Fishin’ Fun: Why it’s not called catching

Published 1:01 pm Monday, July 29, 2019

Unsettled weather waylaid a couple different sets of plans last week, including a Twilight Fishing Cruise on board the Miss Oregon Inlet on Tuesday and Thursday’s blow delayed my visit to Pirate’s Cove for the Carolina Boat Builders Tournament.

We were going to go by there around 4 p.m. to see if any tuna, dolphin or wahoo had been brought in and weighed for the meat fish division. But as luck would have it, most of the boats stayed in due to rough seas, opting to fish Friday and Saturday instead.

So, when in doubt, go with your standby – surf fishing near the house. My son Austin and I first ate dinner then loaded everything up in the truck – pier cart, two rods with brand new Sweepfires, Playmate cooler with beverages, ice, snacks, mullet and shrimp, two Surf Pals, two chairs, bucket and bait board.

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Do we really need all of this?


We tested out our brand-new pier cart on the beach the other night. Daryl Law photo

Down at the public beach access, we first unloaded it all and then packed it back into the new pier cart, a medium-sized one. With chairs in hand too, I started the pull to the beach. With the third wheel on the front, it was a breeze across the parking lot.

In the sand, the tires bogged down some, so we both pulled it down to the hard sand. Go figure, a guy in front of us only had a bucket and a rod.

Quite a few people were on the beach and the waves were kicking up a bit.  We ended up setting up in the same place our family camps for beach days.

It’s funny how territorial you become over a favorite beach spot. A couple of other anglers were fishing near us, one on each side. The guy north of us had a trout rod and was out on a sandbar a little way. Before I knew it, he had a decent-sized trout on the beach.

We set all our gear up and I fileted a cob mullet into small strips. We both had regular double bottom rigs on our lines. I like a peeled shrimp on the bottom and a cut mullet strip on top. We cast out and waited. This is so relaxing, I thought.

Eventually the guy north of us had his rod bent over pretty good as the fight was on again. His friends on the beach took note and he battled the feisty fish that turned out to be a large blue. He showed to the gang on the beach and let it go.


This Berkley rod had plenty of backbone and the brand new Sweepfire reeled smoothly, but it doesn’t have reverse. Daryl Law photo

I was excited now, too, thinking our time would come soon. I reeled in and checked my bait, put fresh stuff on and casted out again.

When I was backing up to my chair, I went to reverse the reel so I could let the line out in a controlled fashion, but there’s no reverse on these models. Either open the bail or loosen the drag to pay out line. I wonder how much money that saved Daiwa?

Next, the tall skinny guy in blaze orange board shorts hooked up – his looked like a trout, too. Man, are we gonna get ours? Am I holding my tongue just right?

In the distance, you could see the end of the pier was packed and made me think back to what the two teenagers said at the tackle shop: blues and Spanish were biting at Avalon.

After a while, I asked Austin if he’d like to pack up and head to the pier. He said no, he didn’t. Then the payoff came: “I like night fishing on the beach.”

That’s what a dad wants to hear from his 13-year-old son whose smartphone cost several hundred dollars more than the first car I ever bought. So, we sat there, him drinking a sports drink and eating peanuts, me sipping a golden delicious beverage.

The sun’s last rays bathed the incoming wave faces golden hues of orange and yellow as dusk settled in. It made me wonder if the surf would be good for him to ride over the weekend. What a great way to grow up, surf fishing and riding waves in your own neighborhood.

Thankfully, Austin also likes photography and he goes along with my ideas for photos. He was good enough to let me take a few shots of him before it got too dark. In fact, there was no moon at all, so we were grateful for headlamps that were our stocking stuffers last December.


Austin Law waits for the bite while night fishing on a quiet beach in Kill Devil Hills. Daryl Law photo

They’re bright and blinding. “We can’t look at each other!” Austin said.

I used mine to light him up a little so the auto focus would grab on the Nikon lens. There was so much camera shake I ended up resting the small camera on the arm of my beach chair. To cushion it, I used my hat. With a few blasts, I got one that looked good.

After trying an old-fashioned bluefish orange fireball rig, I switched back to standard rig and put a gold flicker hook on the bottom with a small “fresh” shrimp. I cast out hoping to get our first.

And sure enough, I did get a small bump. Funny how it makes your heart beat a little faster and then gets your hopes up high. But for this one night, it just wasn’t meant to be.

After a while, together, we broke down the camp and headed down the hard-packed sand until we got to the lifeguard stand. A couple dozen lights twinkled on the pier. Austin pointed out to a section of waves that looked orange.

“Is that phosphorescence?” he said. It sure looked like it.

Again, we pulled together to get the gear up and over the dune. As we put everything away again in the truck, I asked Austin if he had fun fishing and he said: “Yes, dad.”



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