Sept 13, 2020
Gone Fishing … and LOVING IT!
Consistent with generational evolution … I have over the past 8-10 years engaged in sporadic bouts of Shoulda Coulda Lamentations. Accepting with varying degrees of regret that certain “windows of opportunity” have closed for me in this incarnational go-round.
Developing conversational fluency in a foreign language and Being able to play three recognizable songs on some type of musical instrument being two such yet-undeveloped “skill sets”. … Alas, My “Want To” is not strong enough to make the effort with those.
But there has been one nagging “I wish that I …” that I HAVE recently enthusiastically jumped into with both feet and am having A TERRIFIC TIME doing so.
The title of today’s commentary gives it away. For 7-8 years I have lamented not sticking with FISHING thru my life. I did fish as a Youth … as noted in the BLSays Golden Oldie – Pier Fishing With My Dad – that I am reposting here below.
“Pier Fishing” was the saltwater variety. I have no yearning to return to that. But I have committed to return to Freshwater Fishing in the ponds, lake and rivers within 25-30 miles of BLSays World HQ... of which there are dozens to choose from.
I have spent around $150 for “essentials” at a local Bass Pro Shop … and invested numerous hours to watching How To YouTubes on every minute aspect of Fishing. There is No “How To” About Fishing that at least a dozen guys have not produced videos about. … Not just Fishing SuperStars Roland Martin and Bill Dance … but every fishing guide, charter captain, and gimmee-cap wearing dude with a Go Pro camera.
NOTE: Most of the guys in all the How To Fishing videos look like they could be “ranch hands” for John Dutton on Yellowstone. Instead of Stetsons, they wear gimmee-caps from whatever equipment manufacturers they are affiliated with.
I have no interest in “watercraft” … or a bunch of high tech fish-finder gizmos. Just 2-3 rods/reels… a dozen or so assorted “lures” … and the ability to tie a Uni-knot and/or a Palomar knot while wearing oven mitts.
I may bore the heck out of you folks in the weeks to come with my exploits. Blondie has already declared herself “a fishing widow”. I’ve been out a dozen times so far with my enthusiasm increasing each time out.
The Learning Curve is rapid. It only took me two weeks to learn what nobody at Bass Pro Shops will tell you … The #1 Must Have in your tackle box is … A roll of Toilet Paper. … Trust me on that.
NOW… As promised … a oft-requested Trip Down BobLeeSays’ Memory Lane from 2006 … ENJOY!
Pier Fishing with My Dad
(A BLSays Golden Oldie from 2006)
…. The Triple S pier on Atlantic Beach was torn down several weeks ago (NOTE: This is from 2006). The Sportsman’s Pier may suffer a similar fate soon. Pretty soon they will all be gone … victims of escalating real estate prices. If you grew up within 3-4 hours drive of “da beach” in the 60s, chances are you spent part of your youth “pier fishing”. Daddy BobLee and Little BobLee did and those memories came rushing back as I read this latest story of “progress”.
We lived about two hours from Morehead. Straight down Highway 70 past Dover and Cove City, the Tuscarora Fire Tower and the straightest stretch of road I believe I’ve ever seen. Fifteen miles straight as a string. There was no bypass around New Bern back then. The New Bern Fire Station had a bear over its door.
To Havelock pass “the kicking machine” and Dick Parker Motors at Cherry Point … that WWII jet outside the entrance to Cherry Point Marine Air Station was “cool”. Around Cherry Point you started to smell the salt air.
NOTE: Duke Laxers and their Dads probably fly in to remote Manitoba lakes for “muskies”. Me and Dad went to “da beach” in a ’61 Buick Special w/ an AM radio. (Remember this was written in 2006 … the year of The Duke LaCrosse Scandal – AKA The Greatest Journalistic Embarrassent in N&O History)
There was a dog track on the outskirts of Morehead. Yes, it’s name is Morehead City, but we just called it “Morehead”. Rex Restaurant and The DoNut House on the right. You knew you were “da beach” when you passed the marinas with their yachts.
My Grandmother had a beach house at 2709 Evans Street in Morehead right on the Sound about three blocks from the bridge. She would move down on Memorial Day and stay thru Labor Day. No air conditioning in the house but the breeze off the sound made for the best sleeping ever. If Grandmother was in the house, sometimes we would go down on Friday night, otherwise we would leave home real early Saturday morning to catch the tides right. High tide is the best fishing of course.
The Triple S was “our pier”. I’m not sure why but everybody just had “their favorite pier”. One of my pals had a beach house about 100 yards from The Sportsman Pier. Next to Courie’s Villa. That was “his pier”. We tried the Oceana a few times (between the Triple S and Sportsman). The Triple S was the closest to Fort Macon.
I don’t recall what a day pass costs back then. Dad took care of all that. I suspect it was around $5.00. The pier house had a little restaurant that served a good hearty breakfast and burgers and such throughout the day.
We weren’t real serious fishermen. We started out with regular spool reels but graduated to “spinning reels” as technology advanced. My Dad and I shared a tackle box. We had a few lures but mainly we used shrimp on double hook rigs. We bought the fresh shrimp from the man in the pier house. It came in a plastic bag.
When we planned a trip I would practice casting in our back yard a few days prior. I would pick out one of Mom’s azalea bushes and try to drop the plug in front of it.
When I was a very little BobLee I was always afraid I would let go of the rod and it would fly off into the ocean. It never did.
Mainly we caught “spots” … about the size of your hand. They gave a good pull especially if you caught two at a time. Sometimes we caught croakers. In the Fall you caught “skates” which were small sting rays and were basically trash fish. Flounders put up a good fight because of their shape in the water.
When we were using spool reels we always casted overhead and you had to make sure no one was walking behind you. Spool reels would backlash if you weren’t a good caster. Later with “spinning reels” you could flip the bait out by leaning out over the railing and tossing the bait from underneath.
The big excitement came when “the blues were running”. Everyone got out seahawks and mirrolures and bombarded where they thought the school of blues were. Catching “a blue” was a big thrill as even a small blue put up a big fight.
I recall that nobody got mad with each other. Once you established your bench or place along the rail everyone respected “your space”. I wonder if that is still the case? Probably not. Pier civility probably went to hell along with civility in everything else … sigh, sob, sniff.
Way out on the end of the pier was where “the king mackerel guys” hung out. We never tried that. I was never comfortable “way out on the end of the pier”.
As my Dad and I sat on our bench waiting for a bite I’m not sure what we talked about. I think we “just talked”. No great life lessons exchanged … just Dad and Little BobLee “pier fishing”. When the tide was going out there wasn’t much action so we just sorta sat and watched the tip of our rods.
For years I thought Europe was “out there”. One day I looked at a map and realized that Bogue Banks ran east and west and not north and south. It was CUBA that was “out there”. That is still confusing.
We would leave in the late afternoon after the last high tide. Dad drove. I would be tired from being out in the sun all day and would usually fall asleep around New Bern.
Other piers were built down towards Emerald Isle. Thompson Steel Pier and Iron Steamer were two I remember. Every new pier was supposedly over “the best fishing hole” in the area.
Hurricanes hit fishing piers like tornados look for trailer parks. Hazel “The Hurricane to end all hurricanes” wiped out a few of them. They would be rebuilt until recently.
Dad and I also did some fresh water fishing in ponds around our town. Mainly drowning worms but an occasional bream or catfish. Once we went to the stocked pond at Barrus Const Co and caught a big string of crappies and bream. I have a picture of it. Once I caught a 3.5 lb bass. We had it “stuffed”. I still have it. Blondie thinks its gross. It hangs over the door in my inner sanctum. It reminds of a special time with me and my dad.
Dad died during my Junior year at Chapel Hill while I was at Super Bowl II. I left the area and chased corporate rainbows for twenty years. When Grandmother died in the mid 70s “the family” decided to sell the beach house and divide the $$$ rather than squabble over who got it. Being a somewhat dysfunctional bunch, squabbling was a likelihood. Chuck Sledge told me last week that house would probably bring $1.5 million in today’s market … Yikes!
When Kid was old enough we took her to “da beach” and walked out on the piers. She has absolutely no interest in fishing. “Yucky” was her description.
Dad and Little BobLee bonded thru Pier Fishing at “da beach”. Kid and Blondie bond by shopping at “da Mall”.
Memo To Dad: I figure you are “up there” reading these silly musings. Did you think I’d forget “pier fishing”? No way. Thanks, Dad!
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