September 30, 2006
I decided to try my luck in the surf this morning. I had my line in the water a little after seven. My bait consisted of three dozen live shrimp and four dozen live finger mullets. The mullet minnows were a little on the large size. The morning started out with a bang. I baited up with shrimp, and started throwing a mirro-lure hoping to latch onto a speckled trout. My bottom rig (shrimp)doubled over then went slack. I tightened the line, the fish made a hard run when it felt pressure. I gained a little ground, then another hard run, and then the line got tangled on something under the surface, and my line was broken. After tying another rig, and baiting with another live shrimp, I went back to casting my mirro-lure. After a couple of lost shrimp probably to pin fish, I got another good bite, this time bringing the fish all the way in to the breakers. But luck was not on my side, and a breaking wave knocked a big spec off my hook, just as I dragged it onto the sand. Fish 2, Horner 0. My friend Tommy got there about the time I was finishing my rant about loosing my biggest spec of the year.
Soon after big schools of mullet minnows were moving south down the beach, and with them came the blues. Big chopper blues. We went through all the shrimp, and all the finger mullets by afternoon, and I was in the surf throwing my cast net for more. We ended up catching 3 nice choppers, which Tom and Susan put away along with some fresh shrimp for their supper.
We should have caught more, but I didn't have any wire leaders, and I got cut off I don't know how many times. I thought I was going to run out of gear before I ran out of bait. After getting a hard bite, we would have just the head of our mullet minnow, or just the tail, whatever part we put the hook into was the part the blues would leave behind. Other anglers up and down the beach tried throwing gotchas and other lures, but the blues wouldn't bit anything but the live minnows. At times the water was black with bait fish.
But all in all, it was a fun day and one thing I learned is that I should always have a couple of wire leaders in my box. Another thing is that the speckled trout are starting to show up in the surf. Go to your favorite tackle shop, if you are going to be on Topsail Island soon, visit Chris at East Coast Sports, or Steve at Herring's Outdoor Sports and find out what the most popular mirro-lure colors are for this year. I haven't heard anything about the Berkley Gulp Salt Water baits for trout, but if they work for specs like they work for flounder and reds, better stock up on them while you are at the tackle shop also.
Till next time....
September 29, 2006
Till next time....
September 26, 2006
Weather says NorthEast winds tomorrow (Wednesday), this may bring in the fish to Topsail Island. Especially the spots. If you are not working tomorrow, and you like spots, got on down here and try them. Spots love the new Fish Bites, and you can get more than one fish on one little half inch piece. My Dad caught 12 spots last month on one piece. You can get them at East Coast Sports, and are very reasonable if you consider the amount of fish you can catch on a bag. Another thing I like about them, they don't stink if you leave them in the truck! If you like the fresh live worms, East Coast has them also, or you can get them at Herrings.
Until Next Time....
September 25, 2006
I just wanted to drop you a line and say that I am enjoying your blog. I
check in frequently. I recently got into kayak fishing myself, but haven't
had much luck. I noticed that a lot of your pictures look like they are
taking from the dock behind Herring OS. I put in there once, do you live
around there? Maybe I will see you on the water.
Well, anyways, just wanted to say hi and I appreciate the posts.
Date: Sat, 23 Sep 2006 21:27:30 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Johnny Horner"
Subject: Re: Hello
Hi Andrew, Thanks for your email and for reading my blog. I do live near Herrings. Steve (at Herring's) is a good friend, and I usually put in at Herring's dock. Do you live in the Topsail area or vacation here? Fishing has been really bad in the surf and piers this year, I have been fishing more from the kayak, hitting the creeks and flats. I have been lucky with the reds this year. And finding the "fish candy" Berkley Gulp was a big help. The fish really love it. I am sorry you aren't having much luck with the drum, if you have specifc questions, I'll be happy to help if I can. Keep in touch.
Thanks for the reply,
I live in Sneads Ferry, but I travel around putting in at different spots.
Have you had particularly good luck at certain spots. I have fished back
behind Herrings in the creeks, the Chadwick Bay and surrounding ICW, and I
let in on the south side of the island and fished across the ICW in the
creeks. If you have any recommendations please let me know.
Date: Sun, 24 Sep 2006 05:38:37 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Johnny Horner"
Subject: Re: Hello
I love Sneads Ferry Andrew. Donna and I brought our family to Topsail Island in the late 70's for our annual vacations, and I had to make the annual pilgrimage to Sneads Ferry just to take in the sights of an authentic fishing village.
Andrew, these fish are just about everywhere off the ICW. Try the larger "flats"areas first, and if you don't find them go to the smaller creeks. They are usually in very shallow water, from 18 inches down to 8 inches. Chris Medlin at East Coast Sports caught one behind his store in less than 8 inches of water. My favorite bait is the Berkley Gulp 3" White Shrimp, which you can get at East Coast, but they will bite spinner baits, live shrimp, finger mullet, pogies, and even cut shrimp when they are feeding. I think the key is to be quiet. The stealth and the ability to fish in very skinny water is what I like about the kayak. I use the wind and current to my advantage, and position my boat where they will move me over where I want to fish without having to put a paddle in the water. If you are using a carolina rig to present the bait, get the very small egg slip sinkers. I think mine are 1/8 ounce or maybe 1/4 ounce. I got them at East Coast which is the only place I have found the really small ones. I think the big splash of a larger weight might spook the reds. Sometimes, if the wind is really calm, I even rig with just a swivel and no weight. I don't use the red beads for this rig. Stay away from high traffic areas, and look for grassy banks that are near oyster beds. Reds love crabs, and crabs love oysters. Hope this helps. When you go to East Coast to get your Gulp and 1/8 oz egg weights, talk to Chris. He has caught more reds than I will ever catch and I know he can give you some more pointers.
Thanks again for the email, and good luck with the reds.
Thanks again Andrew for allowing me to post your emails, and good luck with the kayak adventures. If you only try one thing I mentioned, let it be the Berkley Gulp Saltwater 3" Shrimp, (East Coast seems to always have the 3" in stock) rigged carolina style with the small egg sinker or no weight at all. Throw out the bait a good distance from the boat and let it drift with the current. If you don't get a hit, try throwing to the banks, and move it very slowly. Thats the way I have had the most luck with this bait.
Till next time....
September 23, 2006
This is a picture of our youngest grandaughter Anna who was one year old on September 19, 2006. Anna's Mom and Dad are our Son and Daughter-in-Law, Scott and Jennifer, and Anna is their first child. Anna spent her first birthday at the beach with her MawMaw and PawPaw Horner. (That's us!) There are some more picture posted below of Anna and her Proud Mom and Dad, Scott and Jennifer.
The picture below is our other three granddaughters Christina, Erin, and Breanna. These lovely treasures are our Daughter Emiley's and Son-in-Law Ryan's daughters. And of course, you already know grandson Zack, which is pictured below also. God has blessed Donna and I with these wonderful children and grandchildren which we love and miss so very much. We look forward to our next visit with each of them.
Slot size drum are still being caught in the shallow tidal creeks and flats off the ICW. Slow fished spinner baits, or Berkley Gulp Shrimp seems to be the best baits. I am starting to hear of a few being caught on live mullet and live shrimp.
Till next time...
September 22, 2006
Our son Scott, daughter-in-law Jennifer and Granddaughter Anna are visiting from Conover this week. We are very happy to see them. Anna is growing so fast and we don't get to see them as often as we would like to.
Scott and I went out for his first kayak fishing outing Wednesday afternoon. The wind was out of the South something and nothing much was biting from the pier of surf, so when the wind lay down a bit we decided to give the kayaks a try. We paddled out to the ICW, trailing carolina rigged Berkley Gulp 2 inch Shrimp. I like 3 inch better, but Herring's was sold out of the three inch. Chris at East Coast Sports has the three inch Gulp Shrimp in stock now, but I didn't get there before we left to go out. On the way out I caught a small flounder which was released. We arrived at our intended location, tidal flats just off the ICW, and I started throwing a Mirro-lure while Scott was rigged with a spinner bait with a white currly tail grub (gold metal flake). Both of us were trailing a Berkley Gulp as we drifted with the breeze. After about an hour from the time we left the dock, Scott hooked up with his first red. He didn't seem too impressed, as the fish swam straight toward the boat, and Scott remarked "It's not very big." But when the red saw the kayak, it rocketed away with a reel burning run that caused Scott to hollar like us southern boys do, "OH MAN!"
After three more schorching runs and a couple of 360 kayak spins, the red was landed and measured. 26 inches. "Yea Scott, not very big. Any bigger and you would have to release it!" A while later, while Scott was exploring the flats and throwing the spinner, and I was anchored to fix a problem with a reel, the drag on my trailing rod began to scream. I realed in a 23 inch red which was released. (I have three in the freezer)
Scott said he had great fun. We got lucky for his first trip out. Isn't that the way is goes? Fishing is a great activity, and God aproves. That is why he always lets new comers catch a big one. Then they are hooked!
Until next time...
September 21, 2006
Congratulations to Herb Potts who drove from Cullowhee, North Carolina to Surf City, North Carolina to try his luck with red drum. Well as it turn out, Herb's luck with the elusive red drum is pretty good. He hook up with a nice'un, a 23 inch slot fish that bit a piece of cut shrimp on a carolina rig and quoting Herb, "made several blistering runs before I could get him in the boat."
Herb was fishing in from a kayak rented from Herring's Outdoor Sports in Surf City. If you haven't hooked up with a five or six pound "puppy" drum while fishing from a kayak with light tackle, you have "missed the boat". The rocket like runs that these torpedo shaped fish make are nothing less than spectacular, and in my opinion makes the name "puppy" drum completely laughable.
September 19, 2006
We are waiting for the wind to change, and blow the schools of spots and mullets inshore. So, check the weather, and look for the NE wind, which will produce best on Topsail Island this time of year.
Oh yes, Herring's Outdoor Sports has bloodworms. I think price is $10.50 a dozen, but call ahead to be sure. Telephone number is 910-328-3291.
East Coast Sports is having a sale on fishing reels. The last time I was in they had Diawa reels, BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE!!! WHAT A DEAL!!! See Chris, Doug, Cathy (manager in training) or one of the other helpful folks at East Coast Sports, and let them help you with a new reel just in time for speckled trout season.
Till next time....
September 17, 2006
Sorry, nothing to report as far as fishing goes. I know the wind has changed, and I heard this afternoon that the spots that were biting earlier in the week had slowed a bit. I know the water has cooled a little more, and that should mean the specs will start showing up early mornings if they haven't already. I think Herring's Outdoor Sports will have more of the large bloodworms Monday or Tuesday morning. Call them or send me an email and I will check for you before you make the trip.
I will get some more info posted as soon as I can out. Hopefully by morning, I will be able to face the sun.
Until next time...
September 13, 2006
I had a pretty bad migraine this morning so I didn't go with Dad to Surf City Pier where the spots have been biting for a couple of days. This is not a "BLITZ" now, but a nice yellow belly spot every ten minutes or so isn't a bad morning. Dad came home with 20 nice yellow belly spots, and only fished for a few hours. Shrimp wasn't the bait of choice today however, and Dad visited the bait shop at the Surf City Pier and bought a bag of Fish Bites, Shrimp Flavor. This stuff is like candy to spots. They love it! And the great thing about Fish Bites, is you can catch as many as half a dozen spots on one little piece. So they don't cost very much in the long run when you figure how many spots you can catch with a bag of them. Spots isn't the only fish biting although they are the star of the show. There are also a few black drum, croaker, puppy drum, and the occasional flounder showing up in a few coolers on the pier also.
Now, as for the BEAUTY at the top of the page, I caught this one tonight (Wednesday) while fishing off my back porch. I did't weigh the BEAST but she was 22 1/2 inches long. She bit what is fast becoming my favorite bait for drum as well as flounder, Berkley Gulp Saltwater 3 inch Shrimp. I bought these at Herring's Outdoor Sports. Herring's has all the Gulp Saltwater line in stock. Herring's also has some beautiful bloodworms FRESH from the farm in Maine! They have the LARGE worms in stock, and at Herring's, you get a full DOZEN, NOT JUST 10, like you might get at some other places.
My Mom and Dad, sometimes referred to as "Momenem" (southern speak) are visiting this week from Burlington, North Carolina. I wanted to take Dad out in the kayak, but it's been too windy so far this week. As I said earlier in the post, I woke with a migraine this morning, and Dad went to the pier and wore the spots out. Later in the day, I was feeling better and the wind had died down a bit, so we loaded up the kayak and headed up the creek to see if we could locate a couple of red drum. We scored with a couple of flounder, both just a bit too small, but we couldn't find any reds, So we headed back home just before dark anticipating the fish dinner we had planned for the evening. After the "yak" was unloaded and put away, we went inside getting ready to go out for our meal. We were taking our catch from earlier in the week to Batt's Grill for a "Bring Your Own Feast". Just as we were leaving, I tossed the Berkley Gulp Saltwater Shrimp I had been fishing with earlier in the afternoon, into the creek and set the rod down on the porch. We gorged ourselves on fish, fries, hushpuppies, slaw, and a gallon of sweet tea. The fish was cooked to perfection, and the fries, slaw and hushpuppies were cooked just crispy enough. We ate our fill, Mom and Dad went back home, and I walked down to IGA and waited with Donna until she finished work, then rode home with her.
After we returned home, I went to the back porch to get in my fishing rod and reel, and as I reeled in the slack, I was supprised with a blistering run by the nasty old drum at the end of the line. It was dark by now, and I couldn't see into the water to see what I had hooked. I called for Dad to bring a flashlight, and to our suprise, we saw the beautiful red, shinning in the light. She had been hooked up by the circle hook for a while I think, because she didn't have much more fight left in her. The one long run was the all she had left, or so I thought, until I tried to pick her up from the waters edge in the grass. Off she goes again. Not a long run, but flopping one side to the other, making it almost impossible for me to get hold of her. I thought I was going to loose her before I could get her landed.
So, now I have another fish tale for the pier, during the slow times, and for when I call the grandchildren, especially Zack. He always ask if I am catching any fish. So this time, I can say, "Yea man, wait 'till you hear about the big one I caught from the back porch!"
Until next time....
September 10, 2006
Spots are biting at Surf City Pier. They are nice size too! They aren't coming up two at a time, but folks are catching good numbers. Seem to be biting bloodworms better, but some are being caught on shrimp also. Herring's Outdoor Sports has nice big fresh bloodworms if you need them.
Until Next time...
Here is an email I received from a family on September 4th that vacations on Topsail Island. The Brothers family, also FishinTopsail's Blog readers, recently spent their summer vacation here and sent these pictures as proof of their fishing success while enjoying our wonderful beaches. Bruce had emailed me about their success and I ask him for pictures which he graciously sent. Thanks to Bruce and family, wife Karen, and son Christopher, for sharing their vacation, and congratulations to all for a wonderful stringer of fish. Besides the two shown in the pictures, they caught two more, and all four were released to fight with another angler yet another day!
Wanted to get these to you earlier but I've been busy back in NY getting ready for the opening of another school year. We had a killer day about 2-3 weeks ago. One afternoon we cought a 29", 26", 22" and 20" Puppy drum. This picture is the 29" fish that my son Christopher cought. You can tell by the smile on his face that he was happy with his catch. The next picture is the 26" fish that my wife Karen caught.
Feel free to add them to your blog.
My apologies to Bruce for taking so long to get these posted. I had a problem getting the pictures to open for the blog. I finally got it solved. Thanks again Bruce.
A reminder, I will be honored to post any pictures of anyones catch in the Topsail area. Just send in a digital pic attached to an email, jpeg format, along with the fish tale that goes with the picture. I am thinking of awarding a prize for the best fish tale if I get enough response. Something to think about.
Until next time....
September 9, 2006
The view above is what I see as I look out my window while typing my blog entry. Ask me if I believe in God. This beauty can not be an accident.
Before I start my report today, I would like to give a shout out to my new friend and fishing bud Donald. Donald is a military man, back from Afghanistan now serving his country in our area. I met Donald on the SCP last night and we fished and talked for a while. God Bless Donald and his family, and all our military families for their great sacrifice while protecting US, YOU AND ME, OUR WAY OF LIFE, AND OUR FREEDOM. As I have said before and will say again.
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE! IT MUST BE PAID FOR. IT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE BLOOD AND BRAVERY OF THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE US. IT IS BEING PAID FOR NOW, BY THE BLOOD AND BRAVERY OF THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO SERVE, AND IF WE ARE TO REMAIN FREE, IT WILL BE PAID FOR TIME AND TIME AGAIN. BECAUSE THERE ARE ALWAYS THOSE WHO WANT TO DESTROY AMERICA AND OUR WAY OF LIFE. DO YOU REALIZE THAT THE LONGEST A DEMOCRACY HAS EVER LASTED IS ABOUT 200 YEARS? DO YOU KNOW WHY? MOSTLY BECAUSE ITS PEOPLE BECOME COMPLAISANT AND LOOSE THE RESOLVE TO FIGHT FOR THEIR FREEDOMS WHICH THEY JUST LET SLIP AWAY.
SO IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS SERVING OUR COUNTRY, GIVE THEM A CALL OR SEND A LETTER OR A CARE PACKAGE, JUST LET THEM KNOW YOU SUPPORT THEM. IT CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
GOD BLESS YOU DONALD, GOD BLESS YOUR FAMILY, AND THE FAMILIES OF ALL YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS SERVING OUR GREAT NATION!
Now, to fishing.....
After a week long migraine, my to-do list gets long. And, since I am retired, and do nothing outside the home, but fish, and occasionally a stretch of making some pottery, I do all the housework. So now that I have my chores caught up, (sort of) I hit the pier Thursday and Friday nights. A stiff wind was "in my face" as I stood on Surf City Pier looking towards North Topsail Beach, which is just the conditions that Donna's dad, locally known as "Mr. Lee", always said was the perfect wind conditions for a night of fall fishing. Well, Mr. Lee was right on Thursday night, because I landed no less than six different kinds of fish, and most were nice size fish at that. My stringer was highlighted by a couple of two pound black drum, perfect size for grilling, and a 15 inch gray trout. The gray came with a humorous story which I will share sometime when I don't have fish to talk about. Also included in my cooler was croaker, bigger than usually for this area, but not big enough to be called "Chesapeake croakers" like my brother Jesse, (lives in Virginia) catches in the Chesapeake Bay and James River that weighs up to two pounds. I also landed a nice puppy drum, but no matter how I stretched the fish, it wouldn't hit the 18 inch mark on my fish ruler. Fishin' bud and friends Ken and Karen contributed some large spot and sea mullet making a nice night of fishing on the Surf City Pier. I have to give some of the credit to the beautiful ocean shrimp that I bought at Herrings Outdoor Sports. They were so fresh they were practically swimming! As impressive as I thought our stringer of fish was, it paled in comparison to some others. There were coolers with as many as four black drum, not small ones like mine, but huge ones with tails sticking out of the cooler tops. There were coolers half full of nice spots. A flounder, about two pounds was caught by Mike Becker, author of the weekly fishing report in the Topsail advertiser and publisher of a fishing blog called "Topsail Angler".
During the daytime on Surf City pier, the guys and gals who target sheephead are getting a few, and friend and fellow angler Glenn has an eight pounder to his credit this year. Glenn has the touch with sheephead. Glenn is also catching some nice spanish plugging with gotcha plugs.
Most of the serious pluggers are catching blues and spanish during the morning hours, and bottom anglers are catching blues all day and into the night. As for spanish, they were so thick Thursday, now get this, that a guy bottom fishing caught one on a piece of cut shrimp and a bottom rig right behind the breakers! Neighbor and friend Tommy while throwing his cast net in the breakers near old Barnacle bills pier had a large spanish or small king pass within a few feet of where he was standing. So what I am saying is, the fish are thick! Bait is everywhere. Large schools of huge row mullet are passing by the pier one school after another. Most are just out of reach of cast nets, but a few are being caught by the serious cast netters.
As the flood water from the recent storm makes it's way down to the sounds and inlets from the rivers and creeks upstream, I am concerned that the huge influx of fresh water doesn't run the abundance of fish we seem to have back out into the deeper water. If that happens, we will just have to wait until they return.
On another note, I have always heard that when we see yellow butterflys coming in across the ocean in the fall, the huge yellow bellied spots will follow close behind. Well I have seen a few in the past week. But as I am sitting at my computer looking out over the salt marsh, what seems like hundreds of them are flying inland. So hopefully all the lovers of the famous panfish that has a festival named after it, the "Spot" will have all they can catch in the coming days. So if any of you are reading this, get your gear ready and loaded in the truck or van, or wagon, or however you get here, 'cause,
them spots, they are a comin'!
Till next time.....
September 3, 2006
I went fishing last night for the first time in a couple fo weeks. I joined friends Ken and Karen, Andreaus, Karen, and Mike. My wonderful, loving, UNDERSTANDING wife, Donna, was working. I have to say that it wasn't my night, but any time fishing is good, right? I only caught two very small spots, but the fish were biting. And they were biting well. All up and down the pier, anglers were pulling in the fish. Puppy drum, sea mullet, croaker, not the croaker we usually see in N.C. but big Virginia croaker. And spot, the yellow belly spot that usually show up in late September or early October. And black drum. I have never seen so many black drum, in the two to three lb range, caught on the same night. One lady caught three black drum that would go three pounds easily. She was fishing with artificial bloodworms and fresh shrimp, but using a bottom rig that had colorful skirts. Skirts that, according to her, "matches my shirt". Well Ken went to the pier house and returned with an identical rig, and although it didn't "match" his shirt, it seems that it makes a difference, because Ken did have a monster on the line, but dropped off on the way up. What a night for us not to have a drop net. Looked to me like the black drum would have went five pounds easily. The north side was diffinately the better side, but fish were coming over the rail on the south side as well. I had a good hit on my penn gear, set up for drum with a fish finder rig and spot head. But when I locked down the spool, the fish pulled loose with the fish head. Andreas' son Mike was the "HERO" of our group, pulling in fish after fish, mullet, pompano, and croaker. Not little ones either. They will make a fine meal. I think Mike is going to give pier fishing lessons every Thursday and I am going to get my reservation in before the class fills up! Thanks to the recent tropical storm that dumped at least twelve inches of rain on Topsail Island in 24 hours, which cooled the sea water down from 84 to 81 degrees. That doesn't seem like much but something happened to turn the fish on, and I can't think of anything else.
So if you if you have been waiting for the fish to come in, seems to me the wait is over. October may have come early this year. Get your stuff and come on down.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention, the puppy drum and flounder were still biting in the tidal creeks and sounds off the ICW before the storm. I don't know what effects Ernesto will have on the waters behind the island. But try using the Berkley Saltwater Gulp Shrimp, thats what they were biting last week. It seems the best way to fish them, is not to. Just let them lay, or move with the current, and hold on.
Just a note, Herrings Outdoor Sports has fresh
bloodworms. Go gettum' while you can! Those spots just love 'em!
For pictures of last nights fishing at Surf City Pier, click on the link below.
Surf City Pier Pictures
Till next time....
September 2, 2006
The picture above, illustrates why I don't surf.
Sorry I haven't posted. I have had a killer, KILLER, migraine. This one has lasted most of two weeks. But, here we go. Tropical storm Ernesto made landfall just south of Topsail Island at Long Beach, putting us in the North East quadrant of the storm, which the hurricane experts say is almost as bad as a direct hit. We had twelve inches of rain in a 24 hour period. Lots of street flooding, some sound and tidal marsh and creek flooding but overall we did OK. There is a lot of debris laying around but I didn't see anything major.
Now to fishing. As I said I haven't fished in over two weeks. But I heard that there are fish to be caught. They aren't jumping in the coolers, but a little patience and persistence will pay off. It is August, the water is HOT, 84 degrees F. but their are some good fish hanging around our beach and sounds. Kings, spanish, blues, sheephead, mullet, spot, spadefish, croakers, trout, and flounder are being caught. Not in large numbers, but they are being caught. And the same folks are not catching everything. Surf anglers are catching some mullets, larger whiting, spots, an occasional flounder, black drum and some puppy drum. On the pier during morning hours, pluggers are getting some spanish and blues. The big rigs on the end of the piers are getting the occasional king and even a record tarpon. Anglers dragging minnows are getting flounder, mostly small, but some keepers. Live shrimp under a float are getting a few speckled trout. So, fishing is not dead, but pretty good for this time of year. And, it's only going to get better as the water cools.
Hopefully I will be back in the water soon. Thanks for the emails from wellwishers. I am feeling some better.
Till next time....