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September 29, 2008

Monday Surf Fishing Trip

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Hello from Surf City!
My friend Ken and I went surf fishing today south of Jolly Roger Pier in Topsail Beach. Before going to the beach, we stopped at the engineers pier on Banks Channel to try and get bait. We couldn't find any finger mullet even thought we walked toward the inlet a good distance. We headed to the surf with cut shrimp looking for red drum. There was a lot of reds caught Sunday, and we were hoping they were still around. But no luck with the drum. We had a pretty good day though, catching one keeper flounder and a half dozen nice pompano. The blue fish kept us busy most of the morning, and cut my line several times. I can't remember how many we caught, we lost count. It was loads of fun, but none were large enough to fillet. I hooked into what I believe was a red drum. The fish steadily, but not real quickly, pulled line off my real. After a fight of five or more minutes, I lost the fish on the edge of a ditch that was about ten feet from the tide lines. I was fishing with a bottom rig and two number 4 hooks. The rig didn't look "chewed" so I don't think it was a big blue. So we had a pretty good morning of fishing.

But my biggest, and most exciting catch was a HUGE Osprey! As I was reeling in a blue fish to the shore, the bird dived on my blue fish, and tried to take off with it. But the top hook of my bottom rig caught the Osprey in the foot, more precisely a toe (?) right where his huge talons were. "After getting it to the beach, I tried to cover it with a towel, the way I cover a sea gull that gets tangled up in line. The towel over the head will calm a sea gull right down. But not this Osprey! He spread his wings and fought with the towel. OK, a towel over an Osprey's head don't work. Slowly and carefully, I eased down the line with plyers in hand, until I had the hook in the jaws of my plyers. A quick twist, and the hook was out. I backed up, and after a few seconds, that magnificient bird stretched out all five feet of his wings and away it went. What an experience! I have never been that close to a bird of prey. I have no idea why it didn't attack me while I was so close. I could have toughed his head with the huge beak talons open and ready to battle. But the bird just sat there calmly with his wings spread, and his beak open, making little noises that sounded a bit threatening. The Osprey could have shreaded my hands and arms if it had decided to attack me. Glad it didn't. I am hoping the foot won't get infected as the hook was in just past the barb. So not much damage was done to the foot. I was more excited about seeing this fabulous bird so close, than the keeper flounder I fileted and put in the freezer. Feet in the sand, saltwater washing up around my legs and feet. What a day at the beach!

Till next time....
Tight lines!
Johnny

September 27, 2008

Fall Fishing is Here!

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Hello from Surf City!

Fall fishing is here! Pluggers are getting some spanish in the morning, and blues early and late in the day. There are lots of black drum, big Croakers, some small puppy drum, keeper flounder, and yes, spots, still not 2 at a time, but but the time is real close. I have seen lots of yellow butterflys, and I am told that means spots will be here soon. (don't know where that came from, but most locals believe it). The water is dirty, and full of seaweed and trash. The waves have calmed down and the wind has layed down at a bit, and fish are biting. I hear the spots are biting in the ICW near the high rise bridge. Red drum are thick in Banks channel near the inlet, and I hear anglers are tearing the reds up at Lea Island. Bait is plentiful in and near the ICW. There has been some specks caught in the surf, but numbers are real low. Got to get back out there.

The Nor'easter that blew through this week left lots of damage on the beach. At least three feet and as much as six feet of dunes were washed away. Almost all the access steps were damaged, but SC officials are doing a great job getting them back in shape. Things could have been much worse.

Till next time....
Tight lines!
Johnny and Donna

September 24, 2008

North Wind

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Hello from a windy Surf City. Don't come to Topsail fishing for the next couple of days. Winds are expected to be upwards of 35 mph. We have already lost about two feet of beach near the county line.

Till next time....
tight lines!
Johnny

September 22, 2008

Good Ole' Fall Fishing

Well folks, fall is really showing it’s self around southeast North Carolina. With that said fall fishing is picking up too! The mullet run is in full force and the fish know it and are reacting to it. Redfish, Flounder and even a few early speckled trout are chasing the mullet around.

The Redfish have started to show up in and around the local inlets. We are catching Reds in the 24 to over 32 inch range, some days their over the slot some days their in the slot. Most of the Reds around the inlets are hitting mullets on Carolina rigs; using heavier egg sinkers. On some days we have had some luck on Saltwater Assassin Blurp grubs in colors molting and pearl.

When we have been Red fishing around the inlets we are picking up some nice Flounder as well. The Flounder are in the size range of 2 to some over 5 pounds; a right nice bonus to the day of fishing. There again the Flounder are hitting mullets on Carolina rigs and scented grubs. One fish last week went six pounds, one happy little boy that caught that one! We also have gotten some Flounder in the creeks around Wrightsville as well.

There has been a few Trout starting to show up around. Most that we have found are in the creeks and channels running along the drop offs to deeper water. The trout that we have caught are hitting grubs in colors Chart. Diamond and sliver mullet and red jig heads. Hard baits getting the luck are Mirrolures redhead silver body and green back white belly. It won’t be long before the trout will move in around southeast NC, I can’t wait!

The Sheephead are still going strong and should to the end of October. The best fishing lately for the Sheephead has been around bridges, docks and bulk-heads. Fishing in water from six to fifth-teen feet for Sheephead seems to work the best for us. We fish mostly using small Carolina rigs, with forty pound mono leader and small but strong live bait hooks. Baits we are using; fiddler crabs and sand fleas. Check out the October NC sportsman; I have a very good article on Sheephead fishing in the magazine

I have recently tried a new product from Bang scent Inc. It’s called “Texas Tea” and is a spray scent for soft and hard baits. It is a mixture of a few different fish and shrimp oils, great for Redfish and Flounder fishing. Give it a try, so far so good for my fishing trips.

Thanks for reading this report, if you would like to go on a guided trip give me a call 910-233-4139.

Fishing gear we use:

Reds, Trout, Flounder and Sheephead: Reels Pflueger Medalist spinning in sizes 6035 and 6040. Rods: Ugly stick lites 6’6” and 7’ Med & Med-Heavy.

Good Luck,

Captain Jot Owens
www.captainjot.com
910-233-4139

Wrightsville Beach NC Fishing Charters


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September 21, 2008

STATE RECORD 193 lb TARPON!

A new North Carolina state record for Tarpon was set Wednesday, Sept 17 by Malcom Condie, fishing from Sea View Pier. Check out more of the story and see a picture at www.topsailangler.com.

The weekend has been good fishing form Topsail Island's piers, as well as the surf. We have even caught a few more spots. The water is getting cooler, and more spots are starting to show up. The speckled trout bite should be starting up in the surf any time now. Try grubs or live shrimp floated under a cork in the early morning. Anglers fishing Topsail have this week have caught puppy drum, black rum, pompano ,bluefish ,spanish, mullet, spots, and flounder. A king mackerel has been weighed in almost everyday this week at Surf City Pier. Fishing is starting to look better, nights are cooler, days are cloudy, the water is cooling quickly, and it won't be long until I drag out the waders. An angler fishing Lea Island told us that the large blues were so thick at Lea Island one day this week, they were chasing roe mullets up onto the beach. I don't have an offshore or inside report.

Until next time....
Tight lines!
Johnny and Donna



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September 17, 2008

Spots Make an Appearance

Spots are starting to show up on the island. Surf City Pier reports a few Monday and Tuesday. Jolly Roger reports a few both days. No mention of any at Sea View as yet. Some anglers are getting only a couple, and some are getting as many as a couple of dozen spots. There are also a few spanish coming off the piers, larger than last weeks small undersize spanish. The blues are not as plentiful, but are larger. Puppy drum are getting more abundant in the suds and are liking finger mullets. There are also some nice pompano coming in during the daylight hours. Surf anglers are catching a few bigger whiting all up and down the beach, with a few, (very few) keeper flounder mixed in caught on bottom rigs. I haven't talked to anyone fishing lures in the surf, so I don't know if there are any flounder or speckled trout showing up in the surf. I have had a bad summer with my health, and I just haven't felt like going out to the surf to throw any grubs or mirro-lures. When I hear something, I will let you know. Oh, Adolpho caught a nice 35 pound king from Surf City Pier Tuesday, and I heard they caught two kings and a barracuda Monday.
My friend Mike reported on his site that he and his friends caught some bull red drum, I think one was 48 inches, but you better check it out just to make sure. His site is called "Topsail Angler." Check it out. The speckled trout are biting in the creeks towards New River Inlet, and flounder are biting everywhere on the inside. Live shrimp on a carolina rig is producing best, or use live finger mullet, live pinfish, or Berkley Gulp Saltwater baits. For those of you that think pin fish are useless, a huge 10 pounder was caught this week in snows cut (Carolina Beach) on a live pin fish and carolina rig. Don't overlook this plentiful bait! Fall fishing is starting up. So come on down and get you some!

Till next time....
tight lines!
Johnny and Donna

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September 12, 2008

Blues Make a Charge at Topsail

Blues have been biting well from Topsail. All piers are reporting some nice catches, and there have been some nice catches from the surf as well, especially near the inlets. Check out the pictures on Surf City Pier website. Click Here and scroll down. Check out the looks on these kids faces. Isn't this just precious? Remember to take a kid fishing!

Till next time....
Tight lines!
Johnny and Donna

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September 10, 2008

Cape Fear River Red Fishing




I took Jeremy Hyatt inshore fishing on Sept.9,2008,from Leicester,N.C. he visits the Topsail Beach every year on vacation,I think he is hooked on catching Red Drum in the Cape Fear River
Tropical storm Hanna has passed the Cape Fear Region now,it has not affected the Red Fish bite at all. Fish are biting well on live bait and fresh cut bait on Carolina rigs.

If you are visiting the Topsail Beach area it is just a short drive to fish with the Cape Fear Guide out of Carolina Beach,N.C.
Capt.Mike Dennis
www.capefear-guide.com
910-619-0928

September 8, 2008

Largemouth Bass and Red Drum Fishing

email question from blog
[quote]
Johnny,
Really the only thing I have done in the surf is double bottom rig. I am a
bass tournament guy and have become interested in surf with what little I
have been fortunate to do. I have been red fishing in Fl. WOW. Those
critters fight. I do not want to bother you but if you could tell me more
about how to catch the bigger fish along with pompano( I hear they are
delicious). I guess the rigs and what kind of rod setup I need. Also do we
need to look below Jolly Roger or does this matter.
[end quote]

Hi Wayne, I don't qualify myself as an expert on any kind of fishing. I
only relay what has worked for me, or more specifically, what is
working "now." I was also a die hard largemouth angler (catch and
release only) for years before moving to the coast. Fishing the ocean
and backwaters is like fishing an extremely large lake. What worked
yesterday or last week, it NOT necessarily what is working this week. With that said.....

Pompano in the surf, when a school comes through your area, will bite just about anything from bloodworms, shrimp, crab parts, cut fish, but they absolutely love sand fleas, especially the big ones. These large pompano seem to hang out on the edge of the sand bars, not in the near shore surf like their smaller brothers and sisters do. Bait up with a number 4 hook on a plain bottom rig, (no bling) with large sand fleas, and try to hit the edge of the sand bar.

Red drum on the inside, boat fishing
I have found that fishing for red drum is a lot like fishing for largemouth bass. They like structure. You find their food source and you will likely find them. The only thing that is different, it tides. Reds seem to move from place to place with the tides. I have had the most luck around docks, piers, and bridges on outgoing tides. On incoming tides, I fish grass lines, especially grass lines near oyster beds. Reds love oysters, and crabs, and you will most always find crabs near oyster beds. The incoming tides will flush sea life out of the marsh grass and the reds will be there waiting. Reds like most of the same baits as largemough bass. Spinner baits, topwater baits, shallow diving crank baits, jigs and grubs, even plastic worms. But my favorite alround bait, my go to bait when the bite is tough is Berkley Gulp Saltwater, 4 inch Shrimp or Swimming Mullet. Match the color to the water, just like bass fishing. Bright colors on sunny days, dark colors on overcast days. When I can see the reds in the shallows, and they are spooked easily and just won't bite anything, stealth is the key. I use the wind to drift near or over the schools. I bait with light line, with a 12 lb good quality shock leader (oyster beds will wreck a leader) a weedless hook and NO WEIGHT. Position your boat for the drift, cast out your bait, and drift quietly over the fish. And HOLD ON!
Most of the above applies to flounder also, except the flounder much prefer live bait, not so much the spinners or cranks, but they will bite any of the Berkley Gulp Saltwater baits when fish on a carolina rig.


A bit about surf fishing.

The inlets, Yes, a trip to the inlets will almost always be worth the trip. But, if you are walking in, it's a long walk, take your snacks, lots of water, (not soft drinks or beer) watch out for dehydration. Rescue is called to the inlets every year for someone who is dehydrated and has heat problems. (me included).
There are fish all up and down the beach. Just like bass, most surf fish like structure. Surf structure may be just an uneven bottom, a shallow hole washed by the tide, old pier pilings, anything different from the surrounding areas. Bait will wash into these holes, and where the bait is, the fish will be. The best ways to find these holes is walk the area you will be fishing at low tide. Then go back as the tide comes in. Some anglers have a favorite time to fish. And so do I. I love to fish in the ocean when the water is moving. lol, really the only time I don't like to fish, is dead low tide, and there is even an exception to that rule. In the late fall, when the water is too cold to wade without waders, I like to wade to the sandbar at low tide and throw a jig and gulp saltwater for flounder and speckled trout. The water has to be relatively calm for this, but it can be productive. Starting in middle October, I start casting for specks. Unlike a lot of folks, I use light line when surf fishing. I use 12 lb test line, and tie about a 20 lb test 8 ft long shock leader on my line. This cuts down on line drift caused by wind and surf, and I don't loose many fish due to the smaller diameter and tensil strength of the line. My favorite all around bait for surf fishing is sand fleas, I have caught everything on fleas, except for flounder and blues, and I have heard of these biting fleas. And fleas are free with a little sweat. My biggest surf caught fish, a 44 inch red drum, was caught at Topsail Beach, Surf City city limits on a sand flea and 12 lb test line. It took thirty five minutes to land the beauty. All of a sudden, I am out of ideas, so if you have any more questions, just email, and I will answer them. I am going to post this answer and question, but I will not post your email. Thanks again for reading my blog, and as always....
Until next time....
Tight lines!
Johnny and Donna





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Post Hanna: First Signs of Life

Fish are starting to show up, in small numbers at the area piers. Small mullets, black drum, pompano and blues on bottom rigs. The water is still too muddy for spanish or blues on gotchas or diamond jigs. Surf City Pier reported one small puppy drum, had to be released.

NO SPOTS YET. WATER TEMP IS ABOUT 84*. NEEDS TO COOL DOWN SOME MORE. WE NEED THOSE NORTH AND NORTH EAST WINDS. WATCH FOR THE YELLOW BUTTERFLYS COMING OFF THE OCEAN. THE SPOT WILL BE CLOSE BEHIND.

There is plenty of bait fish in the water. It is one school after another near the piers. And in the surf, they are right at your feet. You could probably net some without getting wet with a slightly modified cast net. I have seen big schools of roe mullet in the surf, a bit past the breakers, too far to net from the surf. I have talked to several surf anglers and didn't get a good report from anyone. I have not talked to anyone fishing the inside, or the inlets. That's all I have for now.
Till next time....
Tight lines!
Johnny

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September 7, 2008

Good Fishing and Hanna is GONE!

I hope everybody made through Hanna ok. I’m very glad it was not a major storm, and it looks likes Ike is going to the Gulf. Good for us in the Carolina; not so good for the Gulf. Our hopes and preys are with the Gulf States. Fishing was good until we stopped for the passing of Hanna. I’m sure it will pick right back up too!

The Spanish mackerel have still been biting good to great on most days, with some small keeper kings as well. Most of the Spanish are biting Clark spoons trolled behind #1 planner’s. The Clark spoons that are working the best for us are sizes; 00 and 0 in plan silver and pink flash. When the Spanish are on top feeding and jumping, Maria jig spoons have been the trick. The colors that seem to be working are pink, green and blue in sizes seven & fourteen gram. The Spanish are eating very small bait fish, with this happening I have gone to smaller lures. This has helped greatly in the good numbers of Spanish we have caught.

The King mackerel have also showed up this last week, they are not real big but a lot of fun on light tackle! The kings are also biting the Yo-Zuri’s. The colors that are working the best have been Pink and Clown. We are trolling the crystal minnows two to three knots. The good thing about trolling this Yo-Zuri is you can use light tackle which makes it a lot of fun.

Sheephead are still biting good, we have caught some real nice Sheephead this year. We’ve had two fish over ten pounds, so much fun on light tackle. They are so good to eat as well! The best fishing lately for us has been around bridges, docks and bulk-heads. Fishing in water from six to fifth-teen feet for Sheephead seems to work the best for us. We fish mostly using small Carolina rigs, with forty pound mono leader and small but strong live bait hooks. Baits we are using; fiddler crabs and sand fleas have worked just fine. Give it a shot, it takes time but you’ll get one; Hold-on”!

The fishing should get better as the water clears up from Hanna’s hit and run. Get out there and do some fishing, fall fishing should be just around the corner. Thanks for reading this report, and good luck fishing. If you would like to go fishing give me call!

Fishing Gear we use:

Sheephead, King and Spanish mackerel: Reels Pflueger Medalist spinning in sizes 6035 and 6040. Rods: Ugly stick lites 6’6” and 7’ Med & Med-Heavy

Captain Jot Owens
www.captainjot.com
910-233-4139





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Hanna Chases Fish Away!

If you were one of the folks that thought fishing couldn't get any worse, and yea, there were a few of you, well you were wrong. Even the crabs now have lockjaw. There is nothing biting anywhere. At least nothing that I can hear about. I have called everyone I know, and here is what I have uncovered. Nothin'! Nothin from the piers. Nothin from the surf. Nothin from the sound or waterways. I couldn't find out anything from the New River or offshore, but it seems to me, if something was going on out there, there would at least be some chatter about it. Maybe it will pick up in a day or so.
Till then....
Tight lines!
Cleaning up sand from Hanna!
Johnny and Donna

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September 6, 2008

TS Hanna Now a Memory For Topsail Area

We made it through TS Hanna. A quick walk to the beach this morning revealed a scene that I had prayed for throughout the night. No erosion, at least in the area where we live. One of the neighbors on the ocean front lost the rail from his deck, but that's the only damage I observed. We lost power for only a short time, as did some other Topsail Island residents. The outages were not city wide but spotty, and all power is back on now. Rainfall was not as much as expected, there was some street flooding, but all streets are ok. The fishing piers sustained no damage that I am aware of.

Our neighbors to the South didn't fare as well as us. This is what I have been able to gather up to now.
Bald Head Island: The island was still without power at 9:30 a.m. Shingle damage was reported.

Boiling Spring Lakes: There were some trees and power lines down, but no major damage.

Calabash: There was some damage to signs, and there were fallen trees in some areas.

Caswell Beach: The door of the Oak Island Lighthouse blew out, damage to a building in town was reported.

Holden Beach: There was minor property damage, slight erosion and scattered outages. The bridge has reopened.

Oak Island: There was some overwash reported on the beach.

Ocean Isle Beach: There was some overwash at the east end of the island.

Southport: There were some fallen trees and scattered debris.

Sunset Beach: There was some minor damages to homes and some beach erosion. The bridge has reopened.

It appears that Ike and Josephine may not threaten the Topsail area, so we are hopeful that we will not have to repeat last night this year. But we do live in a hurricane area, and this is what we do if we want to live here. We have to accept the bad to have the good. We pray that there is no further loss of life from this storm or others behind it.

I have heard that fishing is good behind a storm. I have heard that fishing is bad behind a storm. The only thing I am sure of is if you like seaweed, you can pull up plenty of it after a hurricane, or a TS or a Nor'Easter passes through. So I don't know what to tell you about the prospect of fishing for the rest of the week. I will let you know as I start to get reports.

Till next time....
Thankful that we weathered the storm!
Johnny and Donna

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September 5, 2008

TS Hanna 11 PM update

Donna and I just got back from a journey beyond the dunes. We walked the block from our apartment to the ocean, in the driving rain and 35 mph wind. We crossed over the dunes at the public access steps, and were almost blew back down the steps. We were surprised to see the waves stopping before they reached the dunes. High tide is scheduled at 12:22AM, and with landfall anticipated at between two and three AM, we may have dodged the proverbial bullet. We saw no one else silly enough to be out in the driving rain. We just now heard that Holly Ridge has joined Onslow County in implimenting a curfew until dawn. As of 11 PM Friday, Surf City and Pender County do not have a curfew in place. At this time, we are experiencing rain bands along with strong winds with periods of calm and light rain.

Here is the 11PM update per Surf City website:


Tropical Storm Hanna 11:00 P.M. Update
Friday Evening

The Town of Surf City and Pender County do not have a curfew at this time.

Tropical Storm Hanna continues to approach Surf City. The Hurricane Center expects Hanna to remain a Tropical Storm with winds reaching 70 mph.

Landfall is expected in the vicinity of the mouth of the Cape Fear River.

Surf City is expecting gale winds, up to 39 mph to begin today around 6:30 p.m. Land fall and Tropical winds, 40 mph up to 70 mph are expected around 3:00 a.m. Saturday morning. Current projections show Hanna past Surf City early afternoon on Saturday.

Rain fall accumulations are expected to be between 3 to 7 inches.

Ok, That's it for now. We are still dry, and hoping to stay that way.
Till next time....
Tight lines!
Johnny and Donna


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Hanna Update 10:10 pm

Donna and I decided to ride out Hanna in our apartment in Surf City on Topsail Island. We are not expecting to much, tropical storm force winds and rain, a little storm surge or at most a cat one hurricane. My only worry, and this is a small one, our apartment is on the ground floor, so if there is any overwash of the dunes, we will probably be moping water. Both bridges will be closed once the winds get up to tropical speed, so a late exit will be impossible. We are here till morning. I will post when I get another chance, as long as we have power.

We walked over to the ocean about 6 pm. Water was high, but not up to the dunes. Waves are really big, coming in sets of 4 or 5 big waves, then 4 or 5 smaller ones. Note: we have seen much larger waves, with no storm looming.

The latest info we have on TS Hanna: 8pm update:
Tropical Storm Hanna continues to approach Surf City. The Hurricane Center expects Hanna to remain a Tropical Storm with winds reaching 70 mph.

Landfall is expected in the vicinity of the mouth of the Cape Fear River.

Surf City is expecting gale winds, up to 39 mph to begin today around 6:30 p.m. Land fall and Tropical winds, 40 mph up to 70 mph are expected around 3:00 a.m. Saturday morning. Current projections show Hanna past Surf City early afternoon on Saturday.

Rain fall accumulations are expected to be between 3 to 7 inches.

I wonder ....... Will puppy drum bite during a tropical blow?

Till next time....
Tight lines!
Still dry for now,
Johnny and Donna


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September 4, 2008

Approaching Hurricane Hanna Doesn't Stop Fishing!

Hello from Surf City! Well, much to our suprise, the water was not rough today. There were some big waves, but not a lot of chop as I had expected. A big king, I think 24 lbs. was caught at Surf City Pier today, along with some small spanish and blues on gotcha plugs. My fishing bud Glen caught a small sheepshead, but not much else. Glen is a top notch sheepshead angler, and if they are in the water, Glen will pull 'em out. He says they aren't as plentiful as they were last year, or even earlier this year. He has caught some nice ones in early summer. If you are planning to be here this weekend, I might think about it. Hanna will be making landfall somewhere near, from Charleston to Jacksonville, (as of midnight) and although she isn't a huge or powerful storm, she will drop some water, and blow around a little sand. We aren't planning to leave the island unless we are ask to by the town of Surf City officials, then we will just go to a friends home in Holly Ridge. The storm that is worrying most of us is Ike. Ike is right behind Hanna, expected to follow much the same route, and he is already a cat 2 storm. We are looking for Ike the first of next week. I just have a cautious feeling about Ike. We am going to move Donna's Saturn off the beach, and pack the blazer, put the furniture up on blocks, and get sandbags ready for the doors, just in case ........ but lets hope I am just being a "worry wort."

Till next time.... (which I hope will be real soon! LOL!)
Tight lines, and stay dry!
Johnny and Donna

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