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I'm going camping on the Shackleford banks memorial day weekend. I have a 17 foot key west center console so I can't go too far out. Has anyone else camped here before? Any tips would be greatly appreciated. I'm hoping to catch a cobia, a species I've never really fished for. Hopefully Spanish will be there in good numbers too. Or bonita another fish that has eluded me. I figured the blues will be around they're not very hard to find. Should be a great trip.
 

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Awesome place to camp! I camp there every year (except this one) around early May.

Cobia will be around and so will Spanish.

The closer you camp to the park rangers dock the better for the ladies, due to the bathrooms right there. If you go down towards Wade shores a little closer, there is bathrooms there to. The dock/rock jetty end will be much more crowded than wade shore...if that makes a difference to you. Have fun!!
 

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Shack Camping

You'll have plenty of Spanish and bluefish. Cobia will be there, but the bonitos may be gone by then. Flounder would be the thing to target, especially with the family along. Jigging Spro bucktails with Gulp shrimp on the AR-315 or 320 or drifting in the sound using a Carolina rig baited with strips of belly taken from the blues and spanish you've caught earlier. The law requires you to have the carcass of the fish you've taken the strips from, so you'll need to keep that in mind.
 

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So if I use a strip of pinfish fillet for flounder I need to keep the carcass??
Nope, only goes for regulated fish. Anything with a size limit requires that you have the the carcass so that you can prove you didn't take undersized fish.
 
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I've been surfing/camping/fishing at shackleford for 15 years or so. Not sure if you've ever been there before, but here's a few very important tips from a slightly seasoned island veteran.

--Park your boat on the sound side and plan on camping there too. Using 2 anchors is best for overnighting here. One off the bow, and one off the stern. Be mindful of tides and currents. When the tide gets moving, it really gets moving.
--"Shack" is part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore. Keep your dog on a leash and pack out your trash, or they will ticket you with a quickness. Plus the locals will get angry.
--Buy the STRONGEST bug spray that you can find, and hope that it keeps the mutant horseflies from carrying you and your family away. These horseflies should have their own species. They have a steady supply of big horses to host on. Read further.
--The horses on the island are wild spanish stallions. Key word is "wild." They will hurt you if you get too close for comfort. Take caution while photographing them in their natural habitat, which is an exquisitely preserved, pre-existing maritime forest.
--There are no roads to the ocean side, but there are several obviously worn foot paths. Going "off the beaten path" may put you in a quagmire of thorny marsh that resembles something from "lord of the rings." If you don't have hairy feet, or a wizard at your side, may i suggest taking the road MOST traveled.
--Very large stingrays frequent this island more than any other in the area, or so it seems. They are on the ocean side and the sound side. Shuffle your feet in shallow water if you are wading unless you want to endure the most painful boat ride home ever.
--Wood can be extremely difficult to find in some areas. Sometimes you can get lucky from a previous camp's leftovers. Rule of thumb is to bring a fire log or your own wood, unless you enjoy finding needles in mosquito-ridden haystacks.
--The sound side may look very pristine, but the current can be ruthless. And the drop-offs are unforgiving.
--The jetty on the sound side can be good fishing. Water depths here are deeper than they are a mile offshore. Don't pass it up without throwing out a line. It is also hang-up city, so plan on losing some rigs.
--Shady cover can be scarce on the island, so don't forget the sunscreen. Or the toilet paper.
--Above all, stay safe, have fun, and tight lines. And welcome to carteret county ;-)
 

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Exactly what ****** said!
How many in the party/ Gender and ages has a lot to do with what you do.
My wife's great grand daddy was a keeper at the cape. She's camped out there a bunch. She's good with a shovel, so we can camp anywhere. Getting away from the crowds is key to making your "shack" or core banks camping experience one to remember.

GOOD coolers. Cover them. Don't window shop in them. Ice is gold out there. Pay attention and keep them in the shade. One of the best things you can do is be prepared enough that you don't have to go back "into town", until you have to leave. Part of the experience. It can be brutally hot. Water, water, and more water. Very easy to get dehydrated with everything going on with spending dusk till dawn exposed out there. SUNSCREEN!
 

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Great information posted here. I might add that you're normal tent spikes out there ain't going to get it done if the wind starts ripping. Use milk jugs filled with sand or canvas bags....anything that will hold 3 or 4 pounds of sand. Bury them a foot deep with your tent lines attached. It's a marvelous remote place, one of my favorites, but if you're not prepared it can be miserable.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you so much for all the great info. I've camped on the island that the harkers island ferry takes you to but I forget the name. I can't wait to get out there! I will post a detailed report when I get back. Thanks again!
 

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For any who question the depth of the jetty, here are a couple of depth charts for the area. Almost 60 feet deep. Should be some sheepshead, flounder, and black drum around there. Look for "diver down" flags, as this is a very popular dive spot. It's one of the best places to find very large stone crabs. Some rocks are submerged, so watch your approach.
jetty2.jpg jetty.jpg
 

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Also, please take more trash back with you than you take if you find any. That is something we ALWAYS do. The broken glass bottles in the sand over the last few years has put a damper on a lot folks day! Including me and a lot of my family.
(beware of that to BTW, keep a look out) I don't understand why people are so irresponsible with glass beer bottles!

Don't get me wrong the place is not trashy, just has random trash here and there. Other than that, one of our most frequented places in the summer months and we love it!!
 
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