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Banks Vacation Fishing
By Joe Malat
The Outer Banks is a great place for a family summer vacation and fishing is one activity that can be enjoyed by everyone. No experience is necessary. Several ocean fishing piers, miles of beach for surf fishing, and multiple locations on the soundside from Duck to Ocracoke provide plenty of opportunities to wet a hook. If your vacation house is on a canal or the oceanfront, the fish might be biting only a few steps from your back door!
Bluefish, spot, croakers, flounder, puppy drum, sea mullet, pompano and trout are around in the summer. A spinning rod in the seven-foot range works fine from the piers, boats and from the soundside shoreline. Surf rods are usually in the 8 to 10-foot range; the extra length helps with casting a greater distance and keeping the waves from washing your rig and bait back to shore. If you are buying a new outfit from one of the fine local tackle shops, ask the staff to recommend an outfit that will fit your needs.
Whether fishing from a pier, boat, the shoreline or surf, you will most likely to be using pieces of bait, fished on the two-hook bottom rigs. They may be purchased already assembled and the individual components are also sold separately so you can change the hooks and sinkers, depending on the size of fish and how much weight you need to keep your rig in one place on the bottom.
Pyramid shaped sinkers, typically in the one to three ounce range, will work great from the piers and in the surf. Use just enough weight to keep your rig from drifting with the current or wind.
Everyone wants to catch a big fish, but there are more small fish than big ones around in the in summer, and if your hooks are too big, you will miss many of small fish that are plenty of fun to catch. Long shank, #2 to #4 wire hooks will catch everything from small spot to puppy drum that can weigh several pounds.
Another rig for fishing the surf is called a two-hook bluefish or ìfireballî rig. Itís designed for catching bluefish, which can be caught in the ocean and sounds all summer long. This rig looks like two brightly colored balls with hooks attached. All you need to add is the sinker and some bait.
Mullet, squid, shrimp and bloodworms are popular and effective local baits. Ask the folks at the local tackle shops to recommend the best bait for your location.
Mullet should be cut into strips or chunks. Scaling the mullet by scraping the sides from the tail to the head with the back of your knife makes it much easier to put a hook through the bait. Make sure the hook comes out through the skin side.
Squid is frozen. After it thaws, trim off the head end. Make a long cut down the squidís body, but not all the way through, then scrape out the insides. After you do this, the squid should be lying flat, like a piece of paper, on the bait board. Cut the body into long strips. Lace one end of the strip on your hook a couple times, so the ìtailî end looks like a small fish swimming in the current.
Bloodworms should be cut into pieces about an inch long and laced several times along the shank of your hook, past the barb. Fresh shrimp can be a deadly bait in the summer. Remove the shrimpís head and cut the shrimp into small chunks about an inch long or smaller. You can either leave the shell on or remove it. Leaving the shell on helps keep the soft shrimp on your hook.
A few extra pieces of equipment will make your fishing day more fun. A five-gallon bucket is an inexpensive and practical way to carry some extra gear such as a knife and a bait cutting board, a pair of pliers, and a rag. A few Zip-Loc bags are handy for storing hooks, rigs and sinkers. A sand spike will hold your rod and reel on the beach. And, donít forget the sunscreen. For more summer surf fishing tips, visit my website, www.joemalat.com. Have fun and tight lines!
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