Some Greensboro anglers have complained about bad fishing after recent visits to the North Carolina coast for surf fishing.
Don't count N.S. ``Steve' Whitt among those.He recently returned from his most successful trip to the Outer Banks since 1984. The only difference in his good 1984 fishing and the recent fishing is the species caught by this long-time angler who takes his fishing in fresh water as well as along the coast.
Trout were plentiful during seven of his eight days of fishing from Frisco down through Hatteras Village. High winds and heavy rains prevented Steve, his brother Phillip ``Bo' Whitt of Cary and their friend, R.C. ``Charley' Cromer of High Point. The trio also caught several puppy drum each day.
``The trout fishing was the best I have ever seen down there,' Steve said. ``It was just fantastic. We caught 50 trout the first day, and we caught 92 the last day. We brought home two 84-quart coolers filled with fillets of trout and puppy drum. Some of the people told us that our catches were the best they had seen down there this year.'
For years, Steve considered the flounder his primary quarry on his trips to the coast. He had a great flounder fishing trip that year, but said the flounder fishing has declined in that section of the Outer Banks.
Since 1984, he has enjoyed excellent fishing for bluefish, but he doesn't enjoy catching the blues as much as the trout, flounder and puppy drum. He considers these three much better table fare than the blues.
Steve and his partners did a lot of scouting early in the morning of the first day of the recent trip. Dirty water was visible in most places, but they found a few areas near Frisco that they agreed should hold some trout. They were right, and before that day ended, they had caught more than four dozen trout weighing between 3 pounds and 6 1/2 pounds.
``And more of them weighed 4 pounds than 3 pounds,' said Steve. ``They were really nice trout, and we also caught three puppy drum that weighed about 3 pounds to 5 pounds. We caught a few drum every day.'
The trio fished several areas along that stretch of the Outer Banks, and while they caught fish in other sections, the best fishing came from the spots near Frisco. The anglers particularly enjoyed this area because there were no crowds such as those that often are found casting shoulder-to-shoulder near the point of Hatteras.
It doesn't take too long for word to get out that anglers are having good luck, and Steve wasn't too surprised that people at the Red Drum Tackle Shop in Buxton knew about the catches when he, Bo and Charley entered the shop at the end of the day.
``A fellow had been fishing pretty close to me, and I was having a real good day, and he wasn't catching anything,' said Steve. ``I saw another couple fishing near us, and they caught four fish. The other fellow didn't catch a thing, and he came over to look at my tackle and lure to see what I was doing differently.
``I figured he just didn't know anything about surf fishing. I was surprised when the lady at the Red Drum told me that I was driving that other fisherman up the wall by catching trout when he wasn't catching any. She said he was a local man and had the reputation of being one of the better trout fishermen around there.'
Steve and his fishing partners used just two lures during their stay on the Outer Banks. The biggest producer was a Mann's lead-head jig with a 4-inch Mr. Twister green grub and the 5211 Mirrorlure, red head with white body. He was a bit surprised the the puppy drum hit the grubs, saying they weren't even fishing for drum.
The anglers used light rods and reels and 10-pound test line, equipment a bit lighter than that used by many surf fishermen. His favorite rod for this type fishing is a 7-footer designed for use with open-faced spinning reel.
He points out that some of the anglers fishing the surf with heavier tackle often are seeking the larger channel bass that are found along the Outer Banks during late fall and winter.
Steve began fishing the North Carolina coast as a youngster spending summer vacation with his family at Morehead City. That fishing for the most part was the pier variety, but there usually was one trip each year to that area for offshore trolling with his father and brothers.
``And I did a lot of fishing in ponds, lakes and little creeks around Greensboro, the same kind of fishing all kids do,' Steve said. ``Kids fished a whole lot back then.'