Away Down South in Dixie ... Buxton, NC 3/4 - 3/6
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 21

Thread: Away Down South in Dixie ... Buxton, NC 3/4 - 3/6

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,153

    Post

    Crisp blue skies illuminated by stark winter sun reinforced the weatherman's notion that Saturday would dawn clear and cold. Stiff NW winds (25-30 and gusting higher) marked the swift passing of a moderate cold front across the Mid-Atlantic region. Air temperatures hovered in the low 30s, unseasonably chilly in this mild winter that we've had. Dismayed by the eleventh hour bailout of my intended fishing buddy, I fired up the Ford Explorer, pre-loaded with fuel, waders, and enough plastic baits to fuel a big-rig, and pointed her south.

    Traffic on I-64 moved quickly during the 8 O'Clock hour as I closed on the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. The SUV swayed in the blustery conditions and the plethora of American cotton snapped in the hard blow. Undaunted, I switched the XM off and turned the Charlie Daniels CD up as I approached the tunnel entrance. Emerging in the middle of the James River, brown brackish spray coated my right-side with an ugly mung, as the estuary appeared like some barista's worst nightmare.

    Surprisingly, a number of SUVs and trucks carrying rods, coolers, and beach gear steamed northbound in opposing traffic. NWS Morehead City had predicted a 36 hour window Saturday night into Monday morning in which light SW winds would prevail, bringing sunshine, warmth, and clean surf. Surfline.com bemoaned the lack of wind-chop and swell and the surf cams supported their lament.

    Crossing the Currituck Sound into Dare County, the Stars and Stripes continued to rattle out its staccato rhythm against taut halyards. Johnny Cash reinforced the concept with his "Get Rhythm." Rather than facing a dirty swashzone at the Point at Buxton, I called an audible and stopped for lunch and some exploring in Manteo (I highly recommend Roanoke Island Festival Park for the History-Channel-afflicted set - the historic intepretation of the Lost Colony beats Jamestown and will compliment the enjoyment of the movie "The New World").

    With the wind still pushing hard from the NW, I headed back to NC Highway 12 and my final destination. Check out Ocracoke's "Molasses Creek," who combine their own songs and covers of folk classics with a very cool local sound on their albums. They provided the soundtrack for that drive.

    Arriving at Red Drum Bait and Tackle in Buxton, the helpful crew reconfirmed the incessant reports on their website (www.reddrumtackle.com) and our conversation was interrupted by a local stopping to announce a non-stop puppy drum bite "down th'point." Deflating my tires as fast as I could (18 psi for this trip), I jumped my portly frame into my husky-sized waders and headed off. The guys had just come out of the water when I completed the four-plus mile drive to Cape Point. They commented that the fish bit well during the last three hours of the outgoing and that they would be back the next afternoon. Rather than jumping into the frothing surf alone (more on that later), I opted to linger and chat with some of the local young guns. Hanging out for a few minutes, I was invited to enjoy quite a few oysters roasted over an open fire that occupied my evening until the imminent showing of the greatest rivalry in sports, Duke vs. UNC in men's hoops.

    I recommend the Sandbar in Buxton (just south of the school on the sound-side) for good food and drink. It's a smoker's haven (fair warning). They have all-new flat screen TVs and all the sports packages. The menu is good local seafood mixed with awesome bar grub and the prices are reasonable. Watch out for the really drunk Mexicans that try to bum rides home, though. I needed some Allman Bros. to get me ready for bed.

    Although the team in better (and darker) blue lost, I found comfortable lodging in clean and afforable room at the Lighthouse View motel ( http://www.lighthouseview.com ). They offer cozy beds with great heat / AC, good cable TV, nice showers, free ice, and a big fish cleaning station, all but 300 yards from the park entrance. $50 / night! There are a few places for $40 / night for the next month but I'm really happy with my choice.

    Saturday Recap: 1 History Museum, 1 Tackle Shop, 18 roasted oysters, 222 miles driven, Duke lost, warm bed.

    Awaking the next morning, I started out at the jetties near the old lighthouse site, where surfers waited longingly as the incoming tide surged against the unrelenting West wind. After fifty casts and rising frustration, I found a cup of coffee and headed to Ocracoke to wait out the breeze. For those who have not been, Ocracoke Island remains relatively unspoiled and isolated from the inanity of the modern-day hustle and bustle. Highway 12 in Ocracoke really demands some high-powered bluegrass, so the Steep Canyon Rangers got me down the island and onto the beach in no time.

    Finding a tasty lunch at the local market, I headed for the south beach to check out the infamous sand bars that insulated the lairs of the 16h, 17th and 18th centuries' greatest sea-dogs, including stops by Drake, Hawkins, and Teach.

    Instead of pirates, I found porpoises. These porpoises had staked out two of the prettiest holes that I've ever seen on a beach. Protected from the wind by tall natural dunes and acres of maritime forest, the shallow littoral environment resembled a recently poured Bombay gimlet. Gentle waves rolled over the first sandbar and pelicans flew overhead. Then the porpoises appeared again. Surfing waves over the sandbar, they crashed into a school of dormant grey trout (weakfish) that winter in the sloughs of Ocracoke. Stirred from their winter slumber by the sudden arrival of large grey marine mammals, the fish shot out the hole, seeking safety in deeper water. However, two more porpoises waited to cut them and corraled into a tidy ball. Then, the whole lot of mini-whales (six adults and two wee ones) took turns snacking on the rainbow-speckled porpoise-candies. At times, the porpoise actually tailed like a redfish, burrowing their noses into the sand to root out more fish and waving the tails in their air, shaking their bodies like exotic dancers.

    Late for my ferry, I raced off the beach as the grey trout dodgedly attempted to escape their inevitable fate. Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Mr. Breeze" and CDB's "Stroker Ace" helped me make the free ferry with forty-five seconds to spare.

    Crossing back to Hatteras Island, the wind abated and the sun shone with more vigor, only exciting me to the puppy drum that lay waiting for the arrival of my Bass Assasain in front of their nose.

    I stopped to grab some water before clicking on the 4WD and turning the Dirty Dozen Brass Band for some Dixieland rags as inspiration for my saltwater journey.

    Sunny conditions prevailed with west winds diminishing to 10-12 knots. Air temperatures in the afternoon were in the low 50s.

    Even with the light winds, the Point offered "sporty" wading conditions. I found six or seven guys in waders and dry tops in chest-deep water on the spit at the Point. Two or three rods were bent at all times. Carefully picking my way out in the water, I immediately realized that my "dry-top" wasn't quite dry enough and that I was going to get wet. For those unitiated with the Point at Cape Hatteras, currents from the north and south collide with unbridled fury and the shape of the sand changes constantly.

    The sandbar on top of which we stood to cast to the next bar out required about 100 yard walk across a gully. The sandbar itself didn't offer much refuge from the waves crashing from the left, center, and in front of me. Often I'd take one over my head or just down my neck. Two guys got knocked down, one of them twice. Full-contact fishing at its finest.

    Throwing green rubber baits on a 3/8 ounce red lead head, I made six or seven casts before my KM custom stick bowed over and 10# Power Pro sizzled off my Daiwa Capricorn, pulled by the aggressive presence of a puppy drum. Tightening down on the drag, I balanced the waves crashing around me and occassionally living me off my feet with the shiny copper-colored sea monster attached to my fishing line.

    After a few minutes, a healthy channel bass swam into my waiting hands. With an 18" - 27" slot limit, my peers immediately encouraged me to "harvest that there fish, son. He's a good-un." I obliged, especially since he taped to 26 3/4".

    Making my way back out, this time with a more appropriate foul-weather top, I made a few more casts and began catching a few more fish on the rubber and Mirrolures before being chased out of the water by the 48 degree water building in my boots and the chill in my legs.

    Changing sweaters and eliminating all cotton from my wardrobe, I battled back out to catch a few more fish before the bite ended just before dark.

    I drove back to the hotel in my boxers, a dry fleece, and flip-flops. I was that wet. The waves are that fierce.

    I retreated to my hotel room to hang my waders in the closet, rain-coat top and fleece garments in the shower, and myself into some dry clothes.

    I had dinner at Dinky's in Hatteras, which reminded of the Sea Grill in Avalon. It was quite good, but possibly too nice for what I really wanted (which was a tuna burrito).

    Sunday's score: At least 8 puppy drum (I lost count as I was laughing so hard with all the guys in the water with me), good food, good times, very wet clothing.

    Monday morning found my waders still wet inside after 10 hours of hanging, so I ran to the post office via the Orange Blossom Bakery, located 300 yards south of the Park entrance on the sound-side. I met the new owner, Lee, in the water on Sunday and he has great fresh coffee on Monday-Saturday from 7-2. Try his Sausage Gravy and Biscuits. I tore that up. The house specialty is an "Apple Ugly," which looked like the apple fritters at Wawa but probably tasted much better and would kill you much faster. Again, very reasonable prices for really good breakfast. The locals really seem to dig that place as moms, contractors, surfers, fishermen, and vagabonds all found solace in their fare.

    I cruised out to the Point with my breakfast and coffee to see how the water looked and saw four guys in the water and four bent rods. The Grateful Dead's "Sugar Magnolia" and Willie Nelson's "Stay A Little Longer" got me out there. I stopped to talk with a few seiners on the beach who had more unkind words for the African-American consumers of their shad catch than I care to remember. They had totes and totes of bunker and shad, but only two trout and no drum.

    Light W winds rolled around to the SW and onto the SE. Air temperatures hovered in the high 40s.

    I raced back to my hotel, grabbed the rest of my gear, and tossed the key to the owner as I checked out. Not ironically, I went to the "Orange Blossom Special" by CDB as motivation. Powered by another cup of Orange Blossom coffee, I motored out to join the gang. The locals had just come off the beach and passed me at Ramp 44. CDB's "Uneasy Rider" and the Grascals' cover of "Viva Las Vegas" left a plume of sand behind my truck. Undaunted by the departure of the hot rods, I strapped on the not-so-wet waders and made my way back into water higher and rougher than the day before.

    The bite was spotty, but I caught two in twenty-five minutes. The fish sat on the top of the bar, which had moved twenty feet farther out from the previous day and required a jig to cast that far. The Mirrolures proved more efficient in both attracting bites and hooking fish with their nine sharp points, but they don't cast as well as a 1/2 ounce head. My first two fish were small and I felt good so I retreated to dry off again. I really recommend a full pullover dry-top (like the new Sims garment) for this fishery or just a wet-suit. The guys that had them caught more fish and didn't suffer.

    The crew on the beach broke my balls incessantly as I hung my waders up from my Explorer rear hatch and dried off for a few minutes. I didn't care. They hadn't the balls to go out there and hadn't caught anything in three days. In the interim, I wandered over to the north side (50 feet from my truck) to watch the hickory shad, which will eat even my crummy chartreuse and pink #4 flies. I donated the two shad that I caught to Eric, a big guy with a big smile who loves the 8nbait.

    I suited back up and went out. I caught three more puppies before the bite died as the tide slackened towards high. Officially cold and wet, I wandered back to the beach, where I saw a striper lying next to my truck.

    It turns out that Eric had chunked up the hickory shad and caught a 30# striped bass (weighed at RDT) within minutes of soaking it on the south side of the point. I gave myself the assist and he gave me a handshake.

    At the tide change, right around noon, the weather changed for the worse. Winds switched from SE to NE and accelerated to 20 kts. Clouds foreshadowed rain and showers dominated the afternoon. However, those fish bit!

    I left the beach around 12:30 to grab lunch at Finnegan's, across the street from the Park. Check out the $5 lunch specials. I needed the hot food and some coffee and to organize my wet gear away from the acres of blowing sand and spray.

    Back at the Point with the heat blowing and the bluegrass bumping in the truck, I brought out the binoculars. The guys who could cast in the wind caught fish and fish in some really nasty conditions until 5:30, when I left the beach to replenish the gas tank, refill my tires, and grab a snack for the ride home.

    Monday's score: 5 puppy drum, 2 hickory shad, wet clothes, warm afternoon in the truck, and a safe ride home.

    In all, it was a great road trip. These puppy drum have been there since January and only recently has anyone leaked the secret. The locals have hypothesized that the old drum will show up after this current blow and push the puppies up the beach a bit. Their relationship with the beach netters for fresh bait will demonstrate that shift of puppy and yearling drum away from the Point upon the arrival of the main attraction for the bait-chucking crowd.

    For all those guys who like big plugs, this isn't your scene. We had guys with 9' and 10' sticks throwing big Hopkins from behind and through us and they occasionally snagged a fish. Those armed with seven foot rods throwing 1/2 oz heads with three to four inch green grubs and orange-and-black Mirrolures caught 95% of the puppy drum. If you need help with equipment, give me a buzz and I'll get you in touch with Mike Kulick at KM Custom Rods, who built my "puppy slayer."

    Get down there and catch a puppy before they are too big to keep. It's time to cook mine.

    Final Score: 13+ puppy drum, 2 hickory shad, 1 assist for a 30# striped bass, lots of sand in my truck.

    [ 03-08-2006, 08:58 AM: Message edited by: PortlyRedhead ]
    Thanks Pez Machine Sportfishing for their support of Movember!

    Check out TEAM I HATE CANCER on Facebook!

  2. Remove Advertisements
    TheBassBarn.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    LBI
    Posts
    1,742

    Post

    cj, shouldn't you be writing a thesis or something?

    monday's score: 14,400 vertical feet before lunch at 12:30(late start after the drive to big sky), 16,700 after lunch.

    tuesday's score: 18,500 vertical feet of gladed tree runs and loan peak tram runs in 6+ inches new snow before lunch at 11am, another 20k by 3:45pm. legs, dead.

    at least an hour in the hot tub at the lodge.

  4. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    the 1000 fathom line of the washington
    Posts
    1,284

    Post

    nice cj
    blue water sleigh ride sit down shut up and hold on

  5. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Manahawkin NJ/Kinston NC
    Posts
    3,110

    Post

    I enjoyed the report I felt like I was there with ya!!
    The liberal politician has the only job where they go to the office to work for everyone but those who pay their salary!!!!!!

    A Liberal is the east end of a west bound Horse!!!!

  6. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Sea Isle City
    Posts
    1,418

    Post

    So I'm not the only person here that knows about the "apple uglies".
    Nice.

  7. #6
    Banned
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    13,499

    Post

    Nice read....but now I need a nap.

  8. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Northfield, NJ
    Posts
    129

    Post

    Thanks for a great read, makes me want to go right now.
    I'm also a fan of Orange Blossom Bakery and red jig heads with green curly tails.
    You didn't mention Pop's, another great locals' lunch spot.
    Seeing your interest in music, blue grass in particular, have you ever stopped in at the Red Drum Pottery shop in Frisco?
    Wes, the proprieter, in addition to being an excellent pottery maker and Red Drum fisherman, is also a banjo player. He and his musician pals used to have Friday night jam sessions in the back of the shop with the public invited.
    Check out their CD when next on Island time.

  9. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    cherry hill new jersey
    Posts
    62

    Post

    Great post! Will be going down on the first week of April First trip to Hatteras) I'm undecided whether to go down in my older SUV or take the new family car( much more comfortable driving) How clse can we get to the fishing spots without 4wd? If we have to hike any distance then I would opt for the SUV. Also, we'll be driving from the cherry hill area, suggestions on the route? What's your estimate on how long it will take us to get to the Buxton area? Any other insights you could pass along would be apprceiated.

  10. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,153

    Post

    Capt. Bill - If I ate one of those just once a week, I'd gain 20 pounds this year.

    Red Cherokee - how's your insomnia?

    Crabfeedr - I completely neglected Pop's. Good call, as it's on my list for the next trip.

    The green Bass Assasins really killed them, but the green grubs with red tails took their share, too. I now have a few bags as back-up. You make friends quickly when you trade rubber lures for snacks on the beach.

    You piqued my interest in the tunes - I grabbed the new Molasses Creek complilation (too Kingston Trio for me ...) and a CD by "Martin and Gary," two pickers also from Ocracoke, which I'm really digging. All covers, but good covers.

    I would never have thought to stop in the Pottery place - thanks.

    Double Bogey - I've heard that it's a twenty minute walk to the Point from the parking lot at Ramps 43/44. I'd wager a 30 minute walk with gear, especially when 4WD vehicles are passing you all the time. Bring the SUV if you want to play on the beach. There's free air all over Hatteras Island to refill your tires after you air them down for the beach.

    Everyone that I spoke with recommends taking I-95 to Rt 1 in Delaware to MD 113 to VA 13 down the Eastern Shore ... once you cross the CBBT, you can fairly easily pick up VA 168 to NC 168/158 to the Outer Banks. Mapquest shows about 400 miles of driving for you ... I'd give it 8+ hours with the wife and kids and exploring time. Once you get to Whalebone Junction at Nags Head (where 12 and 64 meet), you have 50 more miles to drive.
    Shoot me an email and I can point you in the right direction.
    Thanks Pez Machine Sportfishing for their support of Movember!

    Check out TEAM I HATE CANCER on Facebook!

  11. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    NJ Coast
    Posts
    53

    Post

    Portlyredhead is right on with the directions as well as travel time. When I travel to the OBX, my departure point is the Mullica Hill area so my travel time is slightly less then your's double bogey. I usually get up around 4am and leave by 4:30. You should be aware that if you are traveling on a weekday, this departure time puts you right in the middle of Virginia Beach rush hour. Using this method, I have made it to the OBX in just over 5 hours, fueling up at the first Brew Threw I can find. The worst part of the trip is Rt 13 in Del. due to the outrageous amount of traffic lights. You should also be warned that Del. state police love to sit at the beginning of all the eye-soar towns and wait for an unsuspecting traveler to "forget" to slow down from 50 to 35, which happen to be the most popular speed limits for nonresidential and residential areas, respectively.

  12. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,153

    Post

    http://www.reddrumtackle.com/forums/...&threadid=6202

    The fish are still there ... anyone going this weekend?
    Thanks Pez Machine Sportfishing for their support of Movember!

    Check out TEAM I HATE CANCER on Facebook!

  13. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    5,987

    Post

    Holy crap!! I enjoyed the S#!^ out of that! Had the music you described playing in my head while I was reading. Haven't been to Hatteras in a few yrs, But could picture it like it was yesterday.
    good stuff, Thanx.

  14. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Havertown/W.Crest
    Posts
    1,391

    Post

    Nice job Port,way to paint a picture.Gets me fired up.

  15. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    61

    Post

    That got me fired up I'm heading down on Sunday. This will be my first time down. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to fish.I'm staying in corolla.

  16. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,153

    Post

    Stan - take the long ride to the Point in Buxton if you're looking to wet a line, or check out the Manns Harbor bridge ...

    Eelball and Michael - thanks for the kind words.
    Thanks Pez Machine Sportfishing for their support of Movember!

    Check out TEAM I HATE CANCER on Facebook!

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •