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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
06-14-2020
Eno River at King's Highway Park off Ben Johnston Road

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Despite my spectacular lack of success to date on the Eno, I decided to go back out there and try some new things. Yesterday I went and explored some sections that are accessible from the Hillsborough Riverwalk, starting from Gold Park, but frankly there doesn't seem to be a ton of good bank access through that area, so I went back to the King's Highway Park area.

The plan today was to, as always, try and catch at least a bluegill or green sunfish or something to get warmed up, then a heavy focus on using crankbaits to fish the deeper water and see if any bass were lurking. I started fishing under the Ben Johnston Road bridge, using a hook/bobber and the pink Berkley crappie nibbles stuff. After failing to get any nibbles from the nibbles, I decided to push on down the trail and see what else was there. I knew to expect a railroad bridge, so I figured at worst there would be a place to fish there.

As it turns out, there aren't a lot of good bank access spots through here either. But there is, as expected, room to fish under the railroad bridge. So I hung out there for quite a while, and fished a few different crankbaits, as well as a couple of soft plastics (including a Senko style stickbait) on a shaky-head jig. Nothing happening. I don't know how long I was out there, but it was a while. Probably a good hour. But either there are no fish in that stretch of water, or I just could not find the combination to entice them to come out and play.

It was starting to get a little darker, so I decided it would be a good idea to move back closer to the park, and my truck. So I retreated back to that first bridge, and thoroughly worked over the area all around, beside, in-front-of, upstream-of, downstream-of, and between, the bridge pilings with a couple of crankbaits, and a lipless crankbait. Nothing.

Seriously? Lipless crankbaits around bridge pilings is practically "made to order" bass fishing. I am reminded of what another member here (I don't remember who, or I'd offer the complete attribution) said: "These fish don't read the same books and watch the same videos as I do".

After all that, it was really getting close to dark, so I headed back up the trail. But instead of going straight back to the parking lot, I took the route that follows the river downstream and curves around and comes back out at the picnic area by the sediment pit. Found one cleared out area where you could get to the bank to fish, and it turned out to be just downstream from where another creek (Sevenmile Creek, I believe) empties into the Eno. I had some hopes for this spot, since those confluence areas are often productive. Desperately trying to avoid getting outright skunked, I broke out the ultralight rig, hook/bobber, and the Berkley crappie nibbles again, and fished there for about 20 minutes. Nada. Nothing. Zip. Zilch.

And by now it was just short of full-on dark, and I had to navigate an unfamiliar trail and get back to the truck lugging all my equipment, and I was thinking "How am I going to hold the flashlight and all this stuff?" Luckily I got back to the main road just before the point where I would have had to break out the flashlight.

One nice thing about this park, you probably can't ever really "get lost" out here. It's bounded by the river for most of the way, and bounded by Ben Johnston Road if you're on the South side. No matter where you area out there, you can hear cars passing on Ben Johnston, and if you listen closely (and have better hearing than me) you can probably hear cars on I-40 as well. Worst case, enough thrashing about in the woods, you'd find a road eventually. Now if you went North and crossed into Duke Forest, I guess there's more room out there were you *could* get lost, but even then, if you keep moving you're probably going to run into US 70 or something. Unless you fall in a pond at the old quarry and drown. That would be sub-optimal.

Until next time...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Have you got down in the river and waded? If you think about it spots easily fished from the bank are fished harder than spots in the river between them.
Not in the Eno, no. And I am not sure, but I think the water in this section is too deep (at least right now) for wading.

That said, I should have my little inflatable boat in service soon. I ordered the trolling motor mount kit a couple of days ago, and it showed up on my doorstep today. I also have a better air pump coming, as the word is that that the factory one is kinda dodgy. Once I get a trolling motor and battery and get the motor mount setup, I'll be just about ready to start using this boat. I still need an anchor and a PFD, and probably a better set of oars, and I'll be ready to take it out.

If it works out OK, I'll look into getting a fish-finder / sonar of some sort as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You are probably already aware that if you attach a motor you will need to register it with the state.

Yep, that's part of the plan. I got my new pump today, so the next thing I buy for it will probably be the trolling motor and a battery. I may also go ahead and build a wooden floor for it before taking it out for the first time.
 

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Just a heads-up: the areas you were fishing are full of poison ivy. It's probably just starting out now, but will be in full takeover size as the warm weather continues. Walking the trails and crossing to the banks will guarantee exposure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just a heads-up: the areas you were fishing are full of poison ivy. It's probably just starting out now, but will be in full takeover size as the warm weather continues. Walking the trails and crossing to the banks will guarantee exposure.
No doubt. This (along with red-bugs, spider bites, tics, etc) is why I wear long pants and a long-sleeve shirt even in the middle of summer, if I'm going anywhere where I expect exposure to brush, weeds, woods, etc. One of the big downsides to bank fishing. :mad:
 
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