08/20/06 — How was fishing? It all depends

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How was fishing? It all depends

By Gene Price
Published in Sports on August 20, 2006 2:21 AM

Thanks to my 5-year-old grandson Tucker, I don't have to look the other way when some one asks, "How was fishing at Beaufort?"

My proud and prompt response can be: "My youngest grandson caught his first fish!"

No matter that it was a pinfish reeled in from the stern of my boat tied to the dock. It was so impressive the event brought his mother Karen running from the house with the camera.

This was followed by the usual viewing of the fish swimming around in a five-gallon bucket. "Want to release it,Tucker?"

The response was negative.

"I want it for supper!"

That was in keeping with family tradition. Granddaughter Sarah, now an aeronautical engineer with General Electric, spent many of her childhood and teenager hours at my camp on Goose Creek Island. The rule was, what we caught -- or killed -- we ate!

And that included everything from turtles and snakes to muskrats.

Catching "one fish" can be like trying to eat "one peanut." It sets off an urge that can last a lifetime.

The following day, Tucker was rearing to go -- this time "out" on the boat rather than fishing from it at dockside. So we fished in Gallants Channel, just north of the Beaufort bridge. The croakers were little but ravenous. Catch and release? Not when you're 5 years old, thank you.

And the highlight was catching a two-foot long shark!

And more sharks!

Paul Garrison and I were bent on feeding our vacationing families with Spanish mackerel and bluefish last week. On two days of hard fishing, we put one blue in the boat -- that one bottom fishing. We neither caught a Spanish nor saw anybody else put one in the boat.

We did hear that folks who had been fishing two or three miles out in the ship channel had good luck on Spanish mackerel, but we did our fishing inside or along the shore outside.

We "went to the bottom" in the channel south of the east end of Taylor's Creek and I caught 11 sand sharks in about an hour! They hit cut shrimp and squid. Interestingly, not a one struck Paul's lines that offered the same bait.

He finally came back and sat beside me and fished in the same "hole."

That did it.

Neither one of us had another bite!

That's why I elected to start fishing with my 5-year-old grandson.


One encouraging aspect of the recent time at Beaufort: There seemed to be more mullets -- "jumping" and "cigar" mullets.

I feared for a time that commercial fishermen from out of state had wiped them out after their own states had banned inshore netting operations.

A friend of mine said she has had some mullets almost jump in her boat while kayaking on the creek. And I observed some jumping near our dock.

New 'game wardens'

Congratulations are in order for the 10 recent graduates of the N.C. Wildlife Enforcement Officers Academy. They included one female officer, Jennifer Ann Stein of Wake Forest.

The graduates are to be congratulated not only for their completing the rigorous, 19-week course but for having been selected for it.

Some 600 young men and women usually apply for the academy. Of these, only 14 are chosen. It isn't easy. They must pass stringent physical tests, psychological analysis and background checks that include everything from interviews with past employers and fellow workers to talks with friends, families, teachers, preachers, bankers -- and girlfriends!

The Wildlife Officers Academy is unique in its demands. Consequently, even veteran officers from other agencies must go through the selection process and the school before becoming "game wardens."

The curriculum includes firearms qualification, pursuit driving, swimming, defensive tactics, communication skills -- and demonstrating a thorough understanding of natural resources, including fish and game species.

After graduation, they are sent to work with officers in the field for six months before being given "permanent" assignments.

As a commissioner, I sometimes am contacted by young people wanting to become wildlife officers. I always caution them about the demands of the school and let them know that it is no disgrace not to be accepted. But I also tell them the commission wants and needs dedicated, outstanding people to serve as officers.

Specific information is available by calling (919) 707-0101.

Hunting opportunities

Interested in waterfowl hunting from the Outer Banks?

Permits for putting up temporary duck blinds along the Cape Lookout National Seashore will be available at the Harkers Island Visitors Center beginning Sept. 6.

Hunters will be allowed to have blinds there during the waterfowl season but must remove them by the end of March. There is no charge for the permits.

To get the permits, applicants must have North Carolina hunting licenses and state and federal duck stamps. They also must have picture identifications, such as drivers' licenses.

Information: (252) 728-2250.