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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All, I was invited to spend a few days at one of the Cape Lookout Cabins the end of October. I am just starting to research this trip. I know their thought is mainly surf fishing but the water looks inviting on the inside for the kayak.

Thoughts on what to expect that time of year? I was usually in the woods hunting by then.

mikeski
 

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Red X Angler
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I have spent many a fall in those cabins. I agree about staying on the surf side that time of year although there is some nice water for yakking on the back side. Of the 100 or so people who will be on that island, more than half will be at the south end of it. There's some very good fishing there. It's a 14 mile ride down the Jeep trail from the cabin to this point. The island is 26 miles long and there are many, many great surf fishing spots along the entire stretch. It's a wonderful place. I like to work my way up toward the north end for a more secluded experience. There's some good ponds, creeks up there on the back side for cast netting bait. A couple of CALO tips:

It is a National Park and patrolled by different regulatory agencies on boats, 4 wheelers and 4x4's. You will likely be checked. Last time I was out there (which has been awhile) I was checked every day. Review all the park rules especially pertaining to alcohol, speed limits on the jeep trail and beach, unleashed pets and turtle closure areas. I've never had a problem but that's because I follow all the rules.

Do not even THINK about going outside after dark, unless you are right on the beach. The bugs will carry you away.

The cabins have propane stoves and hot water showers. They also have generator hook ups if you want electric light after dark. Bring a sleeping bag or sheets for the bunk beds though. As a funny aside, one morning I walked out to the beach very early...coffee was still percolating in the cabin. Half asleep I accidentally walked back into someone else's cabin...they all look the same. I thanked the surprised occupant for not shooting me and turned and walked out.

There is Ice for sale on the island right at the cabins. But that's it. Bring everything else you need.

Air down to 18 psi. A shovel and strip of carpet is a good idea too. I carry a stout chain too. Never been stuck but have seen many, particularly at the access areas.

CALO back in the day was an anything goes wild place. Most of the 'dunes' out there were created by piling up 1940's vintage rusted out vehicles that were left abandoned there. You will likely see a couple of those. It is still a beautiful place and has some of the best surf fishing you will ever find. A few gratuitous photos....

Sky Lighthouse Plant Tower Tree
Cloud Water Sky Shorts Bermuda shorts
Tire Sky Wheel Vehicle Automotive tire
Water Sky Shorts Cloud Flash photography
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So, leave the kayak home because I will be there when surf is king. Works for me. Bring your 4 x 4. Got that covered. I wonder how many questions I will get on my Rams beady red eyes. hahahaha.

As for gear. I have my two inshore rods with 3500 and 4000 sized reels. Neither of these setups will make a good bottom pole as the rods will not take the weight. My son and I will each use one of them. I also have an ABU 6501 and a 7' Penn Power Stick. It's a Med 7' and will handle 3oz. I had a Penn 10 on it. What would be a good rod to use with the ABU out there?? Casting? Live/chunk bait? Length? Maybe a rod that can do both? And of course I will need another 6501 and rod for my son.

I am not afraid of spending a little money on the rods. I would like it to be around for a while.

mikeski
 

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Red X Angler
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Guys like Drum Runner who surf fish a lot have very high end gear and an entirely different approach than guys like myself who only fish the surf 15-20 days a year. I'm sure he will chime in. My suggestion is to put a spoon such as a Krokodile, Hopkins or similar on one of the inshore rigs. In the surf I use a light (20#) and short (4") black steel leader. Leave that rod in a sand spike so that you are ready if you see baitfish coming out of the water....that's going to be blues or Spanish usually and they move fast through the area. CALO is 3 miles offshore so its not uncommon to see Spanish right up in the surf there. Cast and retrieve at a fast pace. Lack of leader means losing expensive spoons...leader shy Spanish will still hit in the surf though whereas they wouldn't off the end of a pier in quieter water. With inshore rod #2 put a Gulp Shrimp on a jighead and fish it slowly for flatfish. Cut bait or whole finger mullet, alive or dead on the big rods. C-Rig with a 2/0 circle hook. Put them in the rod holder. Have a seat and wait for the rod to bend.
 

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Guys like Drum Runner who surf fish a lot have very high end gear and an entirely different approach than guys like myself who only fish the surf 15-20 days a year. I'm sure he will chime in. My suggestion is to put a spoon such as a Krokodile, Hopkins or similar on one of the inshore rigs. In the surf I use a light (20#) and short (4") black steel leader. Leave that rod in a sand spike so that you are ready if you see baitfish coming out of the water....that's going to be blues or Spanish usually and they move fast through the area. CALO is 3 miles offshore so its not uncommon to see Spanish right up in the surf there. Cast and retrieve at a fast pace. Lack of leader means losing expensive spoons...leader shy Spanish will still hit in the surf though whereas they wouldn't off the end of a pier in quieter water. With inshore rod #2 put a Gulp Shrimp on a jighead and fish it slowly for flatfish. Cut bait or whole finger mullet, alive or dead on the big rods. C-Rig with a 2/0 circle hook. Put them in the rod holder. Have a seat and wait for the rod to bend.
Couple questions: Krokodile spoon size and color favorites? What size weight for the c-rig on the big rods? Finally, any recommendations for sand spike rod holders, size, type (BPS has adjustable 50" aluminum one for $18.99)?

BTW, the Star Rods EXS690CT Aerial Surf Combo 9ft 2pc is on it's way, thanks for the suggestion.
 

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Red X Angler
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1 ounce on the spoons. Bass Pro sells a store brand version of the Hopkins for about $3 if you have one near you. It's in the freshwater section. Weight on the c rig is dependent on current and waves. You want to hold bottom, although a slight drift is okay too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So, for the big rod. I should be looking at a 10' - 12' surf casting rod. Hvy? X-Hvy? I am willing to do a couple/few?? C notes for the rod. I want something that will last well.

I have read people throw 6+ oz of lead to hold at times?

mikeski
 

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Many years ago there were a couple, Sally & Less More, who had a small store & 3 cabins on Cape Lookout. We could get a ride from Harkers Island with Capt. Guthrie on an old fishing skiff out to the Cape and stay in one of these cabins. Sally made all of the trips to town as Less never left the cape. He had an old tractor with a trailer and he would give the folks a ride to the point and then pick them up again. Less piled up the old abandoned cars to form sand dunes behind the store. There was also a 3 story A frame out there on the sound side but the Gov made the good doctor who owned it to remove it. There was a runway for small planes and some people would fly out. Sally loved to give surf casting lessons and showed us how to wipe the cabin screens with cooking oil to keep the NO-SEEUMS out. We caught a lot of fish from the surf and gigged flounder on the sound side. I carried my young son on my shoulders when we gigged the flounder. One night the doctor was in the A frame and we stopped and had a drink with him & his family. Lots of fond memories of Cape Lookout and one time a bunch of us stayed in the House at the lighthouse. All of this changed when the Gov took control of the island.
 

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Red X Angler
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I have heard good things about both the Tsunami airwave and St Croix mojo surf rods under $200. Bass pro carries both.
 

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Anything graphite in my book.
As far as weight size...that is how you size your rod.
With graphites particularly you never size the weight to the conditions, you size it to the rod. Otherwise you stand a good chance of winding up with 3-4 pieces of a 12 foot rod.

The misconception is that it takes a big rod to bring in big fish. The reality is it takes a beefy rod to hurl 8-10 ozs of lead.

The majority of my surf fishing I'm casting lead that is in the rod's sweet spot. If it's rated for 4-8 ozs lure weight, I might be chucking 5 ouncers on a dead slick calm day. Just because that 5 ounces loads that particular rod really nice and I get in some good casting.
This is where it pays to do a lot of dry land casting. You get to know your equipment without fish on the brain.

Size the lead to the rod, not the conditions.

Holding bottom. Sometimes you'll never hold bottom, It has more to do with the angle and strength of the cross current rather than the waves. But it's not a bad thing if you don't hold bottom . You can find holes that way. It'll slide along until it drops in a hole. Hopefully fish are occupying that hole.
Alot of times I'll have access to 50 pounds of lead when I surf fish. I might have 20 pounds on the cart and the rest in the truck. Different type weights from eggs, to no rolls, to pyramids, to storm sinkers, to them spider legged weights. I might throw a no roll on just to get it to start sliding across the bottom.

I can't say enough about practice casting. It can make or break your trip.
The Outer Banks is a special trip. Don't go with a 9 iron and putter. Throw a driver in the bag too and know how to use it. It could make the trip. Seen it too many times when it made the difference between catching or watching other people do the catching.
 
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