had the pleasure of fishing with Bill Kulp in North Carolina for a few days in November. Bill moved to North Carolina three years ago and he knows how and where to find fish with his 21 foot boat. We fished along the coast near Cape Lookout National Seashore.
We were on a quest for false albacore but they were uncharacteristically absent for most of our time on the water. Fortunately, the red drum and sea trout were plentiful. We fished mostly chartreuse half & half clouser/deceivers that I tied on size 2 hooks. We used 10-wt rods with full sinking lines. Bill switched once in awhile to a spin rod but he landed all his best fish on flies. We could not count how many sea trout we landed, mostly gray (weakfish) and some spotted trout, all good sized over the Cape Lookout shoals.
The drum were the biggest fish we landed. In addition, we landed a variety of sea dwellers including flounder, lizard fish, pompano, cow nose ray, skate, mullet, and lots of small blues. We lost a few nice fish due to a broken hook point that happened to me twice and Bill once…not sure how that was happening?
The second day we sought out a different area looking for albies. We were fishing in 50-60′ of water over a shipwreck or some sort of structure. Letting my line sink into the depths, I hooked and landed a really nice gray trout, the biggest of the trip. I also caught a pompano with a shark bite. Bill hooked into a big fish that actually took his line to the bottom and wrapped up on the structure, breaking his fly line! Not sure what fish that was? We did not luck into any albies.
Later that morning we were drifting along Shackleford Banks. Bill landed a nice drum and I kept catching bluefish. Then Bill spotted albacore that were surfacing near the shore! He positioned the boat to drift through the area. The albies were bursting here and there and at one brief time we appeared to be surrounded by them. Unfortunately, at the moment I needed to be casting to the albies, I was trying to unhook a feisty blue — and in my haste to flip my fly into the frenzy of albies beside the boat, my line wrapped into a tangle around the tip of my rod. I actually had to pull my fly away from the attacking fish to save my rod from being broken! That was my only shot at the breaking fish as the albies seemed to disappear as quickly as they appeared. Bill did hook an albie that streaked the line from his reel. He had the brute on the line for a minute or so before the hook pulled loose!
Luck was not with us that morning. We caught more blues and some small trout on our way back to the take-out. We only fished the morning as I had to drive back to Maryland that day. It was an outstanding time with some really nice fish landed. Saltwater fly fishing really is exciting, you never know what will smack your fly next!
By Dan Neuland