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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I live in Ohio, but travel to fish saltwater a few times each year. Normally I’ll make a beeline to Florida where I have a yearly nonresident license, or I’ll head to the east to hit up party boats in NY or NJ…. Or if I’m extra lucky that year, we take the kids on a cruise & every stop I’m wetting a line in tropical waters.

I joined here because I’m trying to expand my horizons…. Actually, my first experience surf fishing was in duck (OBX). I got skunked but loved it.

Anyways, I might be headed to Charlotte in a few weeks (first week of February) & might be able to leave early enough to free myself up to spend the weekend near the coast. I’m aware that hatteras is approx 5 hours from Charlotte, but it sure beats the 13 hours from my house :) . Is it worth planning around surf fishing early February? From the research I’ve done, it doesn’t seem that the head boats are running that time of year, so unless I could luck into a walk-on with a charter I’ll likely be keeping my boots in the sand.

What species can I expect to target in February? I understand there are holdover reds & maybe trout… do you guys have sheepshead from bridges this time of year?

Also, during the warmer months (spring/summer/early fall) is there a better time to drag the family & a 21’ center console down to do some inshore and nearshore fishing? Is OBX the best bet or should I look into other parts of the state? I see one or two inlets on the map on the OBX islands but further south it looks like the barrier islands are uninhabited & one would have to run across the sound to get to the ocean.

Thanks in advance.
mark
 

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Welcome to the forum, Mark. I am a native of NC but spent almost 10 years in NEO working out of Bedford, OH... Yeah, that 13 hour drive is not fun but if you take the Breeze Wood exit off the PA turnpike and swing far enough south and west coming around Winchester, VA it can be done without losing it in that big parking lot they call US-95/495 around DC. I don't miss that drive so I feel for you.

As for fishing and early Feb...you should be able to scare up some specks out of the surf still and the reds aren't far behind (usually I figure mid-March for them on the Point). I've never been a big sheepshead guy but I believe most of that action is still 3 months or so away. As for best time to drag the family down....wow, such a loaded question. If you come down anytime between mid-April and October you can expect to find Mahi. Hoos are always there as long as you're willing to take it (boat) 20-30 miles off. If you're not comfortable with that distance wait until maybe mid-May or so....by then the Spanish will be making an appearance, the hoos will be closer in and the Cobia bite should be on. Kings, cobia, spanish, hoos....they should al be there between mid-April and late October although by then the Mahi are going to be scattered and a little harder to scare up.

As far as where on the OBX...there are three active inlets on the north beaches I'd consider...Oregon, Hatteras and Ocracoke. Oregon was, and may still be, a scary inlet to nav. The reason I say may be is because they recently (2022) acquired a hopper dredge which is more or less dedicated to keeping Oregon open and safe but I have not personally run that inlet in almost 30 years so I can't speak to the condition of the inlet. Hatteras and Ocracoke are both iffy at times but if I had to choose one it'd be Ocracoke. From Ocracoke you're only about 30 miles from the stream depending on time of year. Moving south, Beaufort inlet is probably the safest you'll find but New River isn't bad...although, it can be tricky if you're not familiar with the way it doglegs coming off the beach. I don't have any experience in nav'ing the southern most inlets so I can't speak to them. For creature comfort and safety, I'd choose Beaufort over all those I've noted, it just means a longer haul to get to fish. Big Rock is, depending on which part you want to fish, about 40-50 miles out of the inlet but there are plenty of nearshore targets (reefs and wrecks).

Just my two cents worth. I'm guessing more of this forum's regular crew can share inlet conditions further south. @ice cream man can probably give you more information on those inlets as I believe he fishes the southern portion of the coast.

Good luck on whatever you decide and keep those lines tight and wet.

Bruce
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bruce, thank you for the excellent write up/advice!

Bedford is not far away from my works office in Solon, but I’m on the road a lot more than I’m in the office :) did you ever get to chase walleye on Erie?

I just got confirmation today that I’m in the class 1/31 so I am going to plan on being on the NC coast that last weekend in January. I really want to make it to Hatteras Jack and meet Ryan White… I have two century rods built by him & would like to meet in person as I plan on picking up a few more in the future :) If I play my cards right I should be able to get down that way early on Saturday & fish Saturday, Sunday & into Monday. I’m going to call around and see if I can’t get on a boat as a +1 one of those days, if not just being right there on the brine should scratch the itch until I can get back out on Lake Erie, plus I can scout where we could stay in the spring or summer… solid advice on the inlets. I’ve been tossed around a bit in Ponce Inlet in Florida. It’s not horrible, but if I can avoid it I’m going to, but I’m not sure I’m good for 40-50 miles out just yet. I’m pretty confident I could go 25-30, but I’ve only had my boat one season & I need to get a better feel for it’s range (50 gallon tank, twin 1100cc jet pumps) it’s not horrible on fuel by any stretch, a week in Florida running in the intercostal barely cost me 20 gallons, and a lot of that was close to WOT.

Worst case we use my boat for nearshore & get out on a charter or head boat if we feel the need to get further out than I’m comfortable being the skipper for…


I’ll for sure post here as it gets closer to my trip, I had asked Jeremy at Hatteras Jack about surf fishing & he said to hit them up a few days before heading that way.
 

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LMBO,,,, Isn't this a hoot, that I find you here? I wanted to copy this sites link, & send it to you! (needtoknowinfo)

I absolutely LOVE the New River Inlet, up to Camp Lejeune. & #2 is Morehead Beach & all around Beaufort.
IF things haven't changed too much, you can fill a boat with fish,,,,, Come Oct & the mullet runs.
I'll try to find an old friends number,,, Charter Captain Doug. Every time my Old gang & I went down, we/ they went & fished with him.
NO NEED TO GO PAST THE OPENINGS!! ;>) Hec,,, our first two casts were top slot reds. & don't let anyone tell you that Albacore taste like crap! We hit a 1/4 mile wide school, inside. fish-on just about every cast. (Like Erie, always watch the birds!)

" did you ever get to chase walleye on Erie?"
That made me lol,, That's exactly the 'DEAL' that OGF 'Cheezman' had with the NC Charter Captain Doug. Doug came up, & absolutely loved fishing ERIE.
Looks like I'll have to send you about a dozen of our NC OBX pictures.?
Best times ever,,, down there. wading the beaches at night, full moon, low tide, & gigging limits of flounder & catching blue crabs,,, & pulling up throw nets full of shrimp. Those were the days.

OBTW,,,, Icecreaman rules.

Shorts Shoe Water Sky Hat


Flash Back.
Cap' Doug told me to throw a 5' TWISTER UP ON THE BEACH & CRANK IT IN QUICK. (horse Island, 5' ow.).
I landed the first keeper red, first cast. Then we went around the stone point to the North. The bay was chuck full of black tip sharks, jumping out of the water in a feeding frenzy,,,, The sharks were herding up a school of huge rays. We quickly caught a ray, & landed 2 black tips with the first two drops. We killed & iced my 80#er,, had the throw the 150#er back. NO KIDDING. A day I'll never forget.
Food Ingredient Seafood Fish Fluid



Lol,, we would'a caught more, but we ran out of cooler space. (2) & we Had to throw out the ice! ;>)
Food Ingredient Seafood Staple food Fish


OK,,, I'm done. Thanks for letting me BRAG! ;>)
 

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Bruce, thank you for the excellent write up/advice!

Bedford is not far away from my works office in Solon, but I’m on the road a lot more than I’m in the office :) did you ever get to chase walleye on Erie?

I just got confirmation today that I’m in the class 1/31 so I am going to plan on being on the NC coast that last weekend in January. I really want to make it to Hatteras Jack and meet Ryan White… I have two century rods built by him & would like to meet in person as I plan on picking up a few more in the future :) If I play my cards right I should be able to get down that way early on Saturday & fish Saturday, Sunday & into Monday. I’m going to call around and see if I can’t get on a boat as a +1 one of those days, if not just being right there on the brine should scratch the itch until I can get back out on Lake Erie, plus I can scout where we could stay in the spring or summer… solid advice on the inlets. I’ve been tossed around a bit in Ponce Inlet in Florida. It’s not horrible, but if I can avoid it I’m going to, but I’m not sure I’m good for 40-50 miles out just yet. I’m pretty confident I could go 25-30, but I’ve only had my boat one season & I need to get a better feel for it’s range (50 gallon tank, twin 1100cc jet pumps) it’s not horrible on fuel by any stretch, a week in Florida running in the intercostal barely cost me 20 gallons, and a lot of that was close to WOT.

Worst case we use my boat for nearshore & get out on a charter or head boat if we feel the need to get further out than I’m comfortable being the skipper for…


I’ll for sure post here as it gets closer to my trip, I had asked Jeremy at Hatteras Jack about surf fishing & he said to hit them up a few days before heading that way.
LMBO,,,, Isn't this a hoot, that I find you here? I wanted to copy this sites link, & send it to you! (needtoknowinfo)

I absolutely LOVE the New River Inlet, up to Camp Lejeune. & #2 is Morehead Beach & all around Beaufort.
IF things haven't changed too much, you can fill a boat with fish,,,,, Come Oct & the mullet runs.
I'll try to find an old friends number,,, Charter Captain Doug. Every time my Old gang & I went down, we/ they went & fished with him.
NO NEED TO GO PAST THE OPENINGS!! ;>) Hec,,, our first two casts were top slot reds. & don't let anyone tell you that Albacore taste like crap! We hit a 1/4 mile wide school, inside. fish-on just about every cast. (Like Erie, always watch the birds!)

" did you ever get to chase walleye on Erie?"
That made me lol,, That's exactly the 'DEAL' that OGF 'Cheezman' had with the NC Charter Captain Doug. Doug came up, & absolutely loved fishing ERIE.
Looks like I'll have to send you about a dozen of our NC OBX pictures.?
Best times ever,,, down there. wading the beaches at night, full moon, low tide, & gigging limits of flounder & catching blue crabs,,, & pulling up throw nets full of shrimp. Those were the days.

OBTW,,,, Icecreaman rules.

View attachment 219813

Flash Back.
Cap' Doug told me to throw a 5' TWISTER UP ON THE BEACH & CRANK IT IN QUICK. (horse Island, 5' ow.).
I landed the first keeper red, first cast. Then we went around the stone point to the North. The bay was chuck full of black tip sharks, jumping out of the water in a feeding frenzy,,,, The sharks were herding up a school of huge rays. We quickly caught a ray, & landed 2 black tips with the first two drops. We killed & iced my 80#er,, had the throw the 150#er back. NO KIDDING. A day I'll never forget.
View attachment 219814


Lol,, we would'a caught more, but we ran out of cooler space. (2) & we Had to throw out the ice! ;>)
View attachment 219815

OK,,, I'm done. Thanks for letting me BRAG! ;>)
You Ohio guys and your Walleye. Down here 40 miles offshore we call them “bait”…rofl. Yeah, I chased your Erie walleye…great fun but honestly, I’m not a big freshwater guy. Mark, keep me posted on when you bring the family down and if schedules work I’ll get you out to Big Rock. I run a 22 ft scout rigged for offshore.

Just a couple of quick notes…floundering for that creel limit of one/day over a 2 week period isn’t a worthwhile endeavor and yeah, I know Solon. I lived in Kent but worked with a bunch of scientist from around the area…from Mentor on the lake to Westlake to Parma. Great folks but the winters are brutal. I’m glad to be home!
Tight lines
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You Ohio guys and your Walleye. Down here 40 miles offshore we call them “bait”…rofl. Yeah, I chased your Erie walleye…great fun but honestly, I’m not a big freshwater guy. Mark, keep me posted on when you bring the family down and if schedules work I’ll get you out to Big Rock. I run a 22 ft scout rigged for offshore.

Just a couple of quick notes…floundering for that creel limit of one/day over a 2 week period isn’t a worthwhile endeavor and yeah, I know Solon. I lived in Kent but worked with a bunch of scientist from around the area…from Mentor on the lake to Westlake to Parma. Great folks but the winters are brutal. I’m glad to be home!
Tight lines
I have booked a spot with the Carolina Princess for 1/28, unless something comes up, I’m going to be in Charlotte Tuesday 1/31 through the end of the week, so I’m going to take the work van to more head city and then probably fish Atlantic beach for the remaining time there. The family trip will likely be early June as the kids don’t finish school until the end of may & it’s both my dad & younger sons birthday the last days of May.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
LMBO,,,, Isn't this a hoot, that I find you here? I wanted to copy this sites link, & send it to you! (needtoknowinfo)

I absolutely LOVE the New River Inlet, up to Camp Lejeune. & #2 is Morehead Beach & all around Beaufort.
IF things haven't changed too much, you can fill a boat with fish,,,,, Come Oct & the mullet runs.
I'll try to find an old friends number,,, Charter Captain Doug. Every time my Old gang & I went down, we/ they went & fished with him.
NO NEED TO GO PAST THE OPENINGS!! ;>) Hec,,, our first two casts were top slot reds. & don't let anyone tell you that Albacore taste like crap! We hit a 1/4 mile wide school, inside. fish-on just about every cast. (Like Erie, always watch the birds!)

" did you ever get to chase walleye on Erie?"
That made me lol,, That's exactly the 'DEAL' that OGF 'Cheezman' had with the NC Charter Captain Doug. Doug came up, & absolutely loved fishing ERIE.
Looks like I'll have to send you about a dozen of our NC OBX pictures.?
Best times ever,,, down there. wading the beaches at night, full moon, low tide, & gigging limits of flounder & catching blue crabs,,, & pulling up throw nets full of shrimp. Those were the days.

OBTW,,,, Icecreaman rules.

View attachment 219813

Flash Back.
Cap' Doug told me to throw a 5' TWISTER UP ON THE BEACH & CRANK IT IN QUICK. (horse Island, 5' ow.).
I landed the first keeper red, first cast. Then we went around the stone point to the North. The bay was chuck full of black tip sharks, jumping out of the water in a feeding frenzy,,,, The sharks were herding up a school of huge rays. We quickly caught a ray, & landed 2 black tips with the first two drops. We killed & iced my 80#er,, had the throw the 150#er back. NO KIDDING. A day I'll never forget.
View attachment 219814


Lol,, we would'a caught more, but we ran out of cooler space. (2) & we Had to throw out the ice! ;>)
View attachment 219815

OK,,, I'm done. Thanks for letting me BRAG! ;>)
I’m looking forward to meeting up with you up here in Ohio & for sure would be all about doing a few long weekend trips to the salt! I’ve got your number from the Ohio forum, do you work? Maybe I can try calling tomorrow as I have over an hours worth of driving after I wrap up in Ravenna.

you’ve had some of the days fishing that I’m trying to create for the kids & me :) I bet you’ve got 100 from where that comes from. My best story is the Jack Crevalle I caught surf fishing in Cancun. I was swimming my bottom rig out about 200-300 yards using borrowed flippers from the hotel 😂 hers a link to a few pics that trip:
 

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Honestly,, I have no idea what a 'HOOS' is!?
I've fished from NY, NJ, all the way down to Key West,,, California BAHA coast to snorkeling Cona Beach Hawaii.
I'll have to look that one up!? :<(

Hey Donkeykong,,, guess what? 'UPLAND' just sent me a PM,,,, He's on his way down to NC!!!!
Totally killing me. (along with the white stuff on the ground)
 

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Oh Ya DK,,,, something else you might be interested in,,,,
Search up 'TEAM GET BENT'. Maybe even still on Youtube.?
Ohio boys, family of my L Erie camping friends,,, they were stationed a while ago at Camp Lejeune & I ran into them while fishing New River Inlet.. Small World.
Kinda Like what you did for your Jack Crevalle,,,,,
In their off time, they Yak way out & drop huge baits for monster sharks.
You gotta see what they landed!
 

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Honestly,, I have no idea what a 'HOOS' is!?
I've fished from NY, NJ, all the way down to Key West,,, California BAHA coast to snorkeling Cona Beach Hawaii.
I'll have to look that one up!? :<(

Hey Donkeykong,,, guess what? 'UPLAND' just sent me a PM,,,, He's on his way down to NC!!!!
Totally killing me. (along with the white stuff on the ground)
Hoos = Wahoos
Water Sky Cloud Boat Shorts
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Mark,

Keep me posted on dates and we'll see if I can get you guys offshore. By early June we should be able to find spanish, Mahi and Hoos without any problem.

Bruce
We are specifically looking at 6/3 through 6/10 (my anniversary, but my better half is happy if our kids are happy).

I’ve got my eye on a few VRBO places on Atlantic Beach or Moorehead City. My dad & the boys are all getting excited.
 

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Early June is not a bad time to be offshore. Mahi, hoos, the spanish and kings should be off the beaches....bottom fishing is kind of sketchy then but you can still scare up a grouper or beeliner if you know where to go and don't forget the cobia....woohooooo.....talk about fun fishing!
Water Sky Shorts Boat Boats and boating--Equipment and supplies


How much snow are you guys getting now? I'd love to see about 8-12 inches down here but for us....scattered snow showers=shut everything down, close the schools, buy all the bread and milk you can find, etc.,c etc...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Early June is not a bad time to be offshore. Mahi, hoos, the spanish and kings should be off the beaches....bottom fishing is kind of sketchy then but you can still scare up a grouper or beeliner if you know where to go and don't forget the cobia....woohooooo.....talk about fun fishing! View attachment 219817

How much snow are you guys getting now? I'd love to see about 8-12 inches down here but for us....scattered snow showers=shut everything down, close the schools, buy all the bread and milk you can find, etc.,c etc...
The bottom fishing shuts down or you have to go further offshore? I love catching sheepshead and hope they will be around the docks by then… I’m on the list for the 1/28 trip with Carolina princess at this point, it’s a full day trip, I recently read that they are even starting to catch bluefin off the NC coast? I’d love to catch a tuna… but a giant bluefin is a bit more than I’m ready for 😂

Snow? I’m at a customer in mentor right now and you can still see grass through the dusting, but in Montville (next to chardon) we probably had 4-6” when I left this morning. I’ll try and get some pictures when I get home & start moving my horses around the property.
 

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Sheepshead should be all over the pilings by then so you'll get your chance. Bottom fishing never really shuts down you just have to hunt for them a little harder. That usually means further offshore, deeper water and longer rides. Beeliners are usually all over the place by then as long as you can find structure and don't get me wrong, they're tasty but a 12" beeliner doesn't produce a very big fillet. As for the bluefins....at times they're within eyesight of shore this time of year. I'm not a big tuna guy so I'm not rigged for them but yeah, it's bluefin season right now and there are some pretty fish coming on deck now.

I have friends in Chardon so I know who's shoveling snow tonight I guess...LOL. I love a good snow but I don't miss running the blower and shoveling sidewalks!
 
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