My momma sang this song a lot. She passed away
weeks ago after a long illness, but I still hear
her singing that verse. Why is this important
to fishing in Eastern Carolina? It is the height
of the full moon that has fish eating all night
and the bite is most always later in the day. So
I try not to schedule charters for the morning.
But you can't always count on that.
Mark Kahil, from Bristol (TN) and his three sons
decided on a trip to Oriental and a full day of
fly fishing. His two oldest sons fished with me
in the morning. Ryan and Dale were obviously
seasoned fly anglers and casters. The day started
out with a beautiful sunrise and calm water. I
figured we could head to down to Lower Broad Creek
near the mouth of the Neuse River and southern edge
of Pamlico Sound. The creeks off Lower Broad are
some of my favorites for puppy drum and speckled
trout. Flounder will also hit a fly when presented
Out in the River we headed out past Oriental, Whitaker
Point, Pearce Creek, Orchard Creek and a wide swing out
around Gum Thicket Shoal. Thirty 30-minutes later we
made our way in to Lower Broad Creek. A commercial
fishing boat was heading out to Ocracoke, its nets
hanging high on the stern beams. Water splayed off
its bow. The water sparkled from the spray as it
pushed out of the channel into the Neuse River.
The sun was beginning its rise above the horizon and
only a few puffy clouds lingered above. The sun was
to our backs and it felt good.
This is a beautiful area of North Carolina, unspoiled
by subdivisions and shopping malls. This is a wild
and peaceful place with bear, wolf, sea otters, and
occasional family of racoons. I headed in the creek
making a turn around Skate Point and up Tar Creek.
I let the boat settle down in the water before I
started the approach to the second bay. The boys
were anxious to hang some trout or redfish. I
handed Dale a 6 weight T-3 Rod and tied a green spoon
fly on the leader. He finessed a nice cast and came
up with an 18 inch puppy drum (redfish to you folks
in Florida). Three more casts and three more puppy
drum. I thought that maybe someone was looking down
on me that we could be catching anything after a full
moon. I could hear the humming of Carolina Moon in
Now it was Ryan's turn. He cast and cast and
cast. Retrieve was almost identical to Dale's
but after about 45 minutes he hadn't caught
anything. I figured maybe the bite was off so
decided to try Browns Creek farther up and off
of Lower Broad. Again Ryan keep up the pace
fishing his heart out, and nothing. Since
they were both such good casters I figured they
both could fish at the same time, and maybe
increase our odds of a hook up.
Near the bay across from Whortonsville and next
to Fork Point, Dale landed another puppy drum.
Ryan came up empty. We crossed the creek by
Graveyard Point and Ryan caught his first Croaker
on a bonefish bitters fly. For the next hour we
hung 5 croakers and two more puppy drum. By
eleven o'clock we had boated more than 15 fish,
and released them. Both Dale and Ryan were
having a great time. We motored back towards
the mouth of Lower Broad and a place called Cedar
Point to sight fish for red drum. But none were
to be found.
It was time to head back to Oriental to pick up
Mark and Tyler. Besides the river was starting
to kick up and the ride back was a little weter
than the one down to Lower Broad Creek. I called
Mark on my cell phone and asked him to meet us at
the dock across from the Bean. This is a neat
little coffee place on Hodges Street in downtown
Oriental. Also, it would be good for Dale and Ryan
for a respite of ice cream and time to check out
Paddle Pamlico Outfitters, an upscale kayak shop
next to the Bean.
Mark, his wife, Tyler and their Lab met us at
the dock. Tyler and Mark boarded old Katie
(my Action Craft) and we headed out of Oriental
Harbor. Fourteen year old Tyler needed a crash
course in fly casting and presentation. It was
his first fly fishing trip in saltwater. I could
tell that a weather front was moving in, so I
kept us to the back of the high bridge. I
started down Green Creek and then pulled into
Kershaw Creek and stopped just short of the marina.
There, I gave Tyler his first casting lesson.
I don't recommend casting lessons from a boat
if you have never fly-fished. This can be
very frustrating to say the least. But it was
obvious that Mark had given his sons some good
basics, because Tyler seemed to pick it up rather
quickly. After about 30-minutes, I felt we
would be ok.
Out back on Green Creek, I headed up the creek
to a point near a wide turn. The bottom is
grass and the point holds nice speckled trout
and puppy drum. We fished for about an hour
with no real strong hits. I changed the flies
to a version of bonefish bitters that I use and
tie with rainbow braid. I call it Pamlico Bitters.
I also positioned the boat just off the point and
used two anchors to keep us in this position.
I borrowed Tyler's rod and made a 60 foot cast
into the wind landing the fly just off the grass
next to the point. I told Tyler to count to 10
then do one long strip, count to 10 and repeat
the cadence. After the second cast his line
went tight and he landed his first puppy drum
on fly. A while later Mark caught a croaker
and a puppy drum. For a day that would have
otherwise been questionable, the Kahil family
proved that with a little luck, some great
casting and presentation, you can have a fabulous
time fly-fishing in Eastern North Carolina.
It was pouring trucks by the time I got them back
to the dock in Oriental. We had a terrific day.
I sang the words to Carolina Moon "keep shining,"
all the way home. ~ Doug
Capt. Doug Sinclair has relocated from New Smyrna Beach, Florida to
Grantsboro, NC. He specializes in fly-fishing and light tackle charters.
Doug charters the Coastal Carolina area of New Bern or Oriental.
Catch him on the web at
www.flyfishacademy.net or call him at (252) 745-3500.