catch a variety of fish.We have been and stayed on the tower.We always seem to waste a lot of time figuring out where to go and what to fish for.

What would be a good target fish and strategy for a mid April trip? A: this time of year 40 miles out I would target bottom fish although if you find 68+ degree water you may find the Kings there. Q: Been pier/surf fishing my entire life with live bait.

Just getting into boat fishing in the area and was curious. What would you recommend as tacklebox staples for a spinning rod setup with nearshore or inlet fishing?

Looking at possibly tolling some as well. A: I grew up live bait kingfishing off the Carolina Beach pier.

Moving to a boat, step 1 is get a 8-10 foot cast net[Capt Brants custom nets the best]. Learn to catch pogies. From there, standard king rigs are all you need. Go on our how to do site on our web site and learn about slow trolling.

Sign up for Capt Brants live bait seminars. Q: Hi there, my sister in law and their kids go out with you guys quite a bit. I've been once or twice while visiting, think it was with Jacob? Anyway, since I was there last I started fly fishing here in Colorado and I'm totally addicted. I'm wondering if you all do any salt water fly fishing. Or if it's possible to rent salt water gear on IOB at all. I'd love to give it a shot next time I come to visit, hopefully the end of next summer.

Thanks, eddie A: Capt Jacob or Capt Jeff can accommodate fly fishermen. There isn't a lot of fly fishing done here.

Need a innovator. Q: Do I have to have a permit to fish for the bluefin? I'm hoping to be able to fish for em next weekend. Also do I just go out and put out ballyhoo on sea witches and troll em around like in the Gulf Stream or do you have a preferred lure to rig the ballyhoo with or what's the best technique for fishing for em? Thanks A: There are a lot of permits you need so be sure you have covered that as Bluefin is a federally managed species. Typically we look for whales/gannets working bait pods of pogies.

Best is along the Frying Pan shoals. Gear is specialized for these huge fish. We have prerigged gear at OIFC. Q: This may be a complicated and lengthy question but I am sure you guys can help.

My father and I were wanting to try something new and with it getting a little colder in NC, we would like to go south. Somewhere along the lines of Fort Pierce, West Palm or even down to North Miami. We are looking for just about anything that will give us a fight. I seen your post of the monster kings you guys caught in Ft. If you don't mind me asking, how far were you out and do think there will always be solid fish being right along the gulf stream drop off ledges. Weather its 65 mile out here in NC or 20 mile out in West Palm area.

I would really appreciate the OFIO guys input especially on what they would believe to be the best area to go. I have seen tons of videos out of those areas of catching all kinds of fish with the ability to see land in the background. If you have any suggestions or other questions please let me know. Thanks Dalton A: That's a good time of year to fish West Palm area. Kings/Sailfish action good on the break which is only a couple miles out.

The gulf stream is closest there so you will be fishing very close to shore. The winter sailfish bite should also be on there, much better than Ft Pierce. Q: I fished at the Horseshoe over the past Thanksgiving weekend and really got into the kings. I will not be heading back down until the first week of March.

I would really like to find some kings and also hook up on some AJs. Will the kings still be around the horseshoe area?

I have also heard something about a wreck that is close to the Horseshoe. I was hoping to find out the name of that wreck and find some AJs. I guess I am asking if you guys think the fish will be around that area in March OR where I might find multiple species of fish to catch. A: its all about water temperature, If close to 70 at Horseshoe in March they will be there. If still cold water then move on off to SW ledges at Tower and they should be there. Most likely they will be at Horseshoe in March.

Raritan is probably the wreck you mean. Lots of AJ's there, and Cobia too. Q: Wanting to buy a bait pen for tournament fishing around the area and I was just curious as to your opinion on which size I should get, and which shape I should get such as oval or round? I'm getting a robs bait pen like y'all sell and if you wouldn't mind telling me which size and which shape pen I should buy from him I would greatly appreciate it. I'm looking to hold menhaden/bluefish/blue runners overnight and keep them as healthy as possible for the next day.

A: medium to large oval we still have a couple at OIFC. Q: Heading down to my place over thanksgiving weekend and was planning on getting out to do some fishing. Only question is where are the fish and what fish will be around. Assuming pogies will be moved out also. Kings were hot past few weeks but not sure where or how to catch them at at the end of the month or any other fish for that matter.

If possible I would like to try to find some AJ's. A: Hot King bite going on right now at Shallotte Ledges[2 miles outside the inlet!]. Pogies abundant. My guess is by Thanksgivng they should be moved off to Jungle/Shark Hole.

Pogies should be moving on, but cigars should be at the king spots. AJ's typically on ledges/wrecks same depth or slightly deeper.

Q: When trolling blues for king mackerel I've heard to cut their tails you reccommend cutting the tails off too and if so how much of the tail do you cut off? Also what makes your bait pens so much better than the cabelas ones or other brands? Does the bait stay alive longer and more healthier in yours or what? Thanks A: I don't cut tails off on blues. I want him to be happy and healthly and if he can outrun a big King, good for him.

I'm not familiar with the cabellas bait pens, but most likely they are made in China. Ours are handmade by fishermen. Not saying that makes them better, but for whatever reason, they are perceived by fishermen from NC to Fla as the best pens. Q: New to using bait pens. What kind of bait pen should I purchase and once I do purchase one how many baits is prefferred to put into a bait pen for overnight so they will stay strong? Do baits in bait pens always become weaker overnight and lose some of their color or is it just like fresh bait right out of the water? Hoping to hold as much bait as possible healthily overnight in a pen where I can grab them in the morning and don't have to waste tournament time A: We have the best bait pens on the market at OIFC.

Success at keeping bait over night has to do with where you dock the pen, water salinity, temperature, current, and type of bait. Pogies are harder to keep when water hot and should limit it to a couple dozen. Blues keep well and you can feed them pieces of shrimp to super charge them. Definitely a good tourney strategy to have bait penned and when lines in the water you are lines in the water rather than searching for bait.

Q: I have never been in the ska nationals but hope to qualify next year. When going to Florida, Biloxi, etc. Do y'all already have the bait stored in a pen the day before the tournament and just go straight out? Or do some people still go and find bait the morning of the tournament such as around here and then go to the fishing spot? Also is catching bait in these places the same way as catching them around here?

Or do you have to jig them up or something instead? Thanks A: In Florida and Biloxi we normally use blue runners or blue fish or mullets. We jig and hold the bait in bait pens so when it's go time, we are baited and ready. In Morehead, we use pogies and blues and also pen them. Q: i got 2 different dates for the end of registration from the email sent out to me so could you clarify the last day to register? Also, since we had this storm, what is the fishing and water looking like in time for the brawl?

If you don't mind me asking, what are your predictions? Thanks A: you can register up to Friday night Oct 28. The water is still very coffee looking. The kings have not shown back up yet but water is full of bait, water temp is good, and just a matter of time for salinity to get straight. The fish want to be here, should be any day.

Q: I have fished for years in the H B and Ocean Isle area and with Capt. Brant several times.but have never fished for Red drum. I have a world cat and fish offshore.what technique do you use to catch red drum out of a boat.I realize they are near shore.

A: the bull reds are in the pogy pods along the beach. This fishery was discovered a few years ago I think by Capt Brandon Sauls. Blues/Spanish feed on pogies dropping pieces of fish to the bottom. The reds figured this out so they stay with the school to feed on the scraps.

This new fishery may be a result of having more pogies since we were able to stop the commercial pogy netting in our waters. Take a live pogy and put on a Carolina rig and drop in the school.

If no bite move on to the next school. A world class fishery right here in our back yard. Most effective on a north wind when it calm on the beach.

Q: On rough days when I still want to fish and can't find any live bait, is it even worth my time to troll dead cigar minnows on the beach? Will kings bite dead cigar minnows less than a mile off the beach? I never thought they would but thought I would ask a pro. A: They will bite dead cigars anywhere.

However, if you are on the beach and there are pogies, it is true the kings seem to zero in on the pogies rather than a dead cigar. If we are fishing the beach we do try to fish the bait that they are most likely feeding on which would be pogies/blues/ribbonfish or mullets; sometime spots in late fall. Q: Wanting to learn some good bottom fishing techniques. I want to catch some good big bottom fish and if I need to run to the Gulf Stream I will. To catch the good ones do I need to go to the Gulf Stream such as the blackjack or 100/400 to find them?

Or could you point me in another direction where I can tear em up. Also what kind of bait should I use? Thanks A: 100-110 deep is where you need to go. Use squid and if you catch trash fish, use that as cut bait. Best for grouper is live pinfish/pogies/cigars.

Pick any number off chart in that depth, and look around that area and you can find your own spots. Sign up for Capt Brant's bottom fishing school on OIFC web site. Q: I am trying to get back into fishing after about 20 years and obviously have lost alot of knowledge and not knowing this area very well. However, I just recently purchased a boat to take my boys fishing but not quite sure where to go and how to fish for them in this area.

I have spent some time in oregon inlet fishing with my dad but being that I was younger I really didn't pay attention to all the details. I put in at the Brick Landing Ramp.Thanks! A: Inshore spots vary by time of year.

You need to learn Little river Jetties/Tubbs Inlet/Shallotte river. Best and quickest solution would be to sign up for one of Capt Jacobs inshore schools. Focused attention to our specific area and techniques that will produce.

On our OIFC web site. Q: I am heading down in 2 weeks and I'm wondering the best depth that you think me and some friends would have the best luck in finding the big kings. Should i start in the 65 ft range and fish for a little and then move deeper and so on?? How long would you stay at a spot before going to the next?

Thanks A: Hopefully the kings will finally show up where they are supposed to be and haven't been all summer. That is 65 feet. Best bet is to jump around and try several of those spots; jungle/cristina/shark hole/ect. If you are marking cigar minnows the fish should be there. If not, you can push on out to 80 ft and see whats there around some of those rocks.

Will probably find AJ's and maybe mahi. Also worth checking Horeshoe. Seems like they will bite there when they won't bite elsewhere. It's been a weird summer. Fishing has been BAD for kings for some unknown reason. Q: Hey what's the fishing looking like around shalotte inlet and nearshore right now?

I have a 21 footer thinking about fishing the area the next few days and wanted to see what's good to go for now. A: This has and continues to be the most challenging summer of fishing I can remember. The fish are not acting right. You 'should' be able to catch all the Spanish you want outside the inlets but it has been very spotty. The Kings have been nowhere where they are supposed to be. Very weird season.

Best advise is give it a try as every day we say, the fish are going to figure out they are supposed to be biting. The conditions look good. Q: Will be down on vacation in a few weeks. What rod and reel combo would you suggest to do some surf/icw? Is it best to fish a rising or falling tide? A: If you are surf fishing from the sandy beach, it makes no sense to buy a expensive outfit as the sand and salt water doesn't mix well with expensive outfits. We have $30 setups which all you need for beach fishing.

As to tides, fishing the surf you will do better at higher level of tides as you got deeper water close to beach to fish. If fishing intercoastal, either tide is good as long as it is moving[coming or going]. Q: You said earlier that the schools of cigar minnows and kings following have moved into their normal 65 ft depth rang spots, But all i see on the reports is small kings and just a few keepers and the occasional giant. Have you had any luck in the 65 ft spots?

Or in any other spots? By next weekend do you think they will still be moving in to those spots or moving deeper. Trying to put a solid plan together for next weekend and your advice would be much appreciated. Thanks A: So goes fishing. Just when we thought we had them dialed in and the kings were where they are supposed to be.whoosh. They're gone.

It has been the worst king summer I can ever remember. There is a large body of fish somewhere.somewhere. In the mean time, you can catch a scattered king at the 65-80 foot depths. There are scattered mahi mixed in, cobia and amberjacks. Best bet would be to push off a little further to the 80 foot water.

Or better yet move out to 90-100 and find great bottom fishing and free line on top for who knows what. Q: Was wanting to go king fishing on saturday the ocean looks like it may be a rough way out.

Was wanting to how the fishing has been close to shore. Thanks A: King fishing has stunk all summer. The body of fish that is supposed to be in the 65 foot deep water has not showed up. There have been a few fish caught at scattered spots, but definitely not something you can target.

With strong SW wind, hard to find pogies. Charter captains are pulling their hair out. Not even finding Kings in offshore waters. That said, they are supposed to be here, and thus may show up in 65 foot spots at any minute.

Q: When, in your honest opinion, do you think the kings will start showing up in good numbers in Long Bay? Are there any now in Long Bay in the 85-100 ft range? & why do you think the fish are late showing up in this area? A: My honest opinion is honest, but just my opinion. The Kings are very late to show up in 65 foot water which is where they are supposed to be right now. What we have noticed is not seeing the big schools of cigar minnows in normal spots where kings should be.

So best answer is when bait shows up Kings show up. Exactly when I have no clue, but is bound to be any day now as they are several weeks late right now.

Q: We usually just troll but are Looking to go bottom fishing a few times around the tower. Hoping to go next week or so.

What kind of bait should we use to bottom fish with to catch various types of bottom fish? Also where would some good places be to start out around the tower for a good amount of bottom fish and maybe even some grouper? Thanks A: The ledges southwest of Tower approx. 5 miles are good spots.

Squid or cut fish from a trash fish you catch works well. Best for bigger fish[grouper] will be live bait. Any of rocks/ledges in 100 ft will be productive. You may also find cobia and amberjack with live bait. Q: I know it's late in year but would it still be worth it to venture out to the stream for some mahi next weekend?

If so where would the best place be to go? A: This time of year it can be hero or zero. I would try along the break either south or north, and if no luck, then go offshore and look for something floating. If you can find a board/tree/ect, it will be mahi bonanaza as this time of year anything floating will collect a lot of interest. Also in the process of being in deeper water, you may encounter a blue marlin.

Q: I took a offshore trolling school trip with OIFC and one of the setups was an inline planer and bridal setup which was very productive. Can you go over the rod, reel, planer to use for targeting kings? Thank you A: This is not a application that would work for how we typically king fish. You are trolling to slow for the planer system to work for kings as we typically are slow trolling using live bait or dead cigars.

The technique is to move the boat at a speed the live bait can swim with you. If dead bait, same speed.

You can pull ballyhoo for kings at a faster speed and use a planer, but you would use a #1 planner and it would be inline with you lure[typically]. You can use a bigger planner and rubber band/paper clip it to your running line if pulling a big spoon or ballyhoo, but normal approach in our fishing world is slow trolling for kings. That said, there is no set rule on how you fish. Q: Hey, I have a 21 ft Triumph cc and would like to know which inlet would be best to head out of offshore. I've normally headed out of the rodeo aka Shalotte, but noticed that Little River isn't too far away and just want your opinion of heading out of LR instead of Shalotte with the size boat I currently have.

Any advice is greatly appreciated, thanks! A: Wildlife does a good job keeping buoys in place at Shallotte Inlet. The inlet does move around a lot, but simple rule is stay out of white water. A South/sw wind and a stong outgoing tide makes for worst conditions, and in those times probably best for inexperienced boater to stay away. LR has deeper water, but it too, has shoals that need to be avoided, mostly on north/east side. Same rule, stay away from white water.

Q: I'm just getting into salt water fishing. Have a vacation home near OIFC on the waterway. Recently purchased 21' Nautic Star with 150 Yamaha, center console, t-top. I have 2-Shimano TLD 25's on Aluminum seat Bill Fishers, and 2-Shimano TLD 20's on the same rods. 2 have 40 lb high vis and the other 2 have 30 lb high vis.

I also have a couple medium action casting reels with 30 lb pink braided line. Never caught anything bigger than 6-8 lbs. Just started last year and did well with the Spanish. I want to move onto bigger and better fish and plan to spend all day Saturday the 11th of June on the water.

I have a good offshore radio and a really nice nav/fish finder/gps combo. Not willing to go too far out until comfortable and would like to be able to keep my eyes on land if possible until more comfortable with the boat. Only have about 15 hours on it and still learning it. Any advice on what I could hook up on this weekend besides Spanish, a good location to try (coordinates), what other tackle I may need? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

A: If sea conditons allow, you can get to the near shore reefs and wrecks where you may find kings or cobia this time of year. Your next fishing step is dead bait king fishing. Go to our how to section on oifc web site and read up. Come to OIFC and one of our captains will get you dialed in on exactly what you need. You can fish the 90/90, Milliken ledge, or the artificial reefs[you need a profinder chart]. Also need a cobia jig. Once you perfect this stage, next stage is to catch live pogies, and from there go win the Jolly Mon King tourney.

Q: Two questions, How far off shore is the cape fear ship channel you always talk about, and where is it shortest to access its fishing spots from? Second, is a 1' mesh too large to catch pogies on the beach? A: shipping channel king fishing starts at Bald Head Island[Southport] and progresses offshore to sea buoy[approx. Fish can be anywhere along channel but best spots seem to be around rocks at end. 1 inch mesh will work ok. Our nets are 1 1/4. Key is how fast they sink and size[need 8'+].

Q: Would you mind giving a detailed description of the typical spread to use when trolling for mahi that includes the type of lure/teaser, if it has ballyhoo or plain, and where that particular lure needs to be located in the spread. It'd really help me a lot. A: When trolling for mahi we are also trolling for wahoo and tuna, so our spread is thusly directed. Typically: long outriggers skipping on top or swimming with rigged ballyhoo and any type of lite head you like. Bright colors seem best for mahi. Inside riggers the same, with a heavier head for swimmers.

Flat lines can be a swimming plug for wahoo or a weighted line either with a detachable planner, a downrigger planner, or a torpedo lead. If you are interested in gulf stream fishing, shortest route of learning curve is to sign up for Capt Brants gulf stream fishing school. Or come to OIFC and talk with our charter captains. They will be happy to share with you. Q: I just purchased my first cc boat. It is a 2016 Nautic Star 2102 with a 150 Yam.

I would love to get on to some good fish of good size but not at a comfort level yet to go far off shore. I did have a vhf radio installed and a nice garmin system for nav/gps/fishing,etc. Where is a good place to break in the wife and kids catching fish and what tackle is needed.

I already invested in a couple Bill Fisher rods, two light/med and two med/hvy with 30lb high vis on two and 40lb high vis on the other two. Not sure what is the best tackle to use for trolling or bottom fishing but would love any advice, locations or assistance offered. Thanks in advance. A: Best entry point is trolling for Spanish macks. Go to our web site for 'how to'. There is a section for Spanish fishing. Next up is bottom fishing for sea bass.

Next step is dead bait King fishing. Next step is live bait fishing.

All how to's are on our web site or come by OIFC and we will talk you thru it. Q: Hi Guys, my dad just got a 26 foot center console, we have it down at Southport Marina.

We used to fish out of Morehead or Emerald Isle. I want to go catch some Mahi over Memorial day holiday - where should we go? Thank you, Jay McCarthy A: The Mahi will be located along the break[approx.

Later in the summer they will move into the King spots, mostly in 65 feet of water. Our fishing range along the break is mostly from the Scarf to the south to Steeples to the north. Popular spots are Scarf, MacMarlen ledge, 100/400/Blackjack, Steeples. The Mahi are scattered up and down the break this time of year, but best bet is to look at water temps night before you go and if there are extreme temp breaks, that's where you want to go. Or check in with OIFC fleet and see where they caught day before. Q: I will be moving to your area in the next year and am an experienced boater and fisherman on mostly inland waters, bays with little ocean experience. I unfamiliar with your waters.

Recently went back to single outboard from twins and wondering how far offshore folks feel comfortable good night generally in the Ocean Isle area. Is there a good buddy system? How far offshore does cell service work? I have an Epirb and thinking about satellite phone but cost is a consideration.

Any advise is appreciated. A: If you are 23' or more, you can go wherever you want, based on good sea conditions[slight and lite]. Kings/Cobia will soon be in 65' water, May is the month to fish the gulf stream break[60 miles]. Check in with OIFC and you should meet other boaters who also look for company when heading 60 miles off. Cell is good to approx. Q: I will be moving to your area in the next year and am an experienced boater and fisherman on mostly inland waters, bays with little ocean experience. I unfamiliar with your waters.

Recently went back to single outboard from twins and wondering how far offshore folks feel comfortable good night generally in the Ocean Isle area. Is there a good buddy system? How far offshore does cell service work? I have an Epirb and thinking about satellite phone but cost is a consideration. Any advise is appreciated. A: First is pick the right day[lite and variable] I see 23 foot boats going to the stream[60 miles] on right days.

Size of your boat determines how far you can push out. Cell phone pretty much out to 20 miles max OIFC is a good source for networking with other fishermen. Good spots within 20 miles for Kings/Cobia/AJ's and Mahi in summer. Q: What are you looking for when trying to find kings up the coast right now? And how far do you usually go out to catch them? A: Kings appear along the beach in first week of May, usually around Ocean Crest Pier at Long Beach.

We 'theorize' the warm water outflow from power plant off Yaupon has something to do with why they show up there first. Next they will then show at normal summer spots, Horseshoe,Shark Hole, Atlantic Ledge, Jumgle. They are showing at those spots now and will improve as summer progresses.

Q: I plan to bring my boat to Sunset Beach in June. Its a 22ft Nautic Star deck boat. We plan to put in at the Sunset bridge boat ramp.

Can you give me some suggests on where to go from there to fish. This will be my first time in the inter coastal so any tips on when to go out and any things to avoid would be greatly appreciated. Are there maps available of the waterways around that area.

Thanks for your help. Ernie Monts A: Best spots should be the end of Little River jetties for trout/redfish. Tubbs Inlet for flounder. Sunset bridge produces sometimes. You need to follow a boat thru creeks to get to Tubbs Inlet and mark your route. Best access point is close to Sunset bridge.

Q: Can you give little more detail on how to predict when Kings will be inshore, as you did a few days ago? Water color/temp, bait, wind, sun, unicorns, etc.? A: [] history[this happens every year] [2] water temp[68 degrees] [3] presence of bait[pogies up and down the beach] [4]water clarity[it's been dry for so long water very clear[King Green] [5] wind direction. North wind offers flat conditions on the beach which it seems the fish and fishermen both like Hope I didn't dispel my mystique; pretty basic stuff.

Come on down and get in the action. Kings are now being caught off the local piers so it's game on. This only lasts a couple of weeks or less and then the big fish disappear, not really to be seen in congregation until late fall. Q: Looking to pickup some new king reels and want your advice.

Budget is $200-$300 per reel. Would prefer a reel that serves multi purpose (bottom fishing)but I know that's tough in my price range.

Replacing TLD15 and 20's (or potentially rebuilding and 'hotrod' them Thanks! A: We have always fished Speedmasters but for some reason Shimano quit making them. We are replacing those with Shimano Torium HG. Also Brant is giving a $25 gift card on the purchase of each reel to offset them being a little more expensive than the Speedmaster.

Q: I bought one of the wind one planer leader/bridle setups for wahoo, but the planer won't stay down for more than a minute or two. I've tried different speeds anddifferent directions into the sea. I can't figure it out. I've always used planers on my downrigger or directly to the main line.

Help me out here. Thanks A: Sounds like something is tripping it, most likely the lure you are running.

Are you using a swimming plug that's not running straight? Or maybe a lure head that is too heavy. Unless the set up is not correct, that's all I can think of that would cause you that problem. Q: When it comes to trolling for wahoo/tuna do you recommend roller rods or are ring eyes okay? Also do you guys run some wire leaders and some fluro leaders or all wire when trolling offshore? A: I don't see necessity for roller guides unless we are targeting super big fish like Marlin or Bluefin Tuna. In the winter, late fall, and early spring when we are targeting wahoo we use wire leaders.

Rest of time mono and fluro if we think mahi are seeing a lot of baits and thus shy [and thus assume risk of cutoff]. Q: I and my family will be down May 5th - May 14th. We will be staying near Driftwood Dr. Other than crabbing what can we and the kids fish for from the bank or dock? What bait and what fish should we be looking to catch? When is the best time (high tide?) AM or PM? Looking forward to trying your restaurant.

Thanks A: Flounder are starting to show in the creeks and will get better everyday as water warms. Carolina rig with mud minnow best bet or artificials.

Check in at OIFC to find out what is hot articifical when you get here. Mid incoming to high tide and falling from high will be best so there is water in the creek.

Fresh tilefish on menu at OIFCO. Q: Could you please give me a mahi mahi setup with 5 rods in detail with the specific lures and speed please? Thanks really appreciate it. A: Our charter boats use Shimano TLD 25's with 50lb braid and 100 yeards 50 lb mono as top shot, Star 15-30lb rods.

A inexpensive lite outfit that will catch most anything that swims our guld stream waters. Bluewater candy bright colored lure heads over rigged ballyhoo. Trolling speed is based on sea conditions but if you are yanking your baits out of the water you are going too fast. Mahi will be showing up in large numbers any day now on continental break[150-250 ft deep]. Q: Captain Jacob...

Joe Hoying here. I went out on a charter with you about a year ago. I coming down from Ohio Thursday March 31st to fish for week. I was wondering what is biting right now, on what and if the recent rain has been affecting the fishing (inshore and close to off shore?

Also, will fiddler crabs and oysters work for sheephead? Will bluecrab quarters work for redfish? Thank you for your time and advise. A: Joe, The bite has been decent with smaller trout just before the rain hit us. Fiddler craps and oysters should work great on sheepshead and black drum. Crab quarters should be good for the redfish as we did catch a few on Saturday with that technique.

Live mud minnows also caught a few reds on Friday and Saturday. Lots of small bluefish are hanging around as well. Throwing bright colored soft plastics on light jig heads should get some action from the blues and trout.

Thanks, Capt. Q: I am wanting to get rid of bulky 50 wides and get smaller stronger reels that seem to be used more nowadays.

I like the shimano talicas a lot. What would your suggestion be as far as rod reel and line combo. Doesn't have to be a talica but something along those lines. Im sure you get what i mean. A: For gulf stream fishing[wahoo/dolphin/ect] on our charter boats we use Shimano TLD 25 with 50 or 80lb braid with 100 yards of same size mono. Reel is lite, cheap, and with the braid, you can hold enough line to catch anything that swims our waters. Q: What is the best headboat or group boat for gulfstream fishing trips out of Myrtle Beach around March 11-13?

The last two years I’ve taken my grandson out on the ½ day fishing boats and both times came home extremely disappointed. I really want to go out and actually catch some BIG fish for a change; and if at all possible stay under $400. Thanks in advance. Any help would be greatly appreciated. A: Our boats are all private charter wherein you charter the boat and have your group on board[up to six]. A much different experience than head boats, but certainly more expensive. Cameron Sabastion's Little River Offshore fleet does a good job with his headboats.

Q: I am hoping to explore out past my normal range of the ' jungle and sharkhole' this year. I would like to find more options in deeper water. Can you guys help me out with some names and coordinates? ' will be leaving out of little river. Thank you A: If going to the break[approx.

60 miles]McMarlen Ledge, Scarf/100-400/BlackJack are the spots to go. If going 40-50 miles best to get a ProFinder chart.

Any rocky area is what you are looking for and we helped put the ProFinder chart together with the local spots. Q: I am interesting in fishing a couple of the upcoming events this year from OIFC but had a question regarding the inlets. I have a 30 foot cc and was wondering which inlet is the best to use in your area.

I have heard bad thing about the Lockwwod folly and Shalotte inlets but I do not know if its just rumors or not. I have also heard it my be worth going out of Littleriver. Any information would be help as I willing be bringing boat by trailer from Charlotte and renting a house.

Just want to make a good decision based off of you guys who do these inlets often. Thanks A: If you are fishing a center console Shallotte Inlet is fine as our friends at NC Wildlife Resources do a excellent job keeping the buoys in proper order. However when you get here, check with us at OIFC, as storms come and buoys go, so best to get a updated report when you are here.

Q: i watched your show 'no limits fishing' and there were a couple episodes where you guys also put out a lure for kings. What would work???? Would a cedar plug or a rapala x rap work?

I saw that you used a drone spoon, do you just leave it on the surface with no planer or weight?? Thanks A: The favorite food of Kings is Spanish so it makes good sense to throw a bigger lure in the spread[way back] when pulling for Spanish. You want to use a swimming plug like a rapala or drone spoon. You have to match the lure to the trolling speed so if lure is jumping out of the water, will need to try something with more digging action. No weight on drone.

Doesn't happen every time, but occasionally you will get the big surprise of a king bite while Spanish trolling. Q: What is your favorite bait and rig set up for this time of year red-fish?

Very familiar with fall fishing just new to winter tactics. A: My favorite? The one that makes them bite! There are quite a few ways to get redfish to bite this time of year if you can find the fish. The most consistent rig that most successful anglers use this time of year is simply tying on a light jig head.1/8th ounce to 1/4 ounce.maybe as heavy as 3/8 ounce in some areas with deeper water and stronger current.tip these light jig heads with soft plastics like Gulp, Sea Assassins,and live mud minnows pinned to a light jig head can be productive this time of year.

The Vudu mullet and Vudu shrimp are productive lures this time of year made by Egret Baits. 1/8 ounce and 1/4 ounce gold spoons will also work this time of year. The biggest key to all of it this time of year is finding the fish. In most winters these fish will be packed up in large schools and won't move very much from day to day.

That is the way it is suppose to be.I have noticed the last few winters that our redfish population in our immediate area has stayed on the move. I am not sure why.more fishing pressure, conditions, boat traffic? We did have some new young guns start gigging speckled trout hard in our area about two years ago and that will most certainly put pressure on the redfish as well as moving them from spot to spot making them very shy too. It is more of a hunting trip in the winter.once finding the fish you can usually get at least a few to bite with the lures I mentioned above. Where is good hunting? Shallow water 6 inches to 4 feet are the most productive places during the winter.

See ya on the water! Q: I'll be vacationing with my family on Holden Beach the week of Jun 19th. I'd like to book a charter trip early in that week to be able to put a few fillets on the table. What kind of 'eaters' are available this time of year? Also, any recommendations for fishing from land/piers for the remaining days I'm there? Thanks in Advance!

A: Mid June is a great time of the year to do 1/2 day trips where you may catch King Mackerel/Spanish Macks/Cobia/Sea Bass. You only have to fish 10 miles or so offshore. On the land/beach, you may catch flounder/redfish with live mud minnows or live mullet or blues/sharks on cut bait.

If you want to book trip contact Q: I just finished watching the final No Limits show for this year. Can you describe the grouper rig that was used during the show? I plan to tie rigs over the winter and would like to know how to tie them. Also, if you dont mind can you share the line and hook size too. Thanks in advance. A: We use a 3-way swivel, approx.

10 feet of 100lb mono and a lighter 1 foot mono[30lb] to tie on sinker on other drop of the 3-way. That way, if you get sinker hung up, it will break saving the rig. Hook size is based on size of bait you are using. We like pinfish or pogies and typically a 9/0 circle hook.

Sometime if grouper finicky we use a smaller hook. Best bet is if you can get one of our rigs and use it as a guide. Q: I feel like I am asking a ton of questions but i am new and trying to learn. What are some good points for Sea Bass weather dependent this time of year? Is Box Cars good and what other points nearshore? Thanks and Merry Christmas! A: We thank you for your questions; if we're not fishing nothing we like better than to talk fishing.

Sea Bass in winter can be caught close in at the artificial reefs off our coast. If you can push out 12-15 miles you will find the 2-3 pounders. They will be on same rocks/ledges where we King fish.

Shark Hole/Christina/Jungle/ect. Close in you should find smaller keepers at Jolly Mon Reef[AR460] or any of the artificial reefs. Get you a Profinder chart for exact locations. Q: With the weather forecast to be mild through new years do you anticipate good gulf stream action over the Christmas break? My self and one friend are interested in joinng a trip to the stream in the 26th or the 27th. A: We are seeing the best wahoo fishing that I have seen or heard of in my 66 years. Amazing catches of huge wahoo.

How long it will continue is of course a unknown however if weather continues to be stable fish may choose to stay where they are. Now add in the Goant Bluefin that have returned to our local waters and you can do a trip where you Bluefin fish early and then Wahoo fish later in the day. And if it doesn't work out, stop on way in and get you a seabass dinner of the biggest sea bass we see all year. Thanks Santa.

Merry Christmas! Q: Is it possible to have a rod and reel combo that would double for lighter gulf stream trolling as well as bottom fishing? I was thinking maybe the TLD25? If that would work, what spooling and rod option would you recommend?

A: Yes, we use that outfit on our gulf stream trips for wahoo/mahi/ect. In order to have line capacity and line strength for these larger fish[and the unexpected Blue Marlin that might show up], we spool with 80lb braid and top shot with 80/bl mono of approx. This give plenty of capacity to catch most anything that swims our waters in gulf stream, is a inexpensive and lighter weight outfit.It will also work fine for grouper/bottom fishing. A 30-50lb rod class will work fine. If you are close to OIFC we have those combos available.

Q: How possible and safe would it be to launch a kayak at or near the bridge on hwy 130 in Shallotte and fish the high tide all the way back down to Ocean Isle? Not sure on what time of year? When would you recommend? A: The Town of Shallotte has a dock to launch from at Town Park next door to Shallotte Plaza Shopping Center[Duffers]. Alligators should be in bed.

You may catch anything from a large mouth bass to redfish and once you go under Main Street bridge will be in mostly salt water.Should find trout and red/black drum from there on to OIB. Q: I am coming down this weekend (10/24 10/25)and was hoping for some help on locating bait. Also where are the kings being caught, and if there are any other hot bites going on right now. Thank you in advance this will really help my fishing trip. A: bait is scattered along the beach. Hard to catch as this time of the year the pogies are running vs schooling.

You need a fast sink cast net. Blues can be caught around the pogies or inlets with clark spoon planner/Christmas tree rig. Kings are still on beach at inlets and Ocean Crest/Yaupon. Q: Plan on fishing your tournament next weekend.

Considering the absurd amount of rain/freshwater that will be draining into the Southport this coming week, how far offshore do you think it'll push the bait and kings? Think pogies will return to Ocean Crest area quickly? Think there will be any life at the Old Sea Buoy? Thanks for any insight. Looking forward to it! A: Good questions. All I can suggest is remembering last time we had one of these huge rain events right before a tourney.

I think it was Hurricane Floyd and we had approx. 20 inches of rain. The water in the river channel was dark brown on surface, but apparently under neath it was clear. The exteme tidal flow in the river channel will cause that water to clear up first. The result with Floyd's aftermath was that the fish bit in the river channel. It's a battle of where the fish want to be right now, impacted by the water conditions. I doubt it effects the pogies as mostly its a NE wind so surf hasn't been beat up that bad to run the bait to deeper water.

If the water ends up milky either the river will clear up first, or it will be a offshore deal where fish will move to navy wreck/ect. Q: In the coming weeks/ month is it possible to get a mix bag of grouper and kingfish 20 to 30 miles out of little river inlet. Have been fishing for kingfish for the past couple of years so I kinda know what to look for but don't have a clue on the grouper. Water temps to look for etc. Thanks in advance A: Yes, as the water cools and the Kings move back in to the 65 foot hole spots, you can catch grouper on the king rocks/ledges 65+ feet. I've caught a lot of grouper at the Shark Hole and Jungle in the fall.

Atlantic ledge also a good spot. Q: I am very new to salt water fishing. Are cigar minnows just for trolling on the surface or can they be pulled underneath by downrigger or egg weight on line? I don't have downrigger but I have used an egg weight with a rubberband on line. Also when do the mahi bite good near the tower A: Egg sinker is old school downrigger fishing; works just fine. You will catch many more fish in the water column than on surface with cigars.

Mahi good all summer 65 feet to 100 feet around the king spots. Incidental catch, but can happen. Best run is May in the gulf stream when you can target them. Q: When hooking live pogies for slow trolling with a treble hook, where do you hook the pogy? I'm just starting out king fishjng and noticed that if you hook through bottom lip and come up through the top they die really fast.

I heard hook them through the nostrils but that seems difficult with a treble hook. A: yes thru the nose is the way to hook them so they will live and swim well. If you want to shorten the learning curve on how to, sign up for Capt Brants live bait King school. Look on the OIFC web site. Q: Am retiring and moving to Ocean Isles relatively soon. An avid fisherman for the North East, interested in how far offshore(in nautical miles) can one catch Dolphin and Marlin?

Maybe Marlin farther offshore than Dolphin which I understand have been within 20 miles last few years? A: Marlin very rare to find inside of the break[approx. 60 miles] where water goes from 150 feet on down. We have a excellent spring run of dolphin in May/June along the break and offshore with scattered fish any month of the year. Best months for Marlin are May June also as they are feeding on Dolphin[best in 250feet-400feet] or wherever the actual gulf stream is running. During summer, dolphin will scatter into inshore waters 65 feet which we catch mixed with King Mackerel live bait slow trolling menhaden.

Your best bet to learn our local area is to sign up for one of Capt Brants offshore fishing schools. Will shorten the learning curve. Look on OIFC web site for dates. Q: Going to be fishing off OIB in the beginning of August with some guys that have never fished those waters. Where are the hot spots for sport fish (Dolphin, king, wahoo) and what rigs/bait should we be using. Thanks A: Shark Hole/Jungle/York Hole/Horseshoe.

Our basic fishing style is live bait lite tackle slow trolling with menhaden. If you don't have cast net to catch menhaden, use cigar minnows same slow troll technique as live bait. If fish are not at above spots, move on off to 90-100 feet at any of rock locations. Suggest you get a ProFinder Chart. We helped create the chart for PF and it will have all the local hot spots identified. Q: If I'm fishing with dead bait ( cigar minnows) I'm pulling them on the surface or just below the water surface? A: you want your spread to cover as much of water column as possible.

Your top lines will be just at or below the surface. Most productive will be to use downriggers. Place one a third of distance off the bottom, the other 2/3 distance off the bottom.

If you don't have downriggers, use a 2oz egg sinker rubberbanded approx. 12 feet above your bait. You want to be barely moving. If your bait spins, you are going too fast or bait hooks are in a bind. Best bet is to use a lead head skirt which will make the bait swim straighter.

Q: I am coming down July 17th for a week and am really looking forward to getting there. Two years ago when I was there the buoys had washed I had no idea but found out the hard way.

Have they had time to dredge it or should I bring a disk harow with me. Do y'all have any custom chips avalible in store. And will you have live shrimp by then thanks I'll be there feeling up with gas and ice. Hard to beat the oifc team inside thank y'all.

A: We won't be able to get live shrimp until the fall, however you can catch them with a cast net along the bank in the creeks off intercoastal. The inlet buoys are in place, however there is a outer bar at the last seaward buoys. On a strong outgoing tide, and a strong incoming wind[south], it will show white water.

We don't have any problem with our outboards. Also there is a secondary channel[not marked] that is occurring as a result of dregging project couple years ago. Best bet is to explore your chosen path on calm days so you can find exactly where you want to run.

Basic rule of boating.stay away from white water. Q: When trolling with dead cigar minnows, what is the best way to keep them from spinning? I make my own king rigs, so could the rig be the problem? A: the cigar will spin if the hooks are not in a straight line, with the bait in a straight line. If it is in a bind it will spin. Also if you troll too fast it will spin. Your speed is same as slow trolling live bait, one engine engaged as slow as you can go.

It will help to use a lead head as your lead hook to keep the bait head down, and will make it run straighter. Q: My family will be down for vacation the week of July 4. My kids have decided that they want to spend some time fishing off the piers. They are relatively new to fishing. Can you provide any quick basic advice on techniques/tackle/bait etc. I hope this quesdtion is not too broad, but any information to help get us started will be appreciated. We will stop by when we arrive for more detail.

A: 2 dropper chicken rig with cut shrimp for the kids to catch small pan fish or small sharks. A Carolina rig with live mud minnows for flounder. All available at OIFC.

Q: Curious why you guys use speedmasters in tournaments. I use them all the time when fun fishing, but we have nicer reels for tounaments. Wouldn't Trinadads be a better choice? I know they are 4x the price, but you guys have the best of everything except the reels. A: We have fished Speedmasters for many years, and I would respectfully say, the results speak for themselves.

However, there are much nicer/better reels such as the Trinidad's, and we highly recommend them. We typically replace our Speedmasters every couple years, so although we may not be using top of the line equipment, we do make sure what we are using is in perfect condition. The reel you use is just a personal preference thing. Whats important is it have a fast retrieve ratio and a good smooth drag system.

Q: Me and my dad have had success in the Spanish Mackeral fishery off the Holden, OIB, and Sunset beachfronts. With this success obviously comes a desire to venture further out for bigger species. I wanted to see what you all think is the best spot and method to catch Kings, Cobia, or even an AJ.

We’ve got plenty of live and dead bait king rigs. The only real set back we have is our 20 foot dual console boat. We’re looking at possibly going out this Wednesday morning with the seas looking pretty calm.

What local spots are easiest to access in a smaller boat, if we wanted to look for a King or Cobia, and which bait is the best choice this time of year? Thanks for all your help. A: live pogies or dead cigars. 90/90 5-6 miles off should be a good spot this time of year. Any of the AR's can produce cobia this time of year. Q: I have a 20 foot near shore boat/bay boat so I don't like to be to far of shore around ten miles or less. Is there any good fishing around that distance?

I read about tom mcglammory reef and was wondering how far out it was and is was any good fishing? Thanks A: The weather always is the answer to that question. If it flat you can venture out a ways. McGlamery is approx. Yaupon is a couple.

Jolly Mon is 3 miles. Lots of good reefs and good bottom within a few miles.

Pushing out 10 miles with a bay boat requires a real good weather forecast and confidence in the forecast by you. Q: What is the best tide to get topwater strikes? Does it matter about the tide? Also what type of area is holding trout right now.

A: Early morning, late afternoon, or overcast days seem to be best for topwater action.however, with such dirty water conditions loud topwater plugs may be more productive than other lures right now. I have always done better with trout closer to high tide near the grass lines and around submerged oyster bars. We did actually catch a few trout yesterday to my surprise.of course it is time, maybe even past time for their first spawn. I am afraid the salinity levels are delaying the spawning action.

Topwater action should be fair during high water conditions early in the morning or late in the afternoons.trout typically like to hang around sandy points during the pre spawning process.a few days before or after the new and full moon phases are the best time to drill a nice one! Q: Which later month does the wahoo bite the best? Also, would high speed trolling about 12 kts with wahoo lures be the best bet or would slower trolling with ballyhoo be better? Should we always have at least one down line when fishing for wahoo or could we run them all towards the top with only a little depth with the weight of the head?

A: November and March I would say are best months but you can catch them any month. Everything you suggested is good. If no concentration of fish then high speed covers more ground. Sometimes they will bite better at high speed, but sometimes they want a bait. Getting a bait down deeper is always good.

Experimentation is key till you find what works that day. Q: Would attaching a cedar plug to a Boone bird for mahi this time of year be a good combination? Or would you recommend something else? Also would a daisy chain of cedar plugs work good this time of year?

A: Rather than attach a cedar plug to a bird, I would use a green machine. The bird probably negatively impacts the action of a cedar plug which is designed to dart around in the water. A daisy chain of cedars works well, particularly in rough water as added weight keeps the lure in the water and it is more visible. Q: Hey Guys, I cannot remember the rules about fishing under the bridge.

I know there's a tactic related to how much of the pilings are showing (based on water depth). I've heard you should fish when you can see light or the opposite.

Which one is it? I hope this makes sense. Thanks for all you do.

I read your site daily. See you in a couple of weeks. A: Any time the water is moving is a good time to stop at the bridge. The low tide periods seem to be more productive which will expose the cement columns under the main slab. Allowing anglers to see light under the main slab.At the same time the water has been really dirty at low tide lately and the cleaner water has been near high tide. I have witnessed a good bite their near high tide at times as well. The Sunset Beach bridge area is a great area and worth a stop if you are headed that way.

Conditions change all the time and good fishermen usually have a good idea how to make changes with those conditions. Moving water is always preferred and low water conditions have traditionally been more productive in that area. However, don't get caught up doing the same thing over and over, unless it is working. Q: We're coming to Little River, SC next for vacation, and staying at a house right on the intracoastal waterway.

The owner has a dock but is not a fisherman. What might I be able to catch? And what tips would you offer?

A: Red drum, flounder, speckled trout and black drum are all possibilities depending on the water depth around the dock. Small croaker, spots, and pinfish will most likely keep you busy as well with fresh cut shrimp rigged on bottom rigs with small hooks. If you are after the top four more glamorous species mentioned minnows and live shrimp are a must rigged on Carolina Rigs fished close to the dock pilings. For flounder slowly drag live minnows across the bottom feeling for any irregularities.if you think you have a bite do not set the hook immediately on a flounder.wait a good 15 seconds and wait for the flounder to make a slow steady pull, then set the hook hard! Red drum, black drum, and speckled trout love live technique for red drum and black drum is what we call dead sticking.throw it out there and let it sit until something nails it.

Speckled trout really like live shrimp suspended under a cork. As always stop by the Ocean Isle Fishing Center for the latest and greatest information. Q: In November and December, would high speed trolling four baits towards the top of the water be the best bet to catch wahoo? We did that last weekend and caught one around 60 pounds within 30 minutes and just wondering if that would work good in the later months. A: That is an effective technique anytime. Wahoo are speedsters and they like a fast moving bait.

The advantage is if fish are scattered you can cover a lot of ground vs natural bait trolling speed. Also if they are finicky they have to make a quick decision whether to attack or not which serves to stimulate a bite. Q: We bought some lures for wahoo and dolphin that rattle, make noises, etc. We were told that bait was not needed and sometimes even worked better without.

Should they still work the same without a ballyhoo and catch plenty of fish? A: You can high speed troll with some success for wahoo[approx. 10-12kts] in order to cover more territory. Mahi will hit a lure if bubbles,skips,rattles/ect. However; I always have more confidence in ballyhoo with what ever type of lure you want to run. We use big high speed lures if we are trying to cover a lot of territory or if we push off into deeper water, blind trolling for whatever is out there, usually enroute to a different spot/temp break/ect.

Q: when yall went up to fish out of oregon inlet last year. What was the course? Did yall put in at morehead to keep from having to drive all the way around. Did this take about three hours to haul up there? Then how long to run the boat to oregon inlet? Thanks, interested in makeing the trip.

If i could find the fishing report from that trip it would probably suffice. Send link if you are able to. Thanks A: we've done it both ways and both ways are a pain. Road trip to OI is more like 4 hours+. If calm, more fun to trailer to MH. From Morehead its approx. 100 miles up there.

Q: What is the best way to catch speckled trout right now? A: Light 1/8th ounce jig heads tipped with white or chartreuse soft plastics jigged with a one two pausing motion is getting some strikes along the grass banks and hard structures during mid tide levels both on the rise and fall.early mornings and late evenings seem to be best right now. The Vudu shrimp 2 to 3 feet under a popping cork has also been effective for some folks lately. The vudu mullet is also another great choice.again, work the vudu mullet with a one two pause swim a little bit pause, one two pause swim a little bit(repeat) varying speed until getting bit. The trout bite really picked up today 4/8/15. Q: Ok, I live on a natural canal subdivision in BC, with access to the ICW. Last few days I have seen a few singles, and I large school of fish lazily swimming around the docks.

Shape kind of like a redfish, kind of rounded head. I tried a voodoo mullet, gulp shrimp, voo doo shrimp and they were not interested.

Not skittish at all like I would think a drum / redfish would be. These fish looked about 18-26 inches. I was thinking big mullet but not sure I've ever seen mullet that big especially this time of year.

I cast in them for several minutes and they hung around. I figured they would spook. By the way, I'm a newbie. Just leaning about backwater fish.

Thanks A: My first guess would be a mullet, but if that big, 2nd guess is a redfish. Q: I have recently read a lot about braid line cutting into or through mono when the 2 are joined. The most recent article suggested joining the 2 with a short piece of hollow Dacron line. To me 2 splices could never be better than 1 as the possibility of error is doubled.

On my offshore rigs I run 300 yds of braid on and then topshot mono over it and join the 2 with a double uni. Is this a problem? Is there a better knot to use? Or should I splice with Dacron? Also, as backing what would a reasonable life expectancy be for braid? A: We run our lines just as you describe. Try using a reverse albright.

We keep braid for several years. Come by OIFC and we can show you the knot we use. Haven't had problem with cutting, but sometimes if knot not correct it will slip when tying which tells you you did it wrong. Q: Capt jacob if I wanted to target tailing reds where and when is the best time of year? A: John, Tailing doesn't happen very often around here.where? Q: Been wahoo fishing a lot.

I am looking for some advice on getting these fish to the boat. As a long time king fisherman I have a tendency to get hooked up clear the lines and making a wide turn to work toward the fish. I don't let off throttle when we get bit. But I just was wondering what your process is once you get bit by these wahoo. Thanks A: Where most wahoo are lost is by not keeping your line tight as they are head shakers and will throw the hooks if line not tight.

Once we are solidly hooked up, we bring back throttles, leaving one engine in gear at all times in idle position. Most fish lost at the gaff when fish either runs under the boat or head shakes. Keeping one engine in gear[or both at time of gaffing] will help keep fish hooked up and under control. Q: How long should a planner rod be with a bent butt setup? Basically a meat stick.

Is there a range in length or just one set length? -Thanks A: typically around 3-4 feet but depends a lot on how you are using it. If just to pull a big planner where you clip your baited line to it with a rubber band, then shorter.

If using it with bait/lure, then a little longer. If just using to pull big planner, better to use your downrigger and attach with a rubber band to your running line.

More fun to fight fish on typical tackle than planner rod. Q: Looking at getting out there this weekend. Obviously everyone has their own 'personal' spots. Juty inquiring about more 'known' pots such as wrecks or other structure in the 30-40ish mile range that would be holding beeliners, triggers and or grouper during this time of the year.

Any help is greatly appreciated. A: Best starting point if ProFinder chart.

OIFC provided them numbers for spots on their map. Best bet is to use that as starting point and then search area in proximity. You will see there are lots of rocks everywhere[especially in the 100ft depth]. Best action will be to find a rock that isn't on a chart and thus is not fished. Bottom fishing is my absolute favorite type of fishing.see him; catch him.

No staring at the recorder tying to invent a tourney winning king. Q: Can you give me a better idea where to target trout?

Grassy banks on the water way?in the shallotte river around oyster beds? How far back do they go in the shallottte river?

Thanks A: All the places you mentioned are all places we target. Trout go way up the Shallotte River at times. I have caught them under the main street bridge in Shallotte at times. Water salinity and bait movement dictates how far they go up the river. Trout move around a lot.we hit several places everyday to find trout.

The bottom of the tide has been the best time to locate the trout as of late. See ya on the water!

Q: A good friend has offered the use of his Sunset Beach house for the Thanksgiving week. My Dad (a strong 70), son (13) and I are driving from TX and hope to do some charter fishing. We are accustomed to Port Aransas (mostly king mackerel).

What can we expect in the Sunset Beach area during Thanksgiving? A: The Kings will be in the 30 mile offshore range as water cools down, the kings stay with the warmer water. They will winter around Frying pan Tower.

Good bottom fishing this time of year in same depth for all sort of good eating bottom critters. Inshore, the trout bite is good.

Q: Hi could i get some info on the jetties, are they in s.c. And if they are how do we get there from Oak Island,i know i have to go down ICW, where do we go, and do we have to have s.c. Licenes, please give all the info you can, thanks and tight lines, from the sea striper. A: If you go intercoastal you will exit at Little River Inlet.

The jetties are in SC waters although a tiny piece is right on the line. If you return to Little River inlet you are in SC. Yes you need a SC license. Their marine Fisheries folks are pretty aggressive. Q: Good afternoon. At this point I'm looking for Oct 2015 fishing, I'm sure you can tell me what it is like now. We were just in Holden Beach last week for vacation but did not consider or discuss going fishing on a charter until the end.

SO I thought I'd do research now and get folks ready for next October. Can you tell me what we should expect in October (I know the weather is odd and unpredictable then) and the 'rules' of fishing off shore? Thanks, John A: October and May are the best months of the year. Oct is King Mackerel month with fish typically right on the beach.

Everything bites in October as fish are preparing for their migration and feeding like bull dogs. Cobia/kings/ect are very prevalent in october. Q: I need someone to fish with or someone to fish with me!! I was aboard the Spring Run during the 2008 jolly mon, I lost a life long friend and fishing partner that day,I did not step foot on a boat for more then a year after that!!! But the sea keeps calling to me,I am an old Long Beach boy ( oak island ) had a boat since the age of ten, I have a lot of friends that want to go fishing but none who can fish, I can throw a big net. Make king rigs and run and navigate a boat, I own a 25 sea fox with A single 250 and can catch fish.

She is named the DIXIE MINNER Most tournament guys have seen us, I just need help finding people who can fish or another boat that needs a really good crewman!! Thanks Charles 910 520. 0584 A: hope you connect; welcome back to the water. Q: I want to target trout. I have had great success with catching reds around docks but that's the only inshore game I am comfortable with.

Can you help me to target this critters? I know under a cork is popular. I mainly carolina rig fish with mullet. Will they bite mullet under a cork on a circle hook? Where do they hang out? Thanks A: How to target trout? Yes, floating a live shrimp under an adjustable cork is one of the most used and proven methods to catch nice trout.

Trout will also hit live mullet on Carolina rigs as well. Trout can be finicky in the summer months, biting good one day and non-existent the next day. My favorite way to specifically target trout is with soft plastics. Look in our (How To) section under inshore fishing to see full details. Q: Last week we went out on Saturday Morning and pointed the bow towards the Jungle. From about 5 miles out all the way to the Jungle spanish were busting the water everywhere. I tried every diamond jig and gotcha plug I had but could only manage one strike.

I was also pulling ballyhoo/pirate plugs and didnt get a hit. A: That's surprising, normally if Spanish busting they will hit anything. Are you sure they weren't sardines or a similar baitfish? Normally a #1 clarkspoon on a #1 planner will most effectively catch Spanish, but if busting, gotcha should work.

Any rate, seeing big schools of fish is a good sign for kings to be coming. Q: Usually do mostly offshore trips, but I have a few friends coming down this weekend and want to stay close and put some spanish in the boat.

Any reports recently of how deep and roughly where? Only reason I am asking is because I havent seen any reports on the page recently. A: Spanish have been hard to find lately as water color has been bad but is getting better. Should be back to action by this weekend. Look for tide line and white birds dipping. Around the inlet mouths will be the best.

Q: Heading down 9/21/14-9/28/14 and am wanting to do a gulfstream trip. Woild like to do a combination of trolling and maybe some bottom fishing and vertical jigging for tuna and grouper. Was wondering what we could expect to catch. Hopefully the wahoo are around and if we're lucky a billfish of sorts maybe. A: You got it right. Wahoo still very scattered but they are around.Will get much better in few weeks when water starts to cool.

White Marlin are also around now in a little deeper water[fish the deep side of the break; 250' +]. Vertical jigging will work on the break for the animal house that is on the break[grouper/African pompano/cobia/aj's/ect]. Q: We have a shark fishing trip planned in September out of North Myrtle Beach. We have had good luck catching Blacktips behind shrimp boats and Little River Inlet in the past but would like to go offshore a bit this time. Do you know any hotspots (coordinates) or tactics for say up to 20 miles? We do plan on using chum.

A: your best shark fishing will be around the inlets close to the beach[the sharks like to stay close to the swimmers]. Kidding but most dependable action will be close to the beach. There is a big tiger that hangs around the bardges off Little River.

Q: I am thinking about heading out to 90-100 feet Friday afternoon and bottom fishing through the night until Saturday morning. Have plenty of anchor rope and experience anchoring at this depth. Is this something that might be productive or something that you would stay away from. A: used to do that a lot when kids were younger.

Shine a light in the water and bait fish will come to the light. Use a sabiki and catch the bait, and probably kings will show up. If possible move a little deeper[110 feet]. Should have lots of interesting action. Have good lights, good radar, and be careful/aware. Q: Trying to go for the larger Spanish (00 clarks are landing the 12-15 inchers).suggest using live menhaden on a live bait rig?

Also, where are the menhaden being netted? A: Size of Spanish generally is based on what is particular group of fish in our waters, although as season progresses they will grow bigger. To target bigger fish, live pogy or mullet minnow is good shot.

Look for school of Spanish and throw livie into school with lite spinner. Pogies are showing up and down the beach[smaller ones in intercoastal]. Q: Where would the best place be to catch flounder from the shore with Gulp? We usually go to Holden and fish Lockwood Folly inlet, but this year we're going to Sunset Beach. Is Tubb's inlet fishable from the shore? How about the Little River inlet?

Thanks A: Yes Tubbs is accessible from shore, Little river not. Also the east end of OIB is accessible from shore and a good spot. The pier on the east end of OIB is another spot, or any where along the intercoastal.As mullet minnows get bigger, flounder will key on live bait[mullet or mud minnows].Gulps will work, but also try the live baits which you can catch with a 4 foot cast net. Q: When planning a stream trip, which winds do you prefer W to SW 5-15 or S to SW or does it matter? Planning to fish either Mon or Tues. A: Wind direction is not as important as my favorite words. 'lite and variable, 2 feet or less'.

The trick is to have a wind condition/direction that will let you make the 60 mile run if not lite and variable. A SW wind lets you run toward Steeples/Black Jack in the trough such that 10-15SW[3 feet] is not bad. Anything 4 feet+ is not fun and only go if you really wanted to.SW is our prevelant summer wind direction. Q: I received an early father's day gift -- a cannon dowrigger!

It came with cable but I have heard some guys switch to mono or braid. Is that to reduce noise/hum as cable cuts the water? If you recommend replacing, what do you guys recommend - mono or braid? A: Good gift and good question. The wire hums and we don't like that[we think the fish don't either]. So we take 250lb braid and put on top of the wire.

Important to leave wire on the spool, as the braid will cut into the spool. The wire acts like a backing.

We sell spools of 250lb braid[I think 300 feet] specifically for this purpose. Mono will work, but you get much more blow back. Braid is the way to go[and Cannon has best downrigger]. Hope to see you at the Jolly Mon! Q: Ive been keeping up with the reports on the oifc websiteand see that the cobia bite is ON, and we will be down June 7th through the 14th.where have the cobia been biting and what have they been most interested is bait/lure wise. I know a buck tail with a piece of squid on it always seems to work.if you could please inform me as to where they have been biting.That would be GREATLY appreciated. A: sorry late on response.

Cobia will be around buoys or wrecks. Cobia jig tipped with squid will work and so will live bait.

You can buoy hop or anchor and chum at a wreck. Q: When I spanish fish my leader from the planer to the spoon is kinking up once I pull the fish in. It's brand new fluro and theres a swivel attached to the planer. I tie the leader directly to the spoon, can you explain why this may be happening? THanks A: yep, it happens. Not sure if floro is better or worse, but we typically just use 25-30lb mono. That way when it gets real bad, just cut it off and start over.

A little expensive to do that with floro.usually the kinks will fall out when you speed up to trolling speed. Q: I was down this week-end and wanted to do some spanish fishing off the beach. (First trip out this year) I went out an hour before low tide and found the inlet with large breaking waves between the last two buoys. It looked like there was better water toward Holden. I turned around as it seemed too risky to run the white water. I thought inlet was dredged but looks worse than last year. A: The dredge cut was on the OIB side, not in the marked channel.

You can get out that way, but not marked. The channel markers seem to be right. I think you probably experienced a south/sw incoming wind and a strong out going tide associated with the full moon. We mark 4 feet at low tide all the way out. Q: I am coming up late June and I was wandering do Spadefish gather on the Ar 460 reef? Also, what should I expect to see and is there any particular part of the reef that should be concentrated on more? I see there is a good bit of stuff out there.

A: Yes spades should be there. Mid June will be a great time to fish the Jolly Mon Reef. Kings/Cobia may be there. Also dormat flounder show up mid June there. There is scattered structure. Get a ProFinder chart which has the structure identified and located with GPS co-ordinates.

Q: What are your thoughts for the tower, horseshoe, shark hole, etc for next weekend? Looking for Dolphin, Cobia, and Kings.maybe some Sea Bass while there. If weather good, possible for stream.

We normal slow troll for Kings, Cobia, and Dolphin closer in than the stream, but now have a boat to go there too. Will slow trolling with a King spread work ok at the stream for Dolphin too? A: sorry late for your post. Yes on everything you said.

In stream we typically pull ballyhoo as we can troll faster than live or cigars and thus cover more territory, but dolphin will eat anything so doesn't matter. It will be a few more weeks before dolphin begin to move into shallower waters[Jungle/Shark Hole/ect] but they will be here by mid June. Slow trolling with live bait works very well for Kings and surprises like dolphin/cobia.

Right now gulf stream on fire with dolphin/wahoo and mixed blackfin. Q: I'm seeing all these videos and pics of nice Cobia lately where are you finding them? I fish a 25' CC A: They are migrating through our waters right now thru mid June, and scattered fish through rest of summer and fall. They can be at any buoy or wreck from right off the beach to 100 feet+.

Best bet is to pull up to a buoy and drop a cobia jig or live bait. If they are there they will show immediately. If no one home, move on to next spot. Also we like to throw a few pogies off the motor mount when we pull up to a buoyl OR you can anchor at a wreck and chum. Most likely the chum will draw them to you and then a cobia jig or live bait.

Tip your jig with a whole squid for best results. Q: Lets say for the time of year you vacation at OIB, the king/mahi bite has been moving farther offshore with the bait. If you are fishing from a smaller scale trailerable boat and wanting to access deeper water and new fishing locations.does trailering your boat to southport open you up to better fishing as far as depth goes, while running the same overall distance (10-15 miles)? Assume you run 180 degrees from shallote/OIB compare to 180 degrees out of Southport/Caswell.

A: Its a little deeper on the east side of Frying Pan Shoals. But I don't agree with your theory in terms of where fish might be. This summer the Jungle/Shark Hole will be best spots for smaller boats. It's closer to Jungle from OIB and closer to Shark Hole from Southport. Those 2 spots are better than any deeper spot in Southport area or OIB area. If you want a little deeper try Horseshoe[closer from Southport]. Q: If I were to target redfish right now, where would be a good place to find them.

Also are there still some big fish around the jetties. A: Most fish are still hanging really shallow. Docks along the waterway near low tide and Sunset Beach Bridge area have been hot spots lately. The jetties have seen a few mid 30 inch fish with a stray 40 incher.

The wind has been blowing so hard lately that the jetties have been out of the picture. Water temperatures were in the mid 70's this afternoon and I suspect more redfish should start to move in around the jetties. The hotter it gets the better the jetties will be for redfish.

Live mud minnows have been working well with the absence of menhaden and shrimp. Fresh blue crab chunks have also worked very well at times. Baby spots, croakers and pinfish have arrived making it difficult to fish fresh crab though. We hit a few docks today that the croakers were so thick they were eating our mud minnows. Menhaden should start to show up any day and the shrimp should start to pop out of the mud. Things should get a bit easier once they show up.

Right now things are still pretty tight. See ya on the water! Q: Hey, Renting a house at the northern end of Holden this year as opposed to Ocean Isle. I'm familiar with the spots on Ocean Isle, but can you give some direction for flounder and backwater fishing in the Lockwood Folly Inlet. I want to put my 11 and 8 year old on some fish over the June 21-28 week.

We will be using a 18 foot Grumman Stripper Boat. Thanks A: Drifting the inlet itself is always a good start. Sand bars just behind Oak Island around Blue water point is another good area. Drifting our trolling the area just above the shrimp boats in the LW river is also another good area. See ya on the water! Q: I'm going to be at the coast next week. I will be south, in Surfside, SC.

I wont be taking my boat. I thought I'd try to surf fish with the kids.

I've done very little of this over the years and wanted to see if you had any advice. Also, I'll be down May 3 for a charter trip aboard the World Cat.really looking foward to some Stream action! A: 2 drop[hook] chicken rig with shrimp or sand fleas should catch whiting this time of year in surf. Or try cut bait and may catch a redfish. Stream action in May is best of the year for mahi/ect. Come on down!

Q: What's the perfect size inshore net? I love brants 10 ft for offshore but need an inshore. 8ft 1/4 mesh???

A: Best all around net is a 6ft 3/8 inch have best of both worlds most guides will carry a 6ft 1/4 inch mesh to catch smaller bait in the bait gets larger and faster towards fall the 1/4 inch will not sink fast enough.regardless stick with a 6ft will want something that you can control quickly, close quickly and retrieve quickly before hanging it on an oyster bar.Capt. Q: I was hoping to try some live bait in the gulf stream but the pogies are just not cutting it. Does anyone have any luck with sabikis getting cigar minnows around here? Any suggestions where to go to jig these guys up?????

A: We like to have cigars for any kind of fishing. You can catch them on buoys best areas 7 miles and beyond. Weather buoys, ship channel buoys/ect. It is hard to troll live bait in the stream because so much current normally but it will work if you can stay on a ledge/rock.

Pogies work fine. Another plan is to 'run and gun'. Troll your ballyhoo spread, and if you hook up with a dolphin or wahoo, throw a live bait out while you are fighting your fish. If he has a friend with him, hard to pass up a live bait.

When doing that we like pinfish as they are hardy and will survive a long run to the stream. Q: Based on you experience is sat or sun looking like a decent day for a stream trip. Will you guys have any charters that day? I usually look for light and variable wind and try to stay away from that north wind component, but my wife is in school and this is her 'spring break' and I would really like to hook some hoos. Thanks I have a 25cc, Thanks A: Light and variable are our favorite words.

NE are least favorite as winds from north, gulf stream current pushes north = big waves; not good. Sunday may work as on a west wind you can run the trough to southern spots[MacMarlen/ect]. Sat doesn't look very likely. Best to get up Sunday morning and if wind gone to west and in the 10ky range at Tower, then may be ok. Check with OIFC Saturday and see if they have trips going. If they do, Sunday would be the day they would try to go.

Q: Lets say a guy and his wife were catching some sea bass and saw some birds working sat or sun. What type of 'gear' would he use to see if a BFT was hanging around also. 50-80lb class wahoo rods 30-50lb dolphin / blackfin rods?

Some ballyhoo? I have no idea. Just curious what else to bring.You know.

Just in case;-) A: Most likely if you hook a Bluefin with that gear you will get your butt kicked; but hey, the battle is the game. If we were specifically targeting Bluefin we use 130lb class gear. You can troll ballyhoo[horse best]. Most effective will be to use a large planner and run the ballyhoo deep off the planer. Q: Would like to go out an fish for triggers,grunts an etc, im mainly a king guy but the family wants to put the (good) meat on the boat. What is the best time to fish for these fish?

Water depth an maybe a few locations? Thanks guys A: bottom fishing is my favorite. You can look on your bottom machine, drop a bait and catch them. Best action will be 100 feet plus. Bottom fishing is good anytime of the year. Another fun technique is to deep jig on the break 165-250feet.

Get on the break ledges at the drop off and every drop something will try to pull you overboard.As to where to fish,look on pro-finder chart and pick out any rock/ledges from 100 feet on out and you can have fun and catch plenty of fish. Q: Can you give me an idea of what will be hot over the next couple months near shore. I rely on you guys for all my tackle and appreciate your sharing information.

I can venture a couple miles off shore in my small boat, still new at fishing and always looking for help. I appreciate your helpful staff when I drop by the store. Thanks for being so helpful. A: The near shore fishery is dictated by water temperature. For now it's limited to sea bass. When it gets to the mid 60's[usually mid-late April]the Atlantic Bonita[the tuna with teeth] will show first on the near shore reefs/wrecks; next will be the Spanish Mackerel right behind the Tuna, and then every year[last few days of April]just like clockwork, there is a short run of king mackerel around Yaupon reef and Long Beach Pier.

Then the Kings disappear and reappear in 65 feet water in early June. Cobia will also show along the beaches in early june/late may. Lots of great fishing coming. We have noticed with the end to netting of menhaden on our beaches, our near shore fishery has improved a lot with predator fish. If you want to shorten the learning curve of fishing, attend one of Brants fishing schools.

Q: I fish A 25ft CC w/twin 150 i have the boat to go to the gulf but havent upgraded my gear for wahoo,etc but i have the gear to bottom fish an evering thing else what can i go after in the next 3 weeks? A: Late winter/early spring is the best time of the year for deep water jigging[180-250 feet]; just on and off the break. You will catch AJ's/cobia/African pompano/grouper/ect on almost every drop. Come back in to 100-125 feet and catch big sea bass and all the other bottom fish species. Late winter/early spring is also the best time of year to catch wahoo in 175-250 feet deep. Q: I know that the trout season is closed for a while. I was wondering what you guys thought about the rest of the fishery.

Do you think that any other species will be impacted by the rough weather lately. Not only here but over the south east coasts. A: The trout season was closed by NCMF because it got so cold the fish were stunned, and the giggers were wiping them out[they can keep 72/day]. Good move by MF. Not likely other species impacted by cold.

In ocean fish can move to warmer deeper water if gets too cold. Q: When you are live baiting with pogeys or other live bait do you ever use skirts or do you only use skirts on dead baits? A: The purpose of a skirt is to help the King see your bait. Notice the disproportionate size of their eyeball to their body size. Sight is important to their feeding. So skirts help them find a bait as it makes it more visible.

Skirts especially important in dirty water, in fact its best to run a 'noisy' skirt in dirty water, like a Yee Haw or Turbo, again for the purpose of helping the king find your bait. If using really big baits in clear water, we don't always run skirts, but again, the purpose is to help the King find your bait. Q: Fished the Horseshoe today. Some Sea Bass but not thick. Any other recommendations for tomorrow?

A: Wow that is surprising, would have thought they would be thick there. They 'were' at the Shark Hole week or so ago. If not at Horseshoe maybe try deeper or shallower. Not being funny but sometimes the pack of seabass will wipe clean a reef area and thus will move to another reef area in search of food. It may be they are in same area you fished, just need to move a few miles to find another piece of reef that maybe they have not cleared off all the food there. Q: Comming to ocean isle Friday to stay with some buddies and taking the boat out sat and looking to hit up some wrecks and Reefs for sheepshead fiddler crabs I know are great. Any other bait options if we can't find the fids etc and where would you recommend fishing.

I've fished the jettys but wanna strike out a little ways. I've got a 22 ft key west 250 Yamaha A: I don't know of sheephead being on the reefs this time of know something I don't know? What I do know is there should be plenty of sea bass[and they would love a fiddler crab]. Q: Well what would you suggest we fish for if we venture out a few miles or so and what can we fish for or stick to the Jettys? We have trolling rods etc just need to come pick up some gear thanks A: Close in this time of year[25 miles and closer], the only game going is sea bass. They are great eating; best[closest] action should be 65 feet of water[approx.

15 miles over normal King spots i.e. Shark Hole/Jungle/Horseshoe].

If you could go way offshore[50+ miles should find Kings and bottom fishing is great. Wahoo/blackfin/deep jigging on the break. If you want to fish inside, if it is a warming day reds will move onto bars[check with Jacob at OIFC for up to minute locations]. All in all best bet is to fish for sea bass, as they will be from a couple miles out on to 25 miles+. Spring will be here someday and kings/cobia/ect will be in your range.

Q: I have a place over on 130 Holden Beach area me and some friends are coming down and was wondering can you give me some place over in the area to fish. I don't have a boat so any ideas would be great. Thanks guys and keep up the great work on your fishing reports A: If wind blowing out of the north, the beach front is good to fish now for redfish/flounder/blues/pompano. Otherwise, the public pier on the east end of OIB is good to fish for reds/flounder. The ocean piers should be good for spots. Q: Are most of the drum being caught drifting or anchored? Are more being caught any particular time of day or tide?

Thanks A: Go to the end of the jetties and basically get into a drift line with other boats on incoming tide. Do not anchor as will mess up the drift pattern for everyone else and be less effective. You will be fishing shoulder to shoulder with other boats; no problem if everyone stays in the drift line. 2-3oz egg sinker; 18 inches 12 lb floro; flounder hook; live mullet fished on bottom. A moving tide is important. Q: Really need an honest answer. Is this weekend going to be fishable?

Looking to get out near stream. Thank you A: That one is easy; even my 1968 Wingate College meteorology course can handle this one. Gulf Stream on a 25 ft boat with a NE wind blowing 15-20+ will not work. You may get there[following sea+-], you just can't get back[headsea +-].

You need to wait for better conditions. However, on the beach, it will be flat. Try Yaupon/River Channel/Lighthouse Rocks for Kings with live pogies.

Q: Based on your answer to the previous question, would your answer be the same when heading to Bj or 100/400. I see how you can run into a headwind/sea coming from the scarp but would it not be a little different headed in a different direction.just curious. Knowledge is power.

I fought a north wind all the back from the scarp once and always wondered, if I had went a different direction, would the outcome have been the same. Thanks, I don't intend to challenge your experience, I just know you can't learn anything without asking A: Has to do with how much east component there is vs north component. If moves to the east and you are fishing BJ/Steeples, yes you could pick up a little benefit. HOWEVER, any north or northeasterly direction is bad in the stream in that the stream runs north, the wind blows from the north, the seas thus build into the wind.

In a 25 foot boat not recommended. Not saying it's dangerous, just not pleasant.

Watch the forecast for 'lite and variable', that's what you are looking for in a stream trip. Q: I would like to do some deep vertical jigging. I've got the gear now, but where exactly along the break should I be headed. I know the steeples has more 'structure' than say. The Black Jack, but does that really matter or am I just working the ledges mainly.

I realize there's jack and grouper etc etc at the wrecks in 100ish water, but it seems the DEEP water in more productive on a variety of fish and maybe bigger fish ( from what I've seen and read). I realize you probably don't wanna give out your 'secret' numbers, I just need a little nudge in the right direction so the trip will be enjoyable for the guys on the boat A: I don't like the Steeples for jigging as there is normally so much current you can't conrol the straight up and down direction you need for vertical jigging. I like the Black Jack ledges or MacMarlin ledges, also the live bottom area at the 100/400. Just watch your recorder and where you see good marks drop it there.

At BJ try the deeper ledges[200feet+]. Anywhere along the break[165+-250] will produce. What you catch will vary with the season, but you will almost always be catching[hooking] something on each drop and will give your buddies some heavy duty rod bending.

Q: Where are the Kings??? This past weekend I fished from the sharkhole all the way to navy wreck stopping at the horseshoe as well. We didn't get the first hit by a king all we battled was jacks. Am I just unlucky or should I be fishing somewhere else? I fish off a 26' CC w/ twin 150FS A: We had same problem. Fished the tourney, ran all over the ocean and had 2 king bites. Some of boats had good action I heard northeast of the tower; not sure exactly where.

But standby, as cool fronts come thru, fish should make move to 65 foot area enroute to the beach for the fall beach bite.

This is my fifteen-month-old niece making a break for it! She is clever! She wears the Bunnysuit of Supreme Adorability! I don’t even like children all that much (except in a white wine/butter sauce, but that’s not important right now). Yet I couldn’t quit squealing with glee and resume my surly ways for half an hour after I saw the photo. No one’s sure but I might’ve even briefly quit complaining. It’s all a blur!

Miss Sasha is in her charming twenties so I have no school-age children to fuss over, except secondhand. And I’m selfish enough to want decent care when I get to the Old Punks Home, where we’ll all wear torn-up black nightgowns, compare tats and shout, “ANARCHY!” until suppertime and Matlock. A few years ago, when friends who taught grade school mentioned it in passing, I stumbled on two programs. Lets you choose a participating school anywhere and support it financially.

Has a similar program, more focused on supplies and equipment. The thing is: you can participate in both programs for the same school or different schools. All you have to do is give the sites a look-see, decide what you’d like to do and what level of involvement you’d like. I collect labels for a teacher I adore in a not-wealthy school system. The box tops are a different story.

I collect them for a public school in New Brunswick you just know is underfunded. Collecting these labels and box tops is an absolute cinch, since you buy some of these products anyway. Just put a shiny little gift bag in one corner of your kitchen counter and toss them in. When you have a bunch, put them in an envelope. Hand them to your favorite teacher!

Mail them to your school’s coordinator. This might cost you $.37, but if we all do it, it could make a big difference to the kids who will someday wipe our butts. Plus, I now realize that I want a bunnysuit.

With a fiery passion, I want that. As I asserted yesterday on Running Scared, though my parents (Abner and Louella) were roughly Miss Sasha’s current age when I was born, they adapted a feminist approach and raised me to believe I was the smartest person on earth, my talents were endless and my future as big as I wished it to be.

My babydoll was brown, not petal-pink. There was no discussion of my wedding, my husband, my babies; we talked about graduate school. The school system bought into this fantasy despite abundant evidence that I was not, in fact, the smartest person on earth. I was one of those self-conscious show-pony kids: trotted out by the school when it called the local papers for some odious display. Download Free Tintenherz Rapidshare Free. To this day, I can’t think of Joyce Kilmer and that fucking poem without thinking of fourth grade and the Somerset Spectator.

I was the gifted and talented program in my school until I refused to talk about my family while my parents (Jean-Claude and Amelie) were breaking up. For a long time, I bought the bullshit and was sincerely confused when I encountered someone obviously smarter than I was. Just a note to parents (hypothetical Billy Joes and Bobby Sues): don’t foist this smartest-person-ever crap on your kids. Statistically speaking, it’s staggeringly unlikely, and your precious will devote pointless hours and hours to figuring out if they’re deranged or you are. Tata: At least once a day I slap my forehead and wonder why I did something that stupid. Corinne: Does that leave handprints? ‘Cause I’d like to see that!

Two nights ago, I fell asleep after 11:15 and slept until a piercing, omnipresent whining noise woke me. I looked at the clock but don’t remember what it said. I jumped out of bed and stumbled around the apartment trying to locate the source of the sound. After a minute or two, the sound stopped. I climbed back into bed. I looked at the clock but don’t remember what it said, and fell back to sleep.

A short time later, a piercing, omnipresent whining noise woke me again. I looked at the clock but don’t remember what it said. I jumped out of bed and stumbled around the apartment trying to locate the source of the sound. I realized the sound was coming from outside my apartment and threw open the door.

One of the something-detectors was squealing, then stopped. I climbed back into bed. I looked at the clock but don’t remember what it said, and fell back to sleep.

Soon, a piercing, omnipresent whining noise woke me a third time. I looked at the clock but don’t remember what it said. I jumped out of bed and stumbled to the front door to find the sound. I threw open the door, and stared at the squealing detector. Where were my neighbors? Why didn’t they come outside to find out if they were in danger?

I went back inside and grabbed my ladder. Standing atop the ladder, trying to pry the detector open, I realized this noise has awakened me for some period of time around 2 a.m. Every night for days, possibly weeks, and when I went back to bed, I simply forgot. Wide awake and freaked out, I couldn’t go back to bed. I spread out on the couch and flipped channels. I settled on something but couldn’t really pay attention.

Half an hour later, I curled up inside a frou-frou quilt so only my nose stuck out. When the alarm rang before 6, I called out and climbed back into my bed, certain that noise would not roust me out of bed again. I was right about that much. When I woke up, it was after 11 a.m. I called the landlord and pleaded for someone to put that device out of my misery. This morning, I go back to work. My co-workers ask, “Do you feel better?

Are you okay?” I tell them: noise, device, every night, forgot. Uniformly, they hoot: this never happens to them! They remember everything! Am I sleepwalking? Have I gone ’round the twist? In the back of my brain, I believe I should have the answers.

In the front of my brain, I think sock puppets are fun! If I’d gone to Harvard like I was supposed to, I might be an undersecretary at the United Nations now. I might be an executive at a major international aid agency. And if I were, and found myself on a ladder at 2 a.m., hammering at a device that inexplicably wasn’t annoying my neighbors, my high-priced hospitalization would make Page Six.

Instead, I do half an hour of stand-up every morning about stupid last night. Last week, Leonardo di Caprio was on Oprah, talking about global warming. Oprah speaks for millions of purse-string-holding women around the world.

So it was astounding to hear Oprah – hopefully playing Devil’s Advocate but it was painfully difficult to tell – ask, “I don’t know much about global warming. I hear these words and my eyes glaze over. What does global warming have to do with me?” The idea that women haven’t connected the dots between those children they fetishize and obsess over and planetary changes is so big and so astonishing I had to stop hating her guts to find room to hate her show’s viewers with the kind of scorching, corrosive hatred one devotes to people who insist everything’s fine as they stubbornly sail the boat you’re standing on into the iceberg. God damn it, global warming has everything to do with you. And you have to do something constructive about it.

A few weeks ago, a co-worker approached me for the third day in a row to ask my thoughts on Hurricane Katrina. I expressed horror and dismay in terms that peeled the outer layer of skin off her face. Then this: Emily: They’re going to have to build new refineries to compensate for all the lost oil.

Tata: The oil companies know that building a refinery has like a thirty-year window of return. Anything built now will cost more to build than it will return in its lifetime.

Emily: You mean because nobody wants a refinery in their neighborhood? Of course, you’re right but someone will have to live with it. Tata: No, because of peak oil.

Have you heard of this? Tata: As I understand it, the earth contains a certain amount of oil. We have extracted the majority of it and from now on, oil will become more difficult to extract and we will extract less and less of it until we run out. Emily: What about the Arctic?

There’s oil in South America! Tata: Yes, and those supplies would have been exhausted long ago if they were easy to tap and not fundamentally dangerous in some way. Emily: What are we supposed to do? We have to have oil. Tata: If I owned a house I’d have installed solar panels last year.

Emily: If only they’d build more refineries On Sunday afternoon, I read the. If there’s a motor vehicle without a coat of paint within 500 feet of me it belongs to Paulie Gonzalez and I am climbing into it. We’re on our way to Mom’s Diner for lunch. He starts the truck. He smiles, but it’s an apologetic look of faint disappointment. Paulie: Well, I’m sorry you missed out on the beating! At the reception the night before, I sat down at table 5 between the husband of a New York cousin and the brother of Paulie’s dad’s second wife.

She died a month ago. The kids used to take turns staying up late with their uncle so when he passed out on the couch someone put out his cigarette before he burned down the house. Everyone passes around photo albums.

Paulie’s dad sits next to Aunt Esmerelda, the wife of Paulie’s dad’s gangster half-brother, who was found in an unfortunate package years ago. The cousins are her daughters. Their husbands are odd looking fellows. Paulie reminds me his father’s other half-brother was a superior court judge in a northeastern state.

I say, “It’s all cops and robbers with your family, isn’t it?” He giggles. Everyone is excited! Or exuberant! Or anguished!

I’m waiting for the centerpieces, at least four feet tall from table height, to fall over and set fire to our fruit cups. All the usual wedding things happen: the bride dances with her father; they cry their eyes out.

The groom dances with his mother; they cry their eyes out. The bride and the groom dance; they cry their eyes out. The groom dances with the mother of the bride; they cry their eyes out. All in all, this is a great event for Kleenex. Meanwhile, Aunt Esmerelda tells a story and ends up with melted butter all over the front of her blouse. This does not detract from her perky charm.

When she’s embarrassed I consider slathering myself with salad dressing in solidarity. Paulie and I wander back and forth to the bar, sometimes outside when he wants a smoke; we’re in the bar during the salad course and we never actually see pieces of wedding cake. We nibble gray-ish prime rib and laugh hysterically at the stories. All evening, the DJ’s keep things moving at a vigorous clip.

Just before our dinner plates disappear, I turn to Paulie. Tata: Am I imagining things or is this a lull? We take the opportunity to marinate ourselves in gin. After the reception ends, we and the cousins all pile into the bar, where one of Paulie’s cousins winks at me for two hours. I express regret about his twitch.

After 1 a.m., I decide it’s time to begin peeling off layers of carefully calculated foundation garments and I make my excuses. Eleven hours later, we’re climbing into the giant pickup truck with a coat of matte black primer when the bride, groom and a biker chick shout and wave for us to come back upstairs with Paulie’s tux. Nicole opens the door in sweats, hair flying all lover the place.

Jimmy nibbles leftover fruit. As charming as these hoarse, hungover charmers are, me getting involved in post-wedding wreckage would interfere with my lunch plans. Diane the Biker Chick lets on that her boyfriend awoke in lockup this morning after Jimmy punched him during the wedding – Wait. What was that?

The dam breaks. All three chatter at once. After the third time through, Paulie and I gasp for breath, we’re laughing so hard. Getting an account of events in order never actually happens. Diane’s boyfriend was skunk-drunk before the wedding, and during one of the spotlight dances, he collected one of the abuelas and steered her toward the dance floor. During dinner, the wedding party – minus Paulie – ended up in one of the suites upstairs in one giant brawl.

In the most unbelievable turn of events outside of pro wrestling or Scientology, the groom took control of the situation: Nicole: So she tells me Kevin was choking her and she’d just about passed out when she realized she didn’t have to take this and she punched him. Diane: I punched him!

Jimmy: I said, “Hey!” Nicole: Diane and Kevin were fighting and they flipped over a coffee table. Tata: You what? Diane: We were fighting and we flipped over a coffee table.

You know – like flipping over a coffee table! Jimmy: Did you see her bruise? Diane: I got a bruise.

Paulie: Whoa. Diane: He’s drunk so I’m telling him, “Go sleep it off, go sleep it off.” Instead he chokes me!

Jimmy: So she punched him! Nicole: So she tells me that Jimmy came running and to break it up between them and Kevin’s like, “You don’t tell me what to do.” And Jimmy’s like, “No, you don’t tell me what to do!” And Kevin tries to head-butt him! Jimmy: And kick me in the nuts. Diane: He missed! Nicole: So she tells me Jimmy’s growling like an animal. He’s like, “This is my wedding!” She tells me Jimmy grabs him by the throat and pushes him straight up the wall off the ground.

I didn’t believe it! Diane: He was all gurgling blood and still kicking Jimmy. Jimmy: I put him down. Diane: Then the cops came and the DJ helped us fill out the police reports. Nicole: He’s great.

I’d hire him for anniversaries, too. Tata: Paulie, I believe that explains the lull. Paulie: Hey, that’s full service! You can’t get that just anywhere. Nicole: The best man’s family are all doctors and nurses and they made him change his shirt.

Diane: He was covered with blood. They’re kind of sensitive about that stuff. Paulie: I thought he was just a putz who couldn’t keep his tux on! Domestic violence is no joke. Just yesterday, I called the cops on a domestic situation outside my bedroom windows. Still, a good drunken brawl is mostly hilarious when no one really gets hurt and everyone gets cab fare home.

In retrospect, the wedding amused us, and I would’ve been fine wearing the butter. Congress votes itself raises and refuses to raise minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $6.25. Pension systems are failing.

Why not go the extra mile to ostentatiously fuck the poor, who in many cases are ordinary working people falling out of the bottom of the middle class? They don’t need to What will happen to secure middle class lives, homes and property when the poor – especially those who used to be your neighbors – realize they don’t actually have to tolerate this shit, and if they want to eat all they have to do is take what you have? Because in their growing numbers, they can. And the harder life gets the sooner they’ll get the picture.

If you happen to favor fucking over the poor, cut to the chase and just go put bars over the picture windows of your McMansion. I hope the image of little children going to bed hungry eats at you as much as it eats at parents who for whatever reason find themselves unable to provide and have nowhere to turn. When I accepted Paulie Gonzalez’s invitation to his sister’s wedding, my intention was to frump my brain, which has been stiff and bored.

A friend told me years ago that when you do things you ordinarily do in a different way – stirring your coffee with the hand you don’t usually use, for instance – you create new pathways in your brain. It could be complete bullshit for all I know but who cares? I’m sitting in a hotel meeting room with over one hundred empty chairs five minutes after the wedding’s supposed to have started, and my brain is dancing like a pack of Rockettes on a bender. As wedding guests file into the room – and fail to file into the room – strange, strange things are happening.

First, from the right rear of the room, a giant speaker plays an endless, pasteurized, instrumental version of the passionate, aching Whiter Shade of Pale, the Procul Harem song taken from the Canterbury Tales. The lyrics sound like they’re about faithless lovers. I could be wrong. Then something passionate, endless and instrumental played that I don’t recognize.

The groomsmen file in and stand in place. Wedding guests continue not to arrive in droves. The groomsmen break formation. Paulie finds the not-found-in-nature red glow of my hair in the sea of empty chairs and crosses the room to kiss my cheek before rejoining the parade.

Guests slowly fill in the seats. The music changes to an instrumental version of Nights In White Satin. The groomsmen march in again. The pastor, who has been doing laps around the room, crosses the finish line and gasps for breath.

Two years pass. A number of videographers hover at the back of the room with a camera set up on wheels and easily seven feet tall.

Finally, the back doors open and Nicole’s giggling pre-teen daughter lopes down the aisle, followed by four or five women in matching rust-colored satin dresses and matching shoes. The guests giggle, too. The bridesmaids and groomsmen stand stiffly in place, smiling like they’re pinching each other.

The back doors close and mysteriously remain closed. Music plays for a long time. Suddenly, the wedding springs a leak. The guests surrender any pretense of attentive behavior. When the doors are thrown open, nobody shuts up but everyone stands as Nicole tries to walk down the aisle with her regal mother and very nervous father.

Mom is less than five feet tall and glowing on her daughter’s special day. Dad is counting out loud: “Step andhold andstep andhold and” When they finally reach the plastic trees with Chistmas lights, tulle and a flock of attendants, the giant video machine smoothly slides into the aisle and blocks any view of the bridal party. I can’t actually see the ceremony because I am tiny by human standards but I hear the pastor, whose homily is about disappointment. His allegory is a pastrami sandwich incident. While he’s going on and on about horseradish sauce at his favorite deli, the guests behind me debate the fine points of answering the question “Does anyone know of any reason these two cannot be joined in matrimony?” in the affirmative. Across the aisle, guests conduct Chinese fire drills without a motor vehicle.

From now on, mine is an ear-witness account. Talking, talking, talking. Let us pray to the Ramada gods.

Blah blah blah. Pastrami sandwich. Horseradish sauce. Grateful for food. Will you, Jimmy, blah blah blah? Will you, Nicole, blah blah blah?

Put your right foot in. Put your right foot out. Story about Nicole’s long history with the pastor and the giggling pre-teen daughter. More disappointment. Isn’t life wonderful to offer us such misery?

Talking, talking, talking. I now pronounce you legally obligated to pay one another’s debts. At no point during this stirring ceremony does the gossiping, seat switching and speculating let up. When the bride and groom skip back up the aisle, everyone claps vigorously and looks around wildly to see what to do. A minute or two later, I climb out into the lobby. My eyes haven’t even adjusted to the change in light when a member of the waitstaff guides me by the shoulders like Glinda the Good Witch around the corner.

“Down the hall and to the right.” I wonder if this direction is just for me or everyone else and my little dog, too. I find a bar, heaps of sliced fruit, pinhead-sized tables in a configuration I don’t understand, and three women wearing the exact same pants I am. I can’t deal with the fruit. I sit in an overstuffed chair and watch like a Smithsonian anthropologist with a folklore and customs grant. Finally, Paulie appears.

We get on line for drinks, where I order a cautious chardonnay and a pack of long-lost Brooklyn cousins on his mobbed-up side leap at him, squealing, “Paaaaaaaaaaulieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” Accustomed to flying women, Paulie spills not a drop of his martini. In rapid succession, Paulie introduces me to a tribe of half-Hondurans and another of charismatic New York Italian-Jewish women related to Paulie’s fathersomehow. When we each have a handful of napkins, sticks and empty glasses there’s nowhere to put them and no one to ask. We pile the debris where no one is certain to find it.

I change my mind about this wedding business and switch to gin. Though I have no idea what to do or how to act, I decide to roll with it. My brain is not in control here and I’m along for the ride. On Wednesday, when I foolishly believed I’d drive myself, I called Daria and asked about the Holiday Inn I used to pass between Exit 8A and her house. Friday morning, Paulie said, “No, it’s a Ramada, and I think it’s Exit 8.” Maybe you only hurt the ones you love, but often you’d like to maim a few passersby. Mom had plenty of time to call Daria after I hung up the phone. Mom: Are you ready to leave the house now?

I’m standing in my living room naked and hoping my tan dries. Mom: The sooner we leave the better. Tata: I really appreciate your help with this stupid errand! I’m sorry about your errands. I feel so guilty!

Mom: It’s just your sister-in-law’s birthday present. She’ll understand! Tata: I have to go kill myself now, but I’ll be at your house in half an hour. I threw the phone on the couch and tapped myself all over to see if the Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer was dry enough to slap fabric on.

In a blur of arms, legs and lace, I glopped on foundation makeup and foundation garments and fragrance and powders. Forty-five minutes after I hung up the phone, Mom and I jump into her little truck thing.

She hands me a map with directions from the Turnpike. The Turnpike is off to our left. She turns right.

I’m paying attention to the road but, nervous and guilt-ridden, I’m just babbling. Tata: So I ran in my room to get dressed, right? And I put on a black bra and my blouse and I take off my blouse because the plunging neckline plunges a little too far, even for me. And I put on a black sleeveless whatsis and put the blouse back on but I can’t make my fingers button the buttons. So how big is my apartment? It’s really big for a one-bedroom, but how many closets does it have? There are only two where clothes hang but I can’t find my pants in the drycleaning bag, and I can’t go without pants!

I put on a pair of Daria’s black slacks and zip up my boots but then I look in the coat closet and there they are so I’m bouncing down my hallway with one leg in each pair of pants and I’m thinking ‘The humor of this will be lost on my mother if I break my neck and she still didn’t get to the post office.’ Mom: You may have noticed we’re not headed toward the Turnpike. You may have noticed I’m getting a little hysterical. Mom: Daria says Route 130 is our best bet during rush hour on a Friday afternoon. Tata: She’s sure? I thought after 130 intersected with the Turnpike there was a sign, “Here be monsters.” Mom and I had a tough few years in which we spoke to each other through clenched teeth when we spoke at all, but it was only the first thirty-eight of our lives together. So we’re pretty good. We drive on Route 130 past the workhouse, car dealerships, strip malls and dirt mounds.

The further down 130 we go the less there is to see. It seems to go on forever. We pass the intersection of Route 130 and the Turnpike, but the directions from Daria and Mapquest don’t seem to match the map.

We bet on the map. I turn the map upside down so our heading is right in front of us.

Counter to the instructions, I say, “We’re very near. Turn right.” Mom panics for one second. She turns right. Ahead, we see a sign for the Ramada Inn to our right, mysteriously hidden from the main entry to the Turnpike. We pass through a tiny road and a wall of trees. The Ramada’s parking lot opens up before us. Birds are singing.

We stare at each other for a long minute, then Mom pulls up to the entry and puts the truck in park. Neither of us believes it. We’re supposed to be lost now. The ceremony is at 6; it is 5:39.

I get out of the truck with my overnight bag, a book and and my formal cigar box purse Nicole gave me for Christmas a few years ago. In the lobby, I see no one I know. Spotting the bag, the concierge asks if I have a reservation.

No, not exactly, but I leave the bag with him. Just inside the Ramada’s main entrance I passed a room set up for a wedding, complete with giant plastic trees filled with Christmas lights and a tulle canopy. It is deserted.

I wonder if I’ve come to the wrong hotel. The concierge says no. For hours, I’ve been moving at Mach 2; I’ve come to a sudden stop and the noise catches up. I’m noticeable anywhere, but I’m conspicuous in the small lobby. I hate weddings. Nobody’s in charge here. I walk into the dressed up room, pick a chair three from the back and three from the aisle and sit.

I can’t figure out why the people around me are acting as they are. Now I wonder what I’m doing here. I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m doing here. For a few unpleasant minutes, I wish I weren’t.

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