Sunday, August 30, 2015

Avon Pier with Driven Wind: No Hope for King Mackerel this Time

The alarm failed to go off, so we got to the ferry at 5:00 a.m. with about 30 seconds to spare. Twenty five minutes after we landed in Hatteras from Ocracoke, we arrived at Avon Pier, a menacing cloud bank straight out off the end over the Atlantic. That wasn't our chief concern and rain never materialized. Wind blew out of the east at about 20 knots, making the ocean a brown mess for the entire pier length.

We cast Got-Cha jiggers for about five minutes before giving up, just to make sure no tailor or cocktail blues would hit. Forget Spanish mackerel when the ocean is so thickened by churned-up sand it looks muddy, since the pelagic speedsters feed by sight.

I cast six-ounce anchor sinkers with the two surf rods; the 40-pound test fluorocarbon would serve as trolley lines to send live fish down to no better than sharks in the messy brine. Lots of king mackerel have been caught recently, but not on days like this. The sinkers held, by virtue of the four metal prongs that insert themselves into the bottom so the weight anchors in place.

Before we sent a nine-inch jack my son caught to the angry surface on the trolley line, someone caught a 26-inch red drum (puppy drum) nearer to the beach on cut mullet. Nice fish!

I had bought a Shakespeare six-foot standup rod rated for 50 to 80-pound test line at Dick's Sporting Goods a month ago, when I also checked out an Ande 30 to 50-pound test rated rod. I decided to go ahead and buy the Shakespeare just in case, but see about two heavier Ande rods online. I ordered two 5 1/2-foot heavy power, 50 to 80 pound rated Ande rods, and planned on returning the Shakespeare to Dick's. As events turned out, the Ande rods never got to the outfitter; I phoned several times, and with days left before we would leave for the North Carolina Outer Banks, canceled the backorder eight days overdue.

So I phoned T&W's Tackle in Nag's Head. A few days later, bought a Bill Fisher heavy power 50 to 80-pound rated standup rod, which I like a lot better than the Shakespeare, and it has a thicker tip. For all I really know, a slightly lighter tip will allow better play from a fish anyway, but who knows, when we get down here again in a couple of years or so, I may spring for another Bill Fisher.

Very pleased with our Penn Squall lever drag reels.

But we hardly had the chance to use them this year. Waves broke against the end of the pier and the wind created such a bow in the line from the Squall reel that we couldn't keep the bait quite in the water. Wind was blowing the line with such force that it lifted the jack off the ocean surface where it was supposed to swim frantically and attract jaws.

So we caught some bait stealers, little panfish on our light tackle. It's always a good time at the pier. We stayed out seven hours yesterday well worth it far and away. I always just let time go out there. Never looked at a clock.
Matt's Jack
Big waves got worse as tide lowered, crashing incessantly all the way out on pier's end.

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