04/09/06 — Outdoors Ñ An appropriate honor for Simpson

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Outdoors Ñ An appropriate honor for Simpson

By Gene Price
Published in Sports on April 9, 2006 2:07 AM

Bob Simpson was inducted into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine last week at the Maritime Museum in Beaufort. It was an impressive ceremony.

In a letter to the editor of the Carteret Times News, I had commented that Bob Simpson's induction "did honor to the Order." I stand by that observation.

Bob is an author, outdoors writer for the News & Observer and longtime skipper of the vintage little charter fishing boat Sylvia.

There were some fine and fitting accolades for Bob -- along with gigs from old fishing and boating buddies.

But master of ceremonies Gene Huntsman put Bob Simpson's life most eloquently in perspective: "Empires crumble. Monuments fall ... but works of the poet survive." He described Simpson as being one whose writing of the outdoors captures the philosophies of the times and points to where we should be going.

The story was told that when the power company sent a maintenance crew to cut out a huge old oak on Simpson' property because it was seen as a threat to the power line, Bob raised his arms in objection.

He was advised that he had a choice -- old oak or a home without electricity.

"Take out the power line," ordered Simpson. The oak and the power line are still there.

Huntsman echoed Bob Simpson's philosophy: "Life without beautify is life not worth living."


Stripers have arrived

Fishing for striped bass should be hitting its stride this weekend on the Roanoke River. And shad fishing for hickories and whites is still good there, according to Wildlife Commission reports. The striper season runs until the end of the month.

Angler using cut bait and minnows began making good catches of stripers in the Williamston area last weekend after the water temperatures rose into the 60s.

Catches have been improving on up the river. Yellow and white bucktail jigs and spoons and rattling crank baits are proving effective.

Weldon is among the most popular launching areaas for anglers, but many put off at the Highway 258 bridge between Rich Square and Scotland Neck and fish up and downstream from there.

At the coast

Nice sea mullets and small gray trout are being taken in the turning basin at Morehead City and Beaufort.

Timing, patience and persistence can be important -- as always -- with fishing (or hunting or whatever.)

Paul Garrison and I caught some nice mullets drifting between the no wake marker and Fort Macon one afternoon.

One fellow said he had caught "a lot of gray trout" off the west end of the state port docks, but they all were small. Drifting off the east end of the docks, I caught two trout at one time, byut only one was a keeper.

Late Thursday afternoon, Paul and I anchored in the basic and had excellent luck catching sea mullet. They were hitting some not-so-new shrimp. Small gray trout were also there.

During relatively slack tide seems most productive. An hour or so either way, either tide.

There have been no reports of the early blues. And I have seen no bird activity over the areas where I usually catch mine. But give them a couple of more weeks!

Research overview

The public will have an opportunity to be updated on fisheries research projects on the Roanoke River Thursday at a meeting near Plymouth. The session will be held at 7 p.m. at the Vernon James Center east of Plymouth.

Topics include management of striped bass, recovery of largemouth bass following Hurricane Isabel and American shad restoration.

The Vernon James Center can be reached by taking U.S. 64 East one mile past the stoplight at N.C. 45. Take a left on N.C. 32. Follow 32 for one mile and turn right on Research Station Road.

For information: (919) 707-0220.