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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello folks! I'm new to this forum and to the waters here and am looking for some help identifying some fish I saw. Took my boat out into South Creek today from the Aurora ramp and headed to the old barge slip. Toward the back of the slip, there were many large fish breaking the water surface frequently, but I couldn't get a close enough look to successfully identify them. Fished for several hours with everything I had, from spinners, to crank baits, to spoons, to poppers, and even a few plastics...nothing hit. Thoughts on what these guys were and why they weren't interested in what I had going? Any tips would be appreciated!
 

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One possibility could be long-nose gar. I have been up that way, and seen them there and in other Pamlico River creeks. Have caught a few by accident fishing for trout or redfish. An old timer once told me that the best way to catch them is by casting a light jig with a strip of cloth on it…their many fine teeth supposedly get enmeshed in the fiber. If you ever do catch one I strongly recommend that you do a boat-side release. If you boat those beasts they will thrash around wildly.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the help and suggestion! Given how many I saw breaking the water, I would think I would have noticed the "long-nose" feature, but perhaps not. My wife tells me I'm not very observant. I did (briefly) see a lot of the tails though as they plunged back down, and from what I remember, they matched more of what I'd expect in a large trout than what I see online as the gar having. If I had to estimate, these fish were in the 18-24" range. It definitely made for an interesting day...almost as if the universe were trying to tell me that I'm not a good fisherman, which I guess is true.
 

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The gar I have seen are more in the 24-36 inch size range. Their tails are not forked, but are more of a rounded paddle shape. They do a lot of ‘rolling’ on the surface, as opposed to jumping. Given the additional information you provided above, they could have been striped mullet, also known locally as jumping mullet. They don’t usually take artificial lures. They are bottom feeders, and eat micro-organisms, algae, and decaying vegetation. They are very oily, and make great bait, especially for red and black drum.
 

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By breaking the water, were they just breaking surface or jumping...as @Chris52 noted, jumping mullets are easy to id as they will become completely airborne multiple times. If just rolling/breaking the surface I'd guess Chris is still correct in proposing gar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Definitely not jumping, more "rolling over" on the surface like a fish after bugs. The look was very similar to a dolphin coming for air. On the way into the barge slip, I did see a few jumping mullet...they were much smaller, and clearly went completely airborne. Thanks again gents for chiming in; much appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So that's what I was wondering as the surface behavior looked a lot like the carp I used to see in the Snake River in ID. I didn't know if NC had carp in these parts or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'll head out that way again soon and see if I can find these buggers to take a closer look. For now, I'm going to go with gar as it seems to be the consensus. Reading how gar go after prey, it appears none of my tactics would have worked anyway. Evidently I should have tossed out a popper and let it sit mostly, with small twitches on occasion. According to a source online, gar are stealthy attackers and inch up on their prey slowly. Thanks again gents for helping me out here!
 
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