NC Outer Banks Fishing: No Rigs but Lots of Fish!

Hurricane Isabel left Avalon pier the lone destination for plankers on the Northern Outer Banks in September 2003, and when we finally made it back down for fishing in mid-October, the north side of the pier was crowded. My husband, Ken, and I rose a little later than the sun to snag our place to fish. We didn't have a bite for at least an hour or two. My sister, Julia, caught up with us around 9, and Ken headed to the pier house to buy us a cup of coffee.

The pier was crowded. Everyone was casting over each other, and we learned to patiently untangle our lines.

And soon the fish were biting.


Julia and I were up to about 6 or 7 nice spot a piece, but Ken wasn't having much luck. Julia had huge blood worms from a local tackle shop, and we had scrawny worms from another shop. I was using Julia's worms, and catching one after another. Ken finally tried some of her worms, too, but still had only minimal luck.

An old man to Julia's right was bringing them in two at a time. Julia had been chatting with him about good fishing holes and strategies, and finally he offered his secret.

"Y'all need to take that bottom rig off and tie your hooks right to your line," he said. "They don't like all that hardware."

Julia started reeling in, nodding, and said, "You know, I had a guy tell me that before. I'm going try it."

She attached her 2 ounce weight directly to the swivel and tied her hooks to her line, and as soon as she cast out, a spot hit. She got my attention, and Ken's, too. When the second cast also had an immediate hit, Julia paused to help us rig our lines the same way, and soon we were all catching more than our share. They were nice big spots, too.

When I pulled my biggest in, everyone told me to go have it weighed. "That looks like a citation."

"Y'all just want me to waste time walking up there so you can catch up to me," I said. My grandmother always encouraged a little competition when she taught us to fish as young girls. Catching the biggest fish is better than catching the most fish, so I carried my spot wrapped in my hand towel up to the pier house.

Along the way, fishermen greeted me with smiles and "Whacha got?". One said, "That's no spot," and pushed my towel away for a better look. "That's a big spot!" And another, before he saw it up close, asked, "Got a citation?"

It weighed in at 1 pound, 1 ounce-an ounce more than I needed for the papers. I hurried filling out the form, bought some more blood worms and another hand towel, and headed back out for my victory walk. I couldn't help smiling like I kid when I answered "How big?" and "Was it citation?" all the way back to our tiny territory of pier.

When the tide moved in, the fish slowed down. Our neighbors on both sides packed up and gave us some breathing room. Dusk settled before Ken and I finished our drive home to Wake Forest, so we didn't get to count and clean fish until Monday night--59 total. Not our biggest fishing weekend, but one of them! My grandmother would have been proud.

Copyright Dineane Whitaker 2008 - Please do not copy and paste this article, but feel free to post a link using this url:

A Cooler Full of Spots

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Comments 1 comment

obxdeborah 8 years ago

I went fishing on a charter boat last year for my birthday and they rigged their lines with no hardware. They also put the weight on first, and had the hooks rigged under. We caught fish but no records.

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