In Eastern NC, the bucks are trotting 10 minutes before its completely dark. I've had to stand and shoot in the offhand position many times. Here's a little inexpensive modification I make to the gun to shoot faster and more accurately. Plus it's just more comfortable.
Materials: * Gorilla Camo Tape (It soft with a
* 1/4' pipe insulation
Cut and build a cheek rest using one, two, or three layers of pipe insulation (depending on your comfort and alignment). Secure to the gun and cover it with the duct tape.
This will give you a 3/4' rise, and a 3' wide cheek rest. It has helped me steady my aim, and get a faster lock on the gun when pulling up for a shot. It's soft and comfortable and cost $8 to build. Try it for yourself and feel the difference! If it doesn't work for you, well $8 nothing to cry over.
Not a lot of rubs or scrapes, but bucks are on the move. Got one Saturday.
Franklin County bucks are on the move. Watched a small buck run through a cut-over at 4:45 pm on Oct. 30, and then shot this seven-pointer at 6:30 pm Halloween night. Buck was stinking with a bloated neck. This weekend will be great with the cold front coming in. Good luck!
My daughter Sarah got bit by the hunting bug last year with her first deer. It was a little doe and it was tender and delicious. Now she's 11, and just took her 2nd deer her 1st time out this season. The ice is broken, and I think we have a winner, a.k.a., hunter for life.
It has rained more this year than I could remember and we were happy that it was dry for opening day of gun season in Eastern North Carolina Oct. 13, 2012. It was cold that morning, but we didnt get a chance hunt setting up a yard sale that morning was more important. Wed do an evening hunt.
I asked if Sarah wanted to come with me this year again, and the reply was an enthusiastic, Yes!
Got our gear on and headed out to the land by 3:40 p.m. It was a good 50 minute drive and gave us time to talk. We talked about what was going on at school, upcoming projects, and where we would hunt. The weather was beautiful and it was nice to watch the countryside and the changing colors as we drove.
We got in our stand by 4:30 p.m., late for some people. Saw a rabbit and a couple of squirrels on our way in. Sitting side by side in the buddy stand, I spoke to her in whispers. I would tell her how to use her ears, and the difference between the sounds of a busy squirrel and a potential deer.
I saw movement behind us, and sure enough it was a doe. We stayed frozen like statues. The deer walked right under our stand just 5 yards away. If I were alone, I would have made my move then, but we sat still and patiently waited.
The doe walked past us and stopped about 50 yards out. It turned and looked straight at us, and we watched motionless. I whispered wait till it feeds and turns broad side, and then raise your gun to shoot.
I knew she was anxious, but listened to me. The doe kept its head down and started to move sideways perfect for a shot. I heard the soft click of the safety coming off and then the shot, Boom!
The doe went down in its tracks, kicked for a couple of seconds, and then stopped. Sarah was a bundle of nerves, but I did hear her say OW! This time she felt that 3 00 buck on her shoulder.
We climbed down, and she was so happy when we walked up to the doe. My daughter is a big fan of the Hunger Games, and she said, Its so cool to be a huntress, like the main character in the Hunger Games.
I thought to myself, If she keeps shooting like this she wont ever go hungry!
The Spanish Mackerel have shown up in good numbers at Atlantic Beach. Use #2 SeaStrike Planers, and 00 Clark Spoons early in the morning.
And as always 'Take A Kid Fishing!'
Went out Sunday, June 3, 2012, and picked up 46 fish in three hours off Atlantic Beach. Seven blue fish, and 39 Spanish Mackerel.
The 'Plastic Money', debarked out of Portside Marina around 8:15 a.m. It was cool and a light sweater was required. The winds were calm and blowing out of the Southwest.
Fresh salt air filled my nostrils, and what ever worries I had back in the real world came off like a prom dress on a date night.
We got our lines in by 8:30 a.m. and it wasn't two minutes of trolling with 00 Silver Clark Spoons that we boated our 1st fish.
The ice had been broken. Earlier that week, my niece went out with her dad and only picked up three. This weekend the bite was 'ON!'
Summer is here, and so are the Spanish. Most of our catch were females.
We trolled around 6-7 mph, didn't see birds. Our 1st hits were on silver spoons with planers down to 10', trolling in about 15' of water. As the day went on, they hit on rods and gold spoons.
Get out there and get some 'Wicked Spanish'....North Carolina Style.
When you find someone that does great work and is proud of what they do...word spreads fast. I just got my 2011 Buck and coyote pelt and I couldn't be happier.
I've been doing business with Pat for about three years and his stuff is top notch. Some of my friends switched to him, and say his mount's 'Rock!' Pat tans his own hides.
$350 for deer mount, and $100 for coyote pelt.
Thanks to Pat Nicholson's Taxidermy..another excellent job...he's a real artist. Elm City, NC (252) 236-4945.
Caught this buck half-stepping Saturday evening, and dropped him in his tracks with a neck shot at 84 yards. Thanks to the man above for giving the opportunity.
I'd been keeping up with what people have been talking about on the site. Does scent work? Does rattling work? Do doe bleats work? Does a grunt call work? Well everything works at least once, but I've put out scent at least 10 times and have not had deer interested in it. Deer did respond to calling & 'soft' rattling, and so did this 29 lb. 11 oz. coyote.
Have you ever been busted by deer, while climbing a tree in pitch darkness? Well that's what happened to me at 5:00 a.m....deer in the woods just 100 yards downwind blowing, whoosh, whoosh, and whoosh.
I had to pick the loudest noisiest loblolly pine in the world...and the night was dead quiet (sound travelled for miles). Needless to say I was staying and climbing, too late now.
When the light started to shine on the world, I was treated to the most beautiful view...an unpicked soy bean field with early morning frost, sandwiched with hardwoods on both side.
A fine mist was rising and snaking upwards. I could see red tobacco barns on the hill tops. Rolling hills with green grass and the field was perfect, secluded from the road and measured 350 yards long and 250 yards wide. A rooster crowed and cows were mooing in the distance.
I had this feeling in my stomach, today is the day 'big daddy' will show up. My eyes played tricks on me as I thought clumps of grass were deer laying directly in the soy beans as it became light.
I decide to grunt, soft rattle, and turn the doe bleat can a couple of times. Right at 6:45 a.m., through the brush I could see movement, it was a lone deer, but I still couldn't make out if it were a doe or buck.
It made a bee-line to me, and it was a buck! But not the one I was hoping for, it was a large cow horn. He passed directly beneath my tree and walked slowly into the hardwoods. My ticker was going now (I had the crosshairs on him).....I was thinking, big boys gotta be close behind. Cow horn came in to investigate the fight sounds.
I waited a while before calling again around 7:30 a.m. Out in the distance I could see something moving FAST through the soy bean like a shark through shallow water. At first I thought it was just a fox, but then realized it was a big coyote.
It never stopped, but turned towards me, and got in the only section of my view that had brush in it. I could still see it moving, but didn't have a shot. Then it stopped and started moving away on the trail that the cow horn came in on.
I though my chances were gone and didn't have anything to lose, so I pulled out that doe bleat can and turned it over twice quickly.
The coyote stopped in its tracks and headed back towards me, but I still had brush in the way and it was moving at a steady pace.
Finally there was hole in the brush the size of a watermelon and amazingly it stopped for just an instant....long enough for me to put the crosshairs on.....and 'BAM'!
That thing took off like a rocket about 25 yards and circled back into the hardwoods. Then two seconds later, I heard the familiar sound of the death rattle in dry leaves.
I looked at my watch and it said 7:45 a.m. and my wrist was shaking. I had gotten access to this new land because the land owner said take out every coyote I see. They have horses, goats, cats, dogs, and small children around.
O.K., so Mr. Big Buck didn't show up...but 1st thing this morning I was at Pat Nicholson's, my taxidermist, and I'm getting a beautiful pelt back in 4-months.
Coyote was shot at 12-yards with a 1952 Marlin 336RC 30-30, topped with a Nikon BDC scope...a fine tack driving combo. (custom trigger job at 2 lb., I might add)
Happy belated Thanksgiving to you all.
Nov. 5, 2011 (Sarahs 1st Deer)
I found a new route to our hunting grounds; it only takes us 37 minutes to get there now. Sarah, my 10-year old daughter, was asleep listening to NPR on the way there. We got to the land by 4:00 p.m., the weather was beautiful..cool and in the 50's. We had a slight breeze, and all the colors in the trees had changed, lots of fiery red/orange, yellows, and deep reds....just an fantastic change in the season.
We got our clothes on at the hunting grounds, Sarah wore some insulated ski pants, a long sleeve, her new camo sweater with pink piping, gloves, a harness, and a orange toboggan.
I carried her shotgun for her because it was heavy. We had to walk to the stand for about 10-15 minutes. We also had to cross a little creek, so she got on my back and I carried her across so she didn't get her feet wet, the creek was only 5' wide.
Once we got to the site, I set out some deer scent, estrus, about 50 yards in front of us. We were hunting a hard wood bottom with lots of birch trees surrounding us.
Sarah climbed up the 15' ladder stand. This stand is very stable and safe with a rail that goes 360 degree around us. It has a bench seat wide enough for two large adults.
Sarah wore a 5-point harness and was securely tied to the tree with a heavy duty strap. I had put a mesh screen all around the front to help hide movement a couple of days earlier too.
We sat and watched the tops of the trees sway in the wind, all the little leaves fluttering every now and then. The clean fresh air was refreshing, and it was nice and peaceful in the woods. We sat there side by side, my arms around her, and her head resting on my shoulder, real father and daughter time. We talked in soft whispers. I kissed her head often and told her how much I loved her.
This time I bought a cushioned pad so her but wouldn't hurt, and this was our second time in the woods together. It took practice for her not to move around too much, but being up high allowed us to see deer, keep our scent off the ground, and move a little without spooking game.
I was thinking, I'm glad that she took interest in hunting because our youth are the future of the sport.
Every now and then we would see a squirrel running across the ground. I told her to keep her ears open and listen for any rustling in the leaves. A deer will have a steady sound, shush, pause, shush, pause, shush...but a squirrel would be nonstop..shush shush shush shush, rustle...cackle squirrel bark...ack, ack, ack.
Sarah would doze off just a little, and it was a good sleep with the tree rocking ever so slightly back and forth. Sarah had her head down playing with her gloves when a huge hawk flew past us from behind just 5' from our heads and landed on a branch just 40 yards in front of us. It entertained us a little as we tried to get a good look at it through the branches.
Prime time was on us, 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and I could tell that she was getting bored and a little impatient. I reassured her that the deer would come, but they don't move until it's almost dark.
Sure enough at 6:30 p.m., we see something 60-70 yards in front of us, walking towards us. It's a deer I whispered in her ear. She whispered back I don't see it.....pause, 'Oh now I see it.'
I got her shotgun up and put it on the rail, and said softly, I'll tell you when to shoot O.K., she whispered O.K. I spoke to her before about how to aim the shotgun, the red dot and white dot have to be together, and put both dots on the deer right above the front shoulder, and wait until the deer turns sideways.
It seemed like forever, but that little doe came in and stood facing us with her head down eating. I whispered wait, wait, wait, wait. I could tell that she was getting nervous, her check pressed down against the stock, eye in a squint, shotgun pointed at the deer. Sarah's breathing was getting heavy.
After about 30 seconds, the doe finally turned broadside to us and started to walk just a little. This was the perfect angle, and I gently took the safety off the shotgun for her, and said, O.K., I want you to shoot on a count of three. She nodded her head without looking up.
One, two, three....BOOM! The doe went down immediately, and I put the gun on safe again. Sarah was ecstatic...'I got it! I got it!' she screamed. She was shaking and trembling from excitement. 'That was awesome!'
I told her she did a great job and that I'm very proud of her and we high fived. I said, Thank God baby I wasn't sure if you were going to shoot, but you did it. 'Fantastic!' I asked her was that exciting...and with a grin from ear to ear she said, 'Yep, sure was!'
We unhooked from the tree and climbed down. It was a pretty small deer, but that didn't matter. What mattered was that my daughter got her 1st one, broke the ice, and had a fantastic time with her dad in the deer woods. We said a little prayer of thanks, we hi fived, and got ready to get out of the woods. Sarah was pumped.
After we got the deer in the truck we headed to the local gas station to get a refreshing drink. Lots of pickup trucks, with young and old men wearing orange baseball hats hanging around. I paid for our drinks and mentioned to the clerk, 'My daughter got her first deer today.' That's great, good job the man replied as he looked at Sarah and handed me my change.
When we got to the house, I broke out my wallet and pulled out Sarah big game report card and called the number. I let Sarah answer the automated questions, and then she wrote down the numbers for her tag.
Now she didn't kill the kind of deer that would grace the cover of a magazine, or get wows and aah's of most hunters, but it was a beautiful day....and it was a great day for father and daughter time.
I told her next time, we will wait and we'll get something with horns. Sarah was excited about that prospect and said she'll be ready to go again. 'Hanging out with dad is cool,' she said, and that put a smile on my face.
Oct. 1, 2011- Good marksmanship is essential to being a successful hunter. But there are times when a miss is a good thing, and can be just as satisfying as getting one. It is a humbling experience, but at least we all come back with a good story to tell. There is value in all wildlife encounters, and here is my story.
We all have very busy lives, and have to make a sincere effort to get our little bit of time in the woods. I decided to cook for my friend and his family in return for allowing me to get a little time in stand on his property. Having a personal chef whip up something delicious in the kitchen wins lots of points trust me, its a fact. I love making a good meal and seeing friends enjoy it.
I dropped off my kids to play with his, and told his wife Id be in just after dark. My friend had gone to an NCSU football game and would be back around the same time in the evening. This would give me a couple of hours to hunt. He also told me that he saw a nice buck in the front field.
The property he has is beautiful. A soy bean field 300 yards wide with a pond to the South. The field is sandwiched by hardwoods on both sides, East and West. In the middle was a small island of hardwoods and thats exactly where I planned to climb a tree.
I got dressed at the truck, sprayed down thoroughly with no scent, strapped on my Summit climber, and grabbed my trusty old Kodiak Magnum with two home-made wood arrows.
I carefully walked around to the East side of the wooded island and found a way in. I climbed up an ash tree that was crooked at the bottom. I put out some scent and settled in.
It had rained Friday night, and the weather had cooled off significantly. There was a good breeze and that kept the mosquitoes at bay so I didnt have to use the Thermacell. It is a great product, but I do believe deer can smell it.
There was a little creek that ran down into the pond. It went right through the little wooded island. I didn't see any deer signs, but it just looked like a place that they could enter quietly and not be noticed. This was a perfect staging areas for them to wait until it got dark.
Every now and then I would blow the grunt call. I made calls from a young buck, and then the doe. I had to take my shooting glove off to press down on the soft plastic of the call. I blew at 5:30 p.m., and then again at 6:00 p.m.
By 6:25 p.m., I saw deer moving in the field. There were too many leaves on the trees for me to see out far, so it was going to have to be very close shot. There were a couple of holes in the foliage for me to shoot through if a deer were to walk around the island.
Three does and one cow horned buck that came right in. The buck stopped at around 25 yards and I took a shot. I didn't concentrate well and didn't have my foot positioning right. The bow was so quiet that it did not spook the deer at all. He jumped, but didn't go far.
I could still see him, and his body was exposed. A limb was blocking his eyesight so he couldn't see me. I loaded up another arrow, and drew taking careful aim this time. Again I missed, and the bow still didn't spook these deer. They came in cautiously, but it was game over for me .all I could do was enjoy the show.
The buck had not a care in the world and started to thrash a small bush 10 yards in front of me, and then a big doe walked right underneath me. They did not go to the scent I had set out, and they did not notice my dropped plastic bag with a scent bottle in it.
Two other does stayed in the path around the island, and the second doe looked up and saw me. She knew something wasn't right, didn't blow, but just took off trotting away.
Wow what an adrenaline rush! To be that close to deer, and have eight eyes right beneath me. It was an awesome end to the day, but no deer.
That's fine with me because I didnt have to drag a deer out of the woods, clean it that night, and probably didnt spook off the big one. I still had plenty of sunshine left to scout around.
I made an awesome dinner for my friend that evening, had time to play with the kids, and was able to share my story. Hopefully that big buck will still be around when rifle season is in, and hopefully I will be telling you a different story then.
Hind sight being 20/20, I should have waited a little longer and those deer would have been 10 yards closer, but I have no problems with missing deer with the bow, because sometimes a miss is a good thing.
Ive been around for about 43 years now, and one thing Ive learned is fashions and trends never die, they just get recycled every 10 years. I call it the, Everything old will be new again theory. So goes my first hunt, first shot, and first deer of the 2011 North Carolina season.
This was my first time in the deer woods and I dusted off my early 1970s Bear Kodiak Magnum 55 lb. glass powered recurve. I had made two nice wooden arrows tipped with 125 grain Steel Force glue on broad heads. These wooden arrows are heavy and weigh approximately 600 grains each. Arrows were dressed out in NCSU colors, so go Wolf Pack.
The weather had cooled down significantly that Saturday afternoon. Last Thursday the high was up in the 90s, and Friday morning I drove to work through a brisk 57 F! It had been raining, and the clouds had rolled in threatening showers for the day.
I had not been scouting, but knew this little bottle neck in the woods that was a perfect spot to set up in. I was excited and looked forward to just spending some relaxing time and self reflecting in the woods. Things had been hectic lately, and hunting is cheaper and more therapeutic than a $200/hr shrink.
We bow hunters are a ritualistic bunch and have our own little routines. We dress outside, wash our clothes in no scent detergent, and shower with no scent soap. We do everything that it takes to reduce our scent signatures. Yet with all the meticulous steps and planning, I always forget something. This time it was my shooting glove, so now I had to shoot with bare fingers.
I put out a scent wick with some 2-drop supreme a little upwind from the area I was hunting, and then I climbed up a nice straight young pine about 12-14 feet. I didnt want to get too high because of all the leaves and branches, and the recurve was limited on range.
A beautiful red fox ran by just 30-yard directly in front of me after a mere 30 minutes of sitting. It was beautiful, with red fur on its sides, dark gray fur in the middle, and the tail was tipped with black. The wind was picking up, and it was nice and cool. I remember I did not break in sweat at all walking the 200 yards in, and knew this was going to be a good day.
Time slowly ticked by as I sat motionless, scanning the woods for movement with my eyes going from left to right. A squirrel feeding at eye level just 15 yard in front of me kept me entertained.
That little bushy tail would stand on its hind legs and grab berries and eat. Then it would hang upside down like a monkey and eat. It is funny how one passes the time watching the littlest things when youre in the woods. I was surprised that the squirrels were not on the ground looking for food, but would rather gather something to eat up in the trees.
By 5:30 p.m. I heard my 1st buzz of a mosquito the size of a cricket. I quickly turned on my ThermaCell, and all is good with the world again. The wind must have died down a little as well.
It was now 6:30 p.m., and I saw movement directly in front of me just 40-50 yards away. It was a buck moving from right to left on a trail in front of me. He disappeared into the thick woods, and I slowly got into the standing position waiting for him to show up again.
Then from the left corner of my eye I saw movement. There were two does walking, stopping, and feeding up a path that was to my left. They moved at a normal pace and had no idea they were being watched. Sunlight was starting to leave me fast, and I wanted to wait for that buck to come back, but hunting with the recurve is a game of opportunity. So, I had an opportunity to harvest a doe, and thats exactly the decision I made.
The two does were walking from left to right, and when the bigger one paused long enough in an opening. I was able take a deep breath and draw my bow. She had turned completely broadside to me.
Replays of past failures flashed through my mind. I had missed on a nice doe at 15-yards last year because I thought she was out farther and aimed high. The arrow sailed over her back. Everything looks different when youre up in a tree above 12 feet.
I kept saying BRASS in my mind, Breath, Relax, Aim, Sight, Squeeze, just replace squeeze with smooth finger release.
I could see the arrow flying straight towards the two deer, and it looked like a good clean shot. The two does bolted in opposite directions. Looking down at my watch, it was 6:45 p.m. As always, I thought I had missed. When I got down on the ground to where the two deer where, I couldnt find my arrow and thought it might had just buried deep in the ground. The ground was wet from all the rain.
For some reason I decided to walk and look for my arrow in the direction the larger doe ran. I didnt find my arrow, but did find her lying on the ground just 35-40 yards from where she was shot. I was so happy, and looked up and thanked God. Taking anything with the recurve is a gift.
The entry wound was slightly above her right front shoulder, and the exit wound was well behind the opposite rib cage. When I looked at her closely it did seem like I got both lungs and grazed the heart. Im guessing my arrow travelled around 175 to 190 fps, and she probably jumped the string a little, this was why she was hit quartering to and not a 100% broadside.
I was able to pace out the distance from where she was shot and it came out to be 23 yards. It was getting dark and I got out of the woods by 7:00 p.m.
The next morning I went out and found my arrow. It was intact and laying on the ground just 15 yards from the point of impact. It didnt have much blood on it, but then I did remember putting about 8-12 layers of clear coat on it. No liquid would ever stick to those arrows. It must have stayed in and got pulled out as she ran.
Id had that old Bear bow for about 10 years and have killed a couple of deer with it. Its probably older than me. I did notice how the popularity of traditional archery is making a comeback. Id often wondered if that bow could talk what stories would it tell, would it say to me Everything old is new again. Although an archer may shoot a million times, every shot is a new beginning. I dont know, I just know that Im very happy with my 1st hunt, 1st shot, and 1st deer of the 2011 season.
May 11, 2011-I could smell the smoke from the fires in Dare County; it made it feel like there was a haze in the air. It was cool and I had been doing 3 hours of yard work for the past two days, so today is going to be a fishing day before it rains for the next 5 days if the weather man is right.
I made it out the driveway with the boat hooked up by 5:30 p.m. and decided to hit the Tar River Reservoir instead of Sapony Creek. Ill stop by my favorite bait shop ELs and get some medium minnows, a.k.a. crack for crappies. No go .ELs was closed, which was very unusual. Im going have to do it all with jigs, thats fine, I like working the reel.
Pulled in the boat launch parking lot and to my surprise there was only one boat trailer there. I saw two boats vertical fishing around the supports to the Bend of The River Bridge. I took a right and starting fishing right next to the boat launch. I would hit all my old haunts where Ive caught fish before.
At my 1st cove I caught one keeper. I kept working the area, changing out lures, fan casting, switching the pace of retrieve, etc., but nothing else was biting. Now its 6:30 p.m., but still plenty of daylight for fishing.
I motor up and get to my second cove, water temperature is 74 F, and Im in 5 to 4 of water. Again fan casting with the tube jig tipped with Berkley crappie nibble gave some short strikes from bream, but no crappie. I switched up colors from red & white, to black & white/red tail, and finally to a grasshopper crank bait.
Got some nice strikes and a bream to keep me entertained, but the big slabs were elusive. Looking down, my watch now reads 7:30 p.m. Feeding times chart said prime time is around 7:00 p.m., and theres a half-moon in the sky.
I switched to a small Rebel crawfish color crank bait, and decided to fish the main channel and cast to the bank as I drift. There was a light wind and I wouldnt need to put the trolling motor down. I might as well give it one last shot before going home with one fish.
I drifted by a good size man made brush pile and got a good keeper size crappie on the crank bait just 20 yards from the brush pile. I immediately set the anchor to stop, and fan casted the area again with the crank bait. No luck. Now I switch to the trusty old red & white tube jig. Casting up wind, I threw right next to the brush pile. One thousand 1, one thousand two, and boom
I got a nice strike, another keeper.
Now Ive got three fish in the live well. I quickly re-baited the hook and threw again. This time I didnt get to one thousand two, and a nice fish hit it. This one pulled hard and the line went straight down. Splash, splash, splash, I could see I needed the net for this guy and wasnt going to yank him into the boat using the line. 14.5 long, wow, Im pumped now!
Four fish in the boat. I cast again to the same area, but no luck. I begin to cast to the edges of the brush pile, again no bites. I switch up and use my black with white/red tail and get another keeper into the boat.
Now I casted to the edge of the pile, and count to one thousand two and then Wham, another good strong pulling fish. This one measured 15' long.
The sun was going down, and I kept throwing like a machine, but nothing was biting. I decided to reposition the boat and anchor up wind of the pile and see if there were fish on the other side.
I stayed and threw for a good 5 minutes and didnt get anything. I decided to go back down wind and try some more, I had about 5 minutes of twilight and got one more keeper.
Wow, what a great day on the water. And to think I was going to quit and head in at 7:30 p.m. Im glad I went around the corner and fished the main channel at 6-7. It made the difference between a 1 fish day and a 7 fish day.
Just completed my wing and tail mount ordered from Walnut Creek Hardwood. Great product and excellent quality!
Personally for me the fishing season has started off slow, but old man winter has lost his grip on Eastern North Carolina for sure now, and the bite is ON! I've had two straight days of great fishing and found cooperative biters each time.
Monday, April 25, 2011- I took out my 1960 Lone Star 14 out and targeted for my favorite fresh water fish, crappie. I needed to test out the 1977 Johnson 25 hp motor anyway since replacing the forward gear and dog clutch. Sapony Creek is just 10 miles from the house.
It only takes 12 minutes to get there. I get off work at 5:00 p.m. and the truck doesnt pull out of the driveway till 5:45 p.m. I decided not to use live bait and would search for them using artificial lures.
The weather was perfect. A slight breeze was blowing, clear skies, and the high that day got up to 87.5 F. The water temperature ranged from 73-75 F.
I went to the 1st cove directly across from the boat ramp. I threw a tube jig and caught a nice blue gill. It was about the size of my hand with fingers closed. I fished the weed line for a while switching up lures. I tried the Johnson Beetle Spin (black with yellow stripes), dark green/yellow tube jig, and finally red/white tube jig, nothing.
I moved to another location and fished in the 12 depth, nothing. Then I tried fishing between two islands that were in the 3 range. A 6 bass attacked my Beetle Spin. The fish was barely larger than the lure. I was amazed by how aggressive this little bass was. This guy had attitude! No action for a good 10-15 minutes, so I moved again.
I found a location that was in the 5 to 7 depth range and started throwing. This time I started off with the 1/16 oz. red/white tube jig tipped with pink crappie nibbles Berkley Power Baits. In my honest opinion, this is the key to getting bites on the tube jig.
I brought my dog, Thumper, an English springer spaniel along for the trip. He needed some fresh air and loves being outside. There were a couple of times when I was scared that he was going to jump out of the boat to chase the lure. Luckily he decided to keep his feet dry. Thumper was very excited every time I pulled in a fish, and would try to get a nostril full of scent.
The tube jig is fished very slowly. When it hits the water I count 1000/1, 1000/2, 1000/3, and watch my line. If the line is still falling I dont reel. Sometimes you will feel a slight bump while its falling and this means that a crappie has struck. Set the hook, but do it gently.
Once it stops falling, I do a regular jig technique raising and lowering the tip of the rod and reeling in very gently. I try and have the jig drop at different depths and hit the bottom.
I noticed that in the 4 to 7 depth the lure would return with no weeds. 4 and less, you get weeds.
If there are lots of weeds on the lure, you will have to remove it by hand, but if it is just a little bit of weeds, all you have to do is gently dip the lure up and down in the water and the weed will come off. This is a time saver and will help keep weeds out of your boat and increase your casting time.
On my 3rd cast a little dink crappie hit my lure. This was a good sign that a school is around and I quickly unhooked him and threw him back.
On the next cast I caught a nice size keeper, approximately 11 long. I casted a couple more times with no success. Now I switched to the green/yellow jig. I got short strikes, but no commitments. Better go back to what was working, red/white jig.
My next fish was a nice strong pull. Finally, a good one! This slab weighed in at 1 lb., 1 oz., measured 13 long and 6 wide (digital scales are $20 at Wal-mart). I caught a couple more keepers before it was time to go. Not a bad day with five keepers and I now know where theyre hanging out.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011- I make it my business to know whats going on with the weather. The forecast for Wednesday and Thursday is rain, and Thursday will have 30 mph gust. NC will catch the bad weather moving across the mid-West.
Wilson was hit by a tornado on April 16, 2011 and we dont need any more bad weather. Todays forecast was 30% chance of rain in the evening. I decided to take my chances and hit the same spot and was prepared with some rain gear. This time I will stop at the local bait shop and buy some minnows and work three rods, two corks, and my trusty 7 jigging pole.
I opted for the small minnows. One dozen small was $1.95, and the mediums were $3.50. Hindsight being 20/20 I should have gotten the mediums, bigger bait catches bigger fish. The smalls were dinks, and could barely fit on my hook.
Originally I was going to fish them on a hook alone, but seeing how small they were I fished them on a jig instead.
When I got to the same area I threw out my two corks, and then started to jig. I stayed with the colors that worked. The skies were dark, and there was a light drizzle. Then the rain got heavy and I was getting pelted painfully by big drops.
After about 10 minutes things cleared up. The water slicked out and a light mist was rising. It was very beautiful to see.
The water temperature dropped to 71 F, and I had the trolling motor down and was working the 5 to 6 depth.
The fishing didnt pick up until 7:00 p.m. I got my 1st fish in and it was a nice keeper. Most of my strikes were off the jig, but I caught a couple on the corks as well. I lost a nice fish being too anxious and it dropped off the hook right at the boat. Had to remind myself to take it easy on the ol paper mouths.
When all was said and done, Id caught about 12 crappie, 5 were keepers. I also had a great adrenaline rush when a 2 lb. catfish hit one of the corks as well. A 2 lb. catfish on light action rod and 6 lb. test is a fight! I had to let that fish play and run a couple of times. I kept thinking that the line was going to break any minute, but it didnt. Thank you Spiderwire Stealth.
One of the most memorable things about this outing was how aggressive the fish were. I would have a fish on one of the corks, be in the process of reeling it in, and catch another one on the jigging pole that I lay down next to my feet. The lure would be right at the boat and just inches below the water.
The fish were in a feeding frenzy and were not spooked by the boat at all. This didnt happen just once, but twice!
I had caught another fish while slowly reeling in my cork to be repositioned. As I slowly reeled in the line, I noticed a nice size crappie following the lure right to the boat, I hesitated for a split second, and it hit the lure. I actually watched the fish strike the lure and set the hook awesome! When I pulled him into the boat he came off the hook, lucky me.
Once it got dark, I would reel in my lines, and as I would throw away the dead minnows, a crappie would come up and strike it right next to the boat.
Days like this are few and far between. It had been a long time since Id seen fish this aggressive, the bite is ON! It was an awesome day, and I got my fishing fix in before the bad weather.
I have a deep admiration for the Redfish. The smaller ones are called Puppy Drum. Whatever you want to call them, they can lay claim to one of the best sporting inshore fish ever!
There is not enough to be said about the fighting stamina for this fish, and it's understandable why they've developed such a devoted fan base. If you haven't caught the fever of Redfish Nation, get a hold of one of these bad boys and you will.
I had an opportunity to test the waters of the Neuse River near the Cherry Branch Ferry over the Easter Weekend. I was rewarded with a most vicious strike and excellent pull to get the old blood pumping and geared up for the inshore saltwater season.
My best friend down in Pensacola gave me his old Shimano Stradic 2500 spooled with 15 lb. line to try out. The redfish he catches down there would destroy this reel, but it's perfect for Puppy Drum and bass.
It was about 5:30 p.m. and slack tide. Wearing a pair of flip flops, and cargo shorts, I waded gently straight out from my in-laws house.
Although it was windy and blowing from the Southwest, the waters were clear, warm, and flat. I got into water up to my knees before casting. My trusty English springer spaniel circling me and spooking all the jumping mullet around me.
On my 5th cast, the fish struck my 1/4 oz. red jig head tipped with a penny colored Gulp Shrimp. It's amazing how good Gulp Shrimp is, and it was unbelievable that my shrimp was over a year old and still worked. Get the Gulp Recharge bucket; it's worth every bit of $20.
The fish gave an incredible fight, and ran three or four times. Thumper my dog was looked confused and surprised as I fought the fish and finally brought it in close enough for him to get a good look.
That Puppy Drum was strong and healthy. The hook was turned down in its mouth. I took a photo, unhooked it, and watch it swim back into the waters to grow some more. It was a great day, and great Easter Weekend. Nothing could be finer than to be in the Carolinas.
April 15-16, 2011- It's just the boys this weekend and I decided to take my son out chasing birds with me. We went by the Wilson Wal-mart and got him an exempt big game report card, but the Wilson Wal-mart had no turkey hunting supplies at all. The didn't have shells, calls, decoys, or even face nets.
We decided to check out the Rocky Mount Wal-mart. Surely they'd have a better selection than the Wilson location. Boy were we wrong. I end up buy some high velocity steel shot #4 3' just in case. Someone told us that the new Wal-mart in Nashville had turkey hunting supplies, so that's where we headed.
The Nashville Wal-mart was nice, not as big as I expected, but they did have turkey hunting supplies. We got a hold of the last face net, I got some mouth calls, and then we had to wait 15 minutes just to get the 20 gauge turkey loads because they were locked up. It didn't make any sense at all because they had the 12 gauge shells sitting out next to all the turkey hunting supplies, but had to lock up the 20 gauge shells. So after dropping $25, we headed back home.
On our 20 minute drive back, I tried to explain to my 12-year-old son about turkey hunting in terms that he would understand. I said, 'Son, your dad likes to play a video game that only comes around once a year in a short time period. And the special part about this game is that sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. We just don't know until we get out there.' Then it was like a light bulb pop up above his head, he smiled, and just got it. He seemed genuinely excited about going now.
It was getting late and 4:00 a.m. comes early. Once home, I got out the pop-up blind and checked everything to make sure that it would go up O.K. Of course I had to fix it here and there. Then I got all of our gear ready, clothes, food, pack, guns, ammo, Thermo-Cell, everything. I was hoping to see Von get his first bird and be able to video tape it. It would be so exciting to be able to do something like that. I put Von to bed by 11:00 p.m., but I didn't get to bed till 12:00 a.m. I took some time and listened to the CD that came with the mouth calls.
It was another restless night before a hunt. I tossed and turned, and then the buzzer went off at 4:00 a.m. Climbing out of bed like a tired zombie I went into the kitchen and made some coffee.
I got my clothes on, and toasted some bagels. I woke up Von and gave him my spare camo to wear. With sandwiches in our backpack, drinks, and apples, we went into the garage to put our boots on.
I accidentally stepped on and flattened Von's bagel. We laughed about it, it was wrapped up in a napkin and was still good, so I ate it and gave him mine. I think Von was pretty excited as well because he didn't get an hour nap on our ride to the land as I thought he would.
The forecast wasn't the best, but at least it wasn't raining. I'd brought rain gear for both of us just in case. Once there, we drove directly to the corner of the field and set up our blind. It makes it easier when you have the lights from the truck to work with.
After setting everything up, Von got inside and sat in the chair. I drove the truck to a hiding spot in the woods. It was 5:40 a.m., and still dark.
We got settled in and Von slept in the chair. I folded up one of the rain jackets and he used it as a pillow. Our decoys were just 15 yards in front of us. At 6:00 a.m. I started to call loudly with the mouth call, then the box call, then the friction call, and finally the slate call.
I waited, watch the sun come up, and listen to the world come alive and abuzz. Leaves were in the trees, the smell of flowers were in the air, and the birds were singing.
Then I'd call again. I sounded off at 6:15 a.m. and then 6:30 a.m. We would wait and listen......nothing. There was no gobbling at all, the toms had gone silent.
Von was getting restless, so I said we would stay here just a little longer, then move into the woods near the creek. 7:00 a.m. rolled around, then 7:30 a.m., and finally 7:45 a.m. Nothing answering, and the wind was picking up. We decided it's time to give up the field and head into the woods.
We packed our things and headed back to the truck. At the truck, we left our chairs, and drank some water. My next plan was to set up the blind down by the creek. As we walked down hill towards the creek, I could see where the wooden bridge was now replaced with a concrete bridge. We set up on an opening just to the right of the bridge.
We couldn't put our decoys out as far, so they were now around 10 yards away. Settling in and kneeling down, I started calling around 8:00 a.m. Nothing. I called again around 8:10 a.m., nothing.
Von and I sat in the blind, and I told him, 'I don't care if we see a turkey or not, I'm just happy that we're spending father and son time together.' He said, 'Thanks dad, I'm having a good time.'
Then around 8:15 a.m. I'm looking across the creek and a young Jake comes running in. I think he saw our decoys, but I also think he saw me move inside the blind because I was so excited. I got Von up and looking out of the blind, then handed him the shotgun.
Von had it on his shoulder and was looking intensely, and I wasn't sure if he could make out the turkey or not. Then I wispered, 'There, he's moving, can you see him?' Von replied, 'Yeah, I see him.' The Jake move off cautiously and deliberately away from us. He was across the creek about 30 to 35 yards away. I wanted Von to take a good close shot, around 25 yards or closer, so told him to wait, and we'll be patient, letting the young bird muster enough courage to come in a little bit closer towards our decoys.
Von was using 3' #5 and a Rossi youth model 20 gauge with a modified choke. I wasn't too sure if it would have reached out that far and figured he would have had better chances if the bird was real close.
Well nothing happened for a good long while. I continued to call, but the bird was spooked and did not return. Regardless, the wind was picking up now, and Von got to see his first live wild turkey, and had just about had enough of sitting in the blind. I asked him how did his first wild turkey look? Von replied, 'Delicious. If we would have gotten him.'
We got out of our blind, packed up, and hiked back to the truck by 9:00 a.m. Now sure we should have, and could have stayed out there till 12:00 p.m., when the hens will be on their nest and the lonely gobblers are prowling around for a little more action, but I didn't want to push things to hard. I wanted this to be a good and enjoyable experience for him, so we packed up and called in the day.
I pulled the tail gate down, and we ate our sandwiches, apples, and drank some water.
I still considered it a great day. We came, we called, we saw, and we enjoyed the morning. What else could a father ask for?
We were on the road by 9:30 a.m. and heading back to Wilson. I've got a passion for turkey hunting and want to expose my kids to it. I can only hope that they will enjoy the sport as much as I do, and know patience is a virtue when dealing with kids and birds.
Later that day around 4:30 p.m., Wilson, NC was hit by a tornado. I don't think there were any fatalities in Wilson, but heard on the news that NC had 24 fatalities.
Its quality time with the people we care about that makes everything worth while. Von and I thank our lucky stars that a twister didn't hit us, and will have a chance to go chase birds again some other day.
It rained hard the night before, and a cold front moved in. I've got land about an hour drive from the house. I got my entire gear ready in the garage. Vest, mask, gloves, gun, shells, vest, decoys, blind (I didn't use), and flashlight.
Went to bed by 11:30 p.m., but didn't sleep well....just too excited dreaming about gobblers. Got up by 4:00 a.m., made coffee and ate a banana. Threw all the gear in the truck and headed out. It was still cool and raining, drizzly. About 52 F.
I had the windows rolled down just enjoying the weather, and the fresh smell of rain. Hand out the window planning through the air like a kid.
Got to the land around 5:30 a.m., put my gear on, and walked along the edge of the field. The grass was thick and wet, and I looked on the open muddy areas for tracks, but didn't see any.
There is a large pile of rocks about two feet high at the edge of the field I hunt. I like it because it provides cover and all the animals (turkey and deer) are used to it. It's natural cover.
I've got three decoys and I set them out 20 yards directly in front of me. I've had these three decoys since 2001. One is just a cheap foam feeding hen and I used a broken arrow to hang it on. The other two are blow up Screary's, one jake and one hen. They pivot a little in the wind, and I noticed it was very windy and blowing into my face.
I had to break out my rain jacket because it was still drizzling. I unbuttoned my seat cushion from the vest and settled in behind the rock, my Mossberg 835 loaded with 3.5' #4 at my side. I have an old box call, a slate call, and a friction call. My mouth call membrane dried up and I need to go to Wall-E World and get a new one.
I was happy to sit behind that rock because it kept the wind off of me and it was cool. I was thinking, 'I left a nice warm bed with down blankets, to sit in the rain, cold, wind, and in the middle of darkness.' Its funny how keen you hearing gets when it's dark outside. I could hear some little noises, and wondered if it was deer, or fox, or something else moving about in the brush.
Slowly but surely it was getting light. I thought I heard some gobbling at 6:15 a.m., but it was still too dark. I heard the noise faintly again and it was some dogs barking off in the distance. By 6:30 a.m., it was light enough for me to see my decoys, so I started to call.
First I tried using the slate, but it must have gotten wet and had to put it away, so I went to the trusty Lynch box call. I called loud and aggressively to let the toms know a hen is around. They're probably still on the roost, but this would get them fired up and looking when they hit the ground.
I waited for a response...nothing. Then I start off with the friction call. It's at a higher pitch, and I would alternate the cadence. Sometimes fast...then I would slow it down. Alternating between Yelps and Clucks. Again, nothing....but then I hear faint gobbling in front of me.
The wood line is across the field and I can see it clearly now that the sun has come up a little. The woods are about 250 yards away and are a mix of hardwoods and tall pines.
By 6:40 a.m. I heard the dogs again, but it is way off. Then I hear a single shotgun go off, and it is really far out there. I'm not the only one in the woods trying to fill his tag. I call again, working both the box call and friction call. The experts say make it sound like a couple of turkeys talking.
6:55 a.m. rolls around as I look at my watch. Prime time is here I'm thinking......and sure enough, peeking over the rolling slope of the field is a little brown head. It's a hen, and she's cluck, cluck, cluck, clucking away. She sees the decoys and moves in fast, and I'm thinking this is not what I want, because she's going to make them out, and warn everyone that something is amiss.
I keep my head down as much as I could and just watched. I had this hen cluck, cluck, cluck, clucking next to my decoys for a good long while. Then off in the distance I could see a tom coming. He's about 200 yards out, but coming in fast. He didn't run, but would walk fast, then strut, walk back and forth, strut again, and then walk in some more.
The hen stopped clucking and was now feeding next to my decoys. And this just added to the realism of my set up. As I was watched the single tom directly in front of me strut and come in, at the corner of my eye to my left I saw two white heads poke over the ridge. Two more toms were coming too. They were strutting and gobbling.
The two together would gobble, and then the single one in front of me would gobble. The single one in front of me was getting more aggressive. Needless to say, my heart was pounding, and I stopped calling all together. I couldn't pick up my shotgun because it was sitting to the side and would show too much movement.
The single gobbler came in really close now, about 30 yards, and this made the two pair come in faster too. The single one got spooked and moved from right to left on me, and I felt my chances slipping because that tom knew something was up.
I decided to grab my gun and shoulder it. The one single tom was gone out of my sight, but I was able to hold the shotgun, and hit the friction call a couple more times. This sealed the deal for the two pair and they moved in quickly to 15-20 yards from my decoy in full strut. There was some limbs and brush in front of me, and when they moved from left to right into the opening, I took my safety off, put the red and white bead on his red, white, and blue head, and started yelling, 'Bock, Bock, Bock' like a chicken. I wanted him to come out of strut and stretch his neck....then 'Boom.'
He went down at 15-20 yards with a good hit. He was flopping around, and the rest of the bunch took off flying the 250 yard to the opposite wood line. I looked at my watch and it was 7:15 a.m.
I'd probably watched the whole procession for 15 minutes, but it felt like an eternity. It was awesome, my adrenaline was pumping so hard. It was just a great feeling when everything came together. The excitement of watching the whole play come together, having to remind myself to stay calm and cool till the last minute. Just a great way to start the season and day.
I thank God and living in a free country where we can enjoy the bounty of nature.
The kids and I fished Sapony Creek cove April 4, 2011. There were a lot of boats in and out, and we had anchored up fishing the edge of the weeds for crappie. We saw agressive splashing in the middle of the weeds. I had a Scum Frog, and put it on and threw in the general area. Our nice little bass hit it without hesitation as the frog came into open water. No time to wait, the fish set itself. Fish are starting to bite, and the water was 60 F.
My first bass of the season. Caught on a tube jig looking for bream.
Von Kendall I.