Saturday, August 31, 2013

S.C. Memorial Reef - implementation update

The Red Box marks the location of the S.C. Memorial Reef

The S.C. Memorial Reef has been in the planning stages since 2009, raising funds to put in place a brand new offshore artificial reef. Installation of reef materials was set for August of 2013, but has now been pushed back into September. The offshore location is in 350-feet of water. The premise of the Memorial Reef is to provide a protected fishing area for the loved ones of offshore enthusiasts who have passed away. The offshore fishing community has been holding fundraisers each summer at the Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series. Each year the S.C. Memorial Reef auction coincides with the Carolina Billfish Classic at Toler’s Cover Marina near Sullivan’s Island. Gold Bug Island is the site of the auction and tickets include food, drinks, a band and a lively silent and live auction for the sake of bluewater conservation. Some offshore boat owners are stepping up like Gage Blue from the Sadie Beth who donated 19 shipping containers to the reef project. The value of the containers is $16,500 but the long-term value of these as artificial reef structures on the ocean floor is immeasurable. Mr. John Hill from the El Tejano contributed $10,000 towards the cost of towing the materials out to sea later in August. Stevens Towing is donating time to weld much of the donated structure together before towing it to sea. Items like a crane and radio tower will provide the vertical structure that is so essential for the baitfish that inhabit these artificial reefs. Two 270-foot long barges will be sunk to serve as the footprint for the S.C. Memorial Reef. Captain Stevie Leasure, co-owner of the sportfisher named Summer Girl, is one of those dedicated volunteers. Leasure is willing to stand in front of an audience to make a pitch for donations towards the reef, and to be the point man for the reef. The reef is a Type II MPA, or Marine Protected Area. The area is located more than 50 miles out from Charleston, and is a 4 by 6-mile area that has been approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources now holds the reef permit, and when completed it will be the deepest reef on the Atlantic Coast.

To find out more about how to contribute visit the Internet at

To read more of my feature article on the S.C. Memorial Reef click on All At Sea.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thinking Fishy with DOA Lures founder Mark Nichols

Flounder on a DOA shrimp for Mark Nichols
DOA baitbuster and DOA shrimp rigged and ready

Recreational fishing is one of the great American freedoms that anglers pursue with a passion. Unfortunately, only those who work in the industry get to go fishing as much as they'd like. So when Captain Mark Nichols creates his DOA Lures he keeps the average angler’s quest for fishing success in mind. These soft plastic baits are made in the USA and branded Deadly On Anything. Growing up in Texas, Nichols' uncle and father ran shrimp boats in Galveston Bay, Matagorda and the Gulf of Mexico. In 1989, he took the observations from his youth into account when he set out to create his own fishing lure. The result was the launch of one of the most successful and often copied artificial shrimp on the market. Residing in Stuart, Florida near the St. Lucie Inlet, Captain Nichols is fortunate to test his lures against large trout and snook, plus more seasonal species that migrate through. The fishing success has been muted during the summer of 2013, and many locals observe that tainted runoff from nearby Lake Okeechobee is filtering down the St. Lucie River and harming the grass beds that attract and hold bait and fish. Nature and fishing have always been therapy in life for Nichols. When not spending time with wife Jenny and their dog Morris, Nichols can be found fishing. On a deeper note, Nichols offers a positive example to those fortunate enough to fish with him, and I for one am grateful for his counsel and guidance.
Mark Nichols wading the flats for snook and trout

To view the rest of my feature article on Marck Nichols click All At Sea.

To view blog entries from the 14th D.O.A. Outdoor Writers event click here.

Fishing with Mark Nichols and DOA in 2013 
was a hard luck experience due to tainted waters

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

2013 Red Snapper Round Up

Red Snapper from Hilton Head Boathouse
Tres Hombres from Manatee Mac in Hilton Head
August saltwater fishing included  a special three-day season on red snapper. Offshore bottom fishing enthusiasts had their chance after a two-year ban on red snapper fishing that was lifted for only 72 hours. It is becoming clear to anglers and observers that the ocean no longer holds a limitless abundance of seafood for both commercial and recreational fishermen. Scientists determined that red snapper were being overfished, and they acted at the federal level to halt the harvest of red snapper. This closure was deemed the first step to nurture a return to sustainability of these slow growing and highly sought after gamefish. The three-day mini season for recreational anglers was August 23, 24 and 25. Typical August weather with sunshine, high temps and light winds created favorable conditions for going offshore on the first two days of the season, but a Northeast wind made for a rough ocean on the final day. The mini season established a bag limit of one red snapper per angler with no minimum size limit. Anglers were invited by SCDNR to participate in several ways to relay information from their harvested red snapper, which might enhance the 2014 stock assessment for this species. Anglers can drop off fish racks (carcasses) at SCDNR freezers at locations along the coast, or they can go online and take a red snapper survey about where their fishing occurred and relay size info regarding both harvested red snapper and any other red snapper caught and released.

Lady angler Karen Poots says that youth
Ben Freeman caught one larger than hers
To view info on the recent S.C. gag grouper record click Bass Pro.

To view the latest Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Report click here.

Beaufort Sportfisher Club had success

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2013 Wildlife Food Plots; Better Late Than Never

Develop game strips between ag fields and woodlands
Adding seed to the spreader is one step in the food plot process

So far in August portions of the Lowcountry have seen less rain, allowing for some agricultural practices to resume. It has been so wet that farmers could not cut hay, grow cotton, harvest corn or plant food plots for wildlife. Just as there was a window to plant the corn crop in late spring, there seems to be a window now to plant for wildlife. Planting late for deer and doves today, will provide hunting opportunities down the road that are still 'right on time.' One thing for sure is that property managers are all in the same boat when it comes to the wet conditions. Perhaps waterfowl impoundment managers have had it the worst, trying to drain wetlands for planting that are continually being flooded by rain. Even common practices like mowing access roads was limited in June and July due to soft conditions and swamps overflowing their normal confines. The break in the weather may be short-lived with tropical rains possibly skirting through in September. The first order of business is to use a bushhog to mow any food plots or game strips that may be grown up. Then disc the cuttings into the dirt and let them rot for at least a week, lest the vegetation cause seed germination rates to plummet. Before planting remember to use the tractor spreader to add 10-10-10 fertilizer to the areas to be planted, and then disc that in. Iron clay peas are a popular item with deer and with the moisture content already in the soil, the peas are sure to jump up out of the ground almost as fast as whitetails will be waiting to mow them down. Try planting some other seed in with the peas that will develop grain later such as sorghum. Browntop millet is a good bet for attracting doves, and works well in strips in conjunction with corn or sunflowers. Broadcast the millet on the dirt and lightly disc it in, just so the doves don’t come and clean up all of your seed. Any browntop planted now will most likely produce plenty of seed by the Thanksgiving dove season. Finally, game strips around the borders of fields or throughout the woodlands can be an effective tool to create premium wildlife habitat. These game strips offer cover to smaller birds like quail and doves, and also creates more natural edge habitat that wildlife frequent.

Fertilizer is necessary with any wildlife planting

For past blog entries about food plot planting for wildlife click here.
Chufa in hand, and soon to be underground

Saturday, August 24, 2013

2013 Oakley Redfish Tour - Charleston Open

Team Rupert and Rupert with their winning fish !!
Wade Lyon displays the heaviest redfish!!
The second stop on the 2013 Oakley Redfish Tour came to St. John's Yacht Harbor on John's Island. The 2013 Charleston Open saw 43 two-man teams compete for a first place prize boat, motor and trailer, and cash prizes too. Each team was given a pair of Oakley sunglasses and a pair of Wright and McGill fishing rods. Wet weather greeted the anglers shortly after dawn, but the calm conditions were good for fishing with artificial lures. Tourney rules stipulate that all redfish must be alive and in the legal slot limit at weigh-in, and also released alive. Weighmaster Tim Cooper from Texas did a great job of using  a pinch-tail measurement for length while handling all the redfish. Mark Jones directed the redfish over to the Oakley stage for a video interview and to weigh the fish. Of course not all of the teams caught fish, but of the dozen or so teams that weighed in fish it was Rupert and Rupert that won the event with their two-fish aggregate weight of 8.32-pounds - good enough to win the boat package worth $30,000. Addison Rupert told me that this was the father and son duo's best finish since the IFA Tour at Shem Creek. The 18-foot Mako boat was donated by tourney sponsor Bass Pro Shops. For a list of all the results, click Oakley Redfish Tour. Second place goes to Team Rose and Szlam. Heaviest redfish and $1000 goes for a 4.78-pound red caught by Captain Chris Floyd fishing with Wade Lyon of Mt. Pleasant. Congrats to all the anglers that caught fish, since using artificial lures is a very sporting endeavor when so much live bait is readily available in the estuary.
Team Big Bear Rods Chuck Delorme and Bootsie Wilson

Oakley Redfish Tour big rig and Mako boat

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wild Horses of Corolla / OBX

Stunning imagery awaits nature enthusiasts in the N. Outer Banks 4X4 ONLY zone

Curritcuk Lightouse and wild horses are in Corolla
If one is a confirmed beachgoer and appreciates nature, then the northern Outer Banks in N.C. offers a unique viewing opportunity. While much of the well known Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills area is developed with strip malls and chain stores, the best kept secret lies North. In a truly four-wheel drive area known as Corolla, one can tour this extensive sand dune system and glimpse free roaming wild horses. Hopping aboard a vintage Toyota Land Cruiser with guide Jay Bender from Corolla Outback Adventures, I was keen to see the 4X4 zone where wild horses prospered. We traversed eleven miles of pristine beachfront and it became clear why each tour lasts at least two hours. While there are some houses along the beach in this area, none of them can be accessed without four-wheel drive vehicles, since no paved streets exist here. Lying just below the Virginia state line, this area was also vulnerable to developers who wanted to divide all of it into small parcels. But it was the wild horses of Corolla that instigated conservationists to rally, protecting the harmony that has existed in nature between the horses and dunes for decades. A dividend from these preservation efforts is an area that still portrays the wild ecosystem tied to the remoteness of the Outer Banks. Bender grew up in Corolla and his family began offering tours of the area in 1962. When the idea of conservation easements came to the area, it was Bender who used his local connections to help landowners and organizations get together to form pockets of protected areas. “We have exclusive access to a 140-acre tract near Corova Beach Park because Corolla Outback Adventures partners with the Wild Horse Fund to manage the area, which used to be a cattle grazing pasture,” said Bender. Besides a lesson in ecology and history, this tour also serves up a reminder of how proper planning can preserve our natural resources for future generations to enjoy! Thankfully, residents of the Lowcountry understand and embrace conservation, and I can easily recommend the Corolla Outback a worthy endeavor.
To view my feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about the Outer Banks of N.C. click here
'Yota' is the vintage LandCruiser we secured for our 4X4 tour

A pair of horses in the Wild Horse Fund protection area

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Report - 8/20/2013

Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina:
Team No Name and a nice blackfin tuna 
Charleston Inshore: Shane Clevenger at the West Ashley Charleston Angler says that cool weather in August doesn't make much sense to anglers, but that it sure has the inshore bite on fire. Water temps have dropped almost 10-degrees in certain areas, and summer's hot grip has loosened on the Lowcountry a bit. Pop-up thunderstorms have some anglers, the ones that wade the flats for redfish, scratching their heads about when is safe to go. Shane reports that a good option is to stay on land and try some good ole bass fishing with the new LunkerFrog that he brough back from the ICAST show in Vegas. The LunkerFrog is realistic looking, retrieves well and has a weedless hook design. Stop by and speak to Shane for the full description of acrobatic jumps and blowups he has witnessed while using this lure. For all the latest seminar information visit the Internet at The Charleston Angler.

Scott Hammond from Haddrell's Point West can be heard giving his war cry for Tar-pooooooon!! Yes, the tarpon are here and the latest reports include good numbers of these majestic visitors. Tarpon are being found around inlets everyday, especially in hotspots like North Edisto inlet, the Charleston jetties, and from Price's inlet to Bulls Bay. Live baits like mullet and menhaden are the preferred option, but do not hesitate to target them with blue crab or large chunk baits. Trout continue to produce solid catch numbers inshore though most are juvenile fish. Live shrimp or minnows under a popping float is Scott's can't fail option but a Zman Paddlerz in Mulletron or Pinfish coloration are deadly on a standard 1/4-ounce jighead. Redfish continue to be very structure oriented especially at low tide, and they are chewing on cut mullet and Gulp shrimp. High tides are producing good sightings of tailing reds and a Zman Ultra Shrimp rigged weedless have been the best choice lately for hooking up. Sheepshead are readily available using fiddler crabs around pilings and rocks. For some splashy action, look for the schooling bluefish cruising the harbor on a falling tide. For all the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Haddrell's Point.

Beaufort Inshore: Craig at the NEW Buck, Bass N Beyond shares that the redfish bite is off a little bit with all of the fresh rainwater in the creeks, but that the surf bite is going strong using live mullet and menhaden. Customers report a few trout being caught on live shrimp fished under corks, and even though these fish are small, the stage is set for an increase in size come September. The tarpon bite is excellent in the Broad River right now, and the abundant menhaden in the area is the bait of choice. The flounder gigging at night has been very productive when you can find clear water in between downpours. Craig himself stuck a flattie and a sheepshead with his bow! Check out the latest updates at Buck, Bass N Beyond.

Offshore: Scott shares that trolling reports for wahoo are consistent in 130 to 300-feet of water, with a decent sailfish bite going on in 250 to 450-feet of water. A few slinger dolphin can be found in 110 to 150-feet of water. The king bite has been good in 85 to 110-feet of water, and congrats to Stray Dog for winning the Fishing For Miracles tourney. Bottom fishing reports include trigger fish and vermillion snapper coming from 80 to 120-feet of water and grouper in 90 to 150-feet of water, including the new S.C. state record gag grouper!

To view past Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Reports click here.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lighthouses of North Carolina / OBX

Ocracoke Island Lighthouse
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
One of the visual treats of visiting the N.C. OBX is viewing the storied lighthouses that guard this tricky stretch of coastline. Mostly a ribbon of sandy spits, any visitor with on-the-water navigational experience can see that much of the area is shallow, with only a few well-marked channels that are safe for boat traffic. At night the lighthouses warn of larger obstacles, and by day they reward visitors with a  real life history lesson, and even a chance to climb their stairs. Driving to the Outer Banks involves running down hundreds of miles of highway, and THEN the OBX offers about 200-miles more to tour the lighthouses as I did from Ocracoke Island to Corolla - Whew! There is lots of unspoiled beachfront coastline along the way with plenty of bird life and maritime habitat too. Still it's the marine focus of the OBX that makes the lighthouse culture so important to this area. I viewed Ocracoke lighthouse, Cape Hatteras lighthouse, Bodie Island lighthouse and Currituck lightouse. The current Ocracoke lighthouse was built in 1832 and is the second-oldest lighthouse in the nation. The non-rotating light is 75-feet above sea level and can be seen 14 miles away, and is owned and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. The Cape Hatteras lighthouse was established in 1870, and is the tallest lighthouse in the U.S. and can be seen from 20 miles away. This lighthouse was famously moved back from the shoreline in 1989, and is open to the public today offering 268-steps to the top for a panoramic view of the OBX. The Bodie Island lighthouse was built in 1872 and is located nearer to Roanoke Sound than front beach and is in close proximity to Oregon Inlet. The Curritcuk lighthouse went into service in 1875, and offers 214 steps for the public to climb overlooking the northern OBX coastline.
Ferry ride lighthouse mural 
Currituck Lighthouse

To view past blog entries from the Outer Banks of N.C. click here.

Bodie Island Lighthouse

Saturday, August 17, 2013

2013 Fishing For Miracles / Stray Dog wins

Second Place Betty Lou II with a 37.64-King
High Maintenance brings in a nice HOO
Day Two of the 20th anniversary of the Fishing For Miracles king mackerel tourney was fished under much calmer conditions and even a bit of sunshine. However, the top three fish from Friday held up with Stray Dog taking first place, Betty Lou II in second and Fish Hunter taking third place. Of course this tourney pays a cash prize to the top twenty places, and a smattering of top ten fish were brought in on Day Two. Team No Patience weighed a 36.08-pound king to seize fourth place, knocking Like-2-Fish in to fifth with their 36.04-pounder from Friday. Mondo takes sixth with a 35.20-pound king, and The Pursuit is in seventh with a 34.65-pound smoker. Juggernaut finished in eigth place with a 34.54-pound king. Eren's Addiction Too weighed in their ninth place king on Saturday that went 33.81-pounds. Knot@Work and birthday boy Andrew Olsen helped to bring in the 33.75-pounder that rounded out the Top Ten. Choosing to fish only on Saturday was Team No Name, and Captain Todd Baxley and angler Kathy calmly took the eleventh spot with a 33.65-pound King and had a nice blackfin tuna in the boat bag as well. A few wahoo were weighed in at FFM this year in a new Hoo calcutta division, just one of the positive changes instigated by new tourney director John Gourdin of CCA. This weigh in had a European flavor with croissants and beignets at the weigh station; Bon Appetite.

To view past blog entries from Fishing For Miracles click 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.

Todd Baxley and angler Cathy show how its done

Eren Bracewell with her KING from Eren's Addiction Too

Friday, August 16, 2013

2013 Fishing For Miracles - Day One Fishing

Day One leader from Stray Dog weighed 39.76-pounds
Lady Angler Jill Seager with Pursuit's 34.65-king and 33.39 HOO
The 20th annual Fishing For Miracles tourney got underway with a Captain's Meeting at Ripley Light Yacht harbor on August 15. Fishing conditions on the 16th were rainy and tropical, with the weigh-in running from 2 until 5 on Friday. Lots of great fish in the 30-pound class were weighed in but the elusive 40-pound barrier was not broken. In the Day One lead is angler Bill Rosengarten fishing on the Stray Dog out of Beaufort with Captain Chris Rosengarten. In second place is Craig Wilson with a 37.64-pound king from the Betty Lou II, a 22-foot Pro Sports boat. Third place is a 36.90-pound king weighed in by Melvin Knight aboard Fish Hunter, a 23-foot Palmetto boat. Fourth place is angler Bose Picquet with a 36.04-pound king caught from Like-2-Fish. Fifth place is a 34.65-pound king caught on The Pursuit, and their lady angler Jill Seager also weighed in a nice wahoo. This year's fleet is 125-boats strong!

To view past blog entries from Fishing For Miracles click 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.

20th Annual Fishing For Miracles T-shirt artwork

Fish Hunter brings their king in a Sea Bag cooler

2013 Pirate's Cove Tourney - Results / OBX

Leading tuna from JABEZ on Day Three
Sea Toy unloads their blue marlin for the crowd to see
Thursday August 15 was Day Three of the 30th Annual Pirate's Cove Billfish Tourney, and it yielded the second blue marlin to be brought to the scales during the 2013 event. Sea Toy brought their blue marlin to the scales late in the day, and while it measured long enough to be legal, it did not weigh but 325-pounds which is not enough to take over first place in the heaviest blue marlin class. The Day One 400.1-pound blue marlin from Rigged Up continues to be the heaviest billfish weighed in at the 2013 Pirate's Cove tourney. Charleston-based JABEZ weighed in a nice 68.8-pound yellowfin tuna for angler Tad Cannon to take first place for tuna - Congrats. Sportin' Life wins the dolphin category with their Day One 42-pound mahi for angler Trey Thomas, and Lee Martin from the Double B won the wahoo category with a 53.7-pound HOO. The Day Three release rate took a significant jump up; including 'Safari' releasing a grand slam: blue marlin, white marlin and a sailfish!! The tourney has 46 boats in it and after Day Three they talled 224 total releases; 11 blue marlin, 201 white marlin, and 13 sailfish. It was after the Day Three of fishing that anglers enjoyed the Release Marine fighting chair competition in the Pirate's Cove Marina pavillion. Day Four of fishing on Friday Aug. 17 saw conditions that were almost too rough for fishing and only a handful of boats fished.

To view past blog entries from the 2013 Pirate's Cove tourney click here.

Category 1 - Team Award
1stSniperJimmy Bayne (Angler)1400$52,371
2ndSea ToyBull Tolson (Captain)1050$31,423
3rdSafariKevin Gaylord (Captain)1050$20,948
These are the FINAL results for the Top Boats at 2013 Pirate's Cove!
Sniper won it with 17 white marlin releases and one blue marlin release!
Sponsor Blue Coast apparel are dog lovers too!

Rainbow Row - Pirate's Cove Style!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Kill Devil Hills - First in Flight / OBX

Mega-size kite/windsock flying over dunes in Kill Devil Hills
Wright Brothers launching from a wooden rib off the dunes
Upon arrival at my lodging destination in the Outer Banks, it became crystal clear why Kill Devil Hills was selected by the Wright Brothers to launch their aerodynamic designs. This area is home to the tallest sand dunes on the East Coast and they are largely without vegetation, and offer a perfect take off and landing test area. The Jockey Ridge Dune is now a state park where locals and tourists go to fly kites or even to practice hang-gliding. The Wright Brothers National Memorial is just another mile up the road with a monument and museum providing a continuous educational effort about the history that was made on the then-remote Outer Banks of North Carolina. Launching their glider down a wooden rib, a rough-running motor provided enough thrust to combine with the steady winds to make their plane frame fly. While the first few attempts were not successful due to steering errors since this had never been tried before, the trial and error system worked eventually and the rest is aviation history. One graph in the museum shows that mankind went from first flight to space flight in 66 years! When staying at the front beach Days Inn be sure to book Room 208, and consult with the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau.

To view past blog entries from the OBX click here.
Neat museum and monument are here

Good map depicting Kill Devil Hills breezy location

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

2013 Pirate's Cove Tourney - Day One / OBX

Rigged Up and their blue marlin on Day One at Pirate's Cove
Pirate's Cove Resort
The 30th anniversary of the Pirate's Cove Billfish Tournament got underway on Tuesday August 13 in sunny and flat calm conditions. The days biggest story developed very early when Rigged Up got hooked up when a nice blue marlin ate on offering from KP baits at 9:45 a.m. with angler David Biggs on the rod. Captain Charles Haywood and first mate Alexander Graham pulled all the right moves to  catch the fish and then took a gamble when they decided to gaff and land this blue marlin. The Pirate's Cove rules stipulate that a legal blue marlin measure 110-inches OR weigh at least 400-pounds. Rigged Up knew that their blue marlin was 'short' but they figured it could beat 400-pounds, so they took immediate action and headed back into port at 10:45. Weighing in their fish before 1 p.m. the Rigged Up's blue marlin went 400.1-pounds and was thus declared a legal fish. They were the only boat to kill a blue marlin on Day One at Pirate's Cove. Manteo-based Sniper is in the Day one points lead with 700 points followed by Trophy Hunter and then Rigged Up. In the meatfish categories it was South Carolina boat Sportin' Life weighing in a 42.0-pound mahi to lead that category. For yellowfin tuna it was Rigged Up leading with a 66.4-pounder, and no wahoo were weighed in. Day One billfish release totals include 46 total releases with 10 blue marlin, 34 white marlin and two sailfish. Lots of sponsors / vendors are on site with the latest fishing gear like Sperry shoes, so be sure to check out the new Sea Kite sport moc.

To view past blog entries from Pirate's Cove click here.

Sportin' Life Day One Leading Mahi

Ed Sabo from Murrell's Inlet with his 58-pound tuna

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ocracoke Island report / OBX

At the end of the road on Ocracoke Island
Ocracoke Lighthouse in southernmost Dare County
Visiting the North Carolina Outer Banks can mean different things to visitors. Time at the beach is always a great way to spend a day, or spending time on the water in a boat or personal watercraft are other pursuits. Flying a kite, crabbing, bird watching and shopping are all on the menu. Coming into the OBX via Highway 64 brings you to Roanoke Island and Manteo. From there the OBX trail either leads North to Corolla or South to Hatteras and Ocracoke. Making the fateful turn to the south, and driving a further 60-miles brought me to the end of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and poised for a free ferry ride to Ocracoke Island. The state of NC runs the ferry that departs Hatteras for Ocracoke every 30 minutes. The short ferry ride lasts just 20 minutes and brings any island hopper to the sandy spit of land at the northern end of Ocracoke, offering a 13-mile drive to the inhabited southern end of the island. What I found at the end of the journey is a unique and hard-to-find island lifestyle and vibe that is hanging on at Ocracoke, with plenty of charter fishing boats hard at work. The first stop was to eat at SmackNally's, the restaurant with food so good it will make you smack yo momma! Fresh fish sandwiches and Red Stripe beer while dining in the sun makes one feel like they are on an island - but wait, you are on an island, and relatively far away from the mainland too. A visit to the historic Ocracoke lighthouse was next, with plenty of quaint harbor views to be found along the way. A bustling economy includes restaurants, tackle shops, ice cream stops and trinket shops - with lots of smiles to go around since everyone is on 'Island time.' To make a long story short, Ocracoke Island is a place that I never knew existed since I had not toured the OBX, and I give it my highest recommendation for those wanting to explore our coastal heritage in a pristine and natural setting!
Anchorage Marina lunch right on the charter docks!

To view past blog entries from the OBX click here

Inbound and outbound ferry service