Last week, with off-season beach driving open on many of our local beaches, I offered some tips to avoid the inevitable, at least to avoid getting stuck as the result of avoidable errors and bad judgement. I covered “Things to now before you go” and “Going”. This week, how about “Stopping” and options when “IT” happens.
First of all, don't hit the brakes but let your car coast to a stop. Gravity and friction are your friends in stopping. And when you are going to be stopping, plan ahead. You should choose the time and place to stop, start and turn.
Remember, the next thing you will want to do is GO. Stop on a down slope where possible, Keep gravity on your side. Pick out a down slope with the firmest sand you can find. After you stop, kick out the sand that piles up, especially ahead of the front tires. Know thy tides and watch the time. The beach shrinks quickly on the rising tide from hard sand to soft sand.
But when “IT” does happen, do not under any circumstance put your pedal to the metal, throwing sand and bottoming out on your undercarriage. Instead, dig out before you bottom out. Move sand away from the tires and smooth out tire ruts. Give yourself enough room to find mo(mentum) again. If going forward fails, try backing out. Sand is flatter where you were than where you are going. And oh, by the way, lower tire pressure now if you haven't already, with 18 to 20 pounds tire pressure giving you way more traction.
Now we’re getting serious. It may be time to find a good Samaritan 4 x 4 with a tow strap or chain. There are often fellow anglers with appropriate heavy-duty gear willing to pull you out. Pushing helps, but remember, it's bad form to run over the pusher or bury them in sand.
Sometimes, more “IT” happens! How does changing a flat tire on something not quite unlike grits sound? This is where your wooden board comes into play as support for your car jack. This is not an uncommon problem, especially during hurricane season when nail-laden debris can litter the beach. And make sure you carry a “real” spare tire, not one of those cartoon donuts. They will not cut it on the beach. As you drive, also be aware of other possible hazards like beach-going bathers, still active turtle nests and those holes in the sand that look like someone dug with their beach backhoe.
When all else fails, it’s time to call the tow truck. Does your local garage do beach calls ($$$.00)? How about your local bulldozer? Yes, we have seen a bulldozer rescue in recent memory…I have the photos (thanks Bil G.).
Finally, remember the local speed limit is 20 mph. Drive responsibly, or we may lose the privilege. And please let common sense and common courtesy rule. Well, good luck on the beach, and may your tires find only the firmest of sand.
Fall is in the air, and fish are starting to respond.
This past weekend, there was a successful surf fishing tournament out of Freeman’s Bait and Tackle on the Atlantic Beach causeway. I mention this because from the catches weighed in, we can get a feel for the surf fishing. The tourney was held from the Fort Macon rock jetty to what is left of the pier at the Double Tree (formerly Sheraton) Hotel.
So how did it go?
Best catches were the bluefish, many in the 4- to 5-pound range, and how about sea mullet to 2 pounds? As far as the drum, there were good numbers of slot black drum but a disappointing number of red drum. Best reports of red drum catches? Ocracoke appears in blitz mode. And there are reports of above-slot fish in the White Oak River.
Other incidental tourney catches include scattered spots and croakers, some medium-sized pompano and a decent number of Spanish up to 2 pounds and over.
Interestingly, if you go west along Bogue Banks to The Point area of Emerald Isle, the main catches are blues, some big, but not a lot of other fish.
In the area around Bogue Inlet Pier and the main ocean access areas of Emerald Isle, there are scattered spots, sea mullet and pompano, along with the blues.
Another fall visitor is the speedy false albacore, and there are fish from the beach on out to 10 miles. Fish have also been landed from the surf and both Oceanana and Bogue Inlet piers. Speckled trout in the surf remain very scattered.
I mentioned spots, and no, I haven’t seen the “spot yachts” stacked up in the Intracoastal yet, but it may not be far away. The fish are moving out of the backwaters into the surf as they ready for spawning season. There are good catches reported in the Morehead City Turning Basin and around Beaufort Inlet and some showing at the piers too. So, soon!
As we wait for the surf speckled trout season to get into high gear, the inside catches remain strong.
And did ya hear about the 7.76-pound speck landed from The Haystacks on a topwater Zara Spook? It doesn’t get any better that that. Wow!
I checked out the local creeks over the weekend, and but for the rain, would have limited out throwing a Betts Halo Shrimp along the edges of the schools of abundant peanut menhaden. Fish weren’t big but were still very frisky 15- to 16-inchers.
Now for the piers:
Oceanana Pier had a good week, releasing a 25-pound red, along with catches of blues to 4 pounds, Spanish, pompano and scattered spots.
Bogue Inlet Pier had a great king week with nine weighed in up to 32 pounds. Of course, this week is their annual king mackerel tournament. I hope they do as well. There are also big Spanish, blues, slot reds, small pompano and sea mullet, mostly small. And there has been a real bluefish blitz with most fish pushing 5 pounds.
Seaview Pier also reports several kings last week, along with a good spot bite, pompano, mullet red and black drum.
Surf City reports spots, pompano, Spanish and blues, but no kings.
Finally, Jolly Roger Pier reports muddy water, some Spanish, mullet and spots.
Offshore, the wahoo bite is back on as you now can get there from here.
There are also mahi and blackfin tuna.
It was fun to post a positive report this week. It can only get better.
So be kind, drive the beach safely, catch fish, and enjoy our lovely this fall beaches.
2) "Ask Dr. Bogus" is on the radio every Monday at 7:30 a.m. WTKF 107.1 FM and 1240 AM. The show is also replayed on Sunday morning at 6 a.m. Callers may reach me at 800-818-2255.
3) I’m located at 118 Conch Ct. in Sea Dunes, just off Coast Guard Road, Emerald Isle, NC 28594. The mailing address is P.O. Box 5225, Emerald Isle, NC 28594. Don’t forget a gift certificate for your favorite angler for fishing lessons or my totally Bogus Fishing Report subscription. Please stop by at any time and say “Hi” or call 252-354-4905.