Scottish novelist and historian John Buchan once said, “The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of something that is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.”
Whether you are a seasoned angler or just getting your feet wet in the world of fishing, everyone agrees this area is a fantastic place to fish.
The beauty of fishing in Washington and Beaufort County is that the water is brackish, a mixture of salt and fresh water. Depending on exactly where you drop your line dictates what type of fish you catch. The time of year also plays a big role in what you’ll find as well.
You will want to make sure you have an appropriate fishing license for the type you are doing. You can find all the rules and regulations, as well as purchase a fishing license at https://www.ncwildlife.org.
According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, “Peak fishing occurs during the spring when these fish migrate up our large coastal rivers to spawn. Preferred baits are live or cut bait (e.g., sunfish, large minnows and bloodworms), which are normally fished on short shank 1/0 hooks with enough weight to keep them near the bottom.” Some of the species that can be caught in the area are black drum, blue fish, catfish, large-mouth bass, red drum, flounder, spotted sea-trout, sunfish and white perch, just to name a few. Fishing for striped bass is generally best in the spring, fall and winter.
Brent Baker, manager of East Side Bait and Tackle, says that the warmer the weather (and water temperature), the more active and hungrier the fish are. “The fish are much more docile in cold water, only eating every couple of days. In warmer weather they are eating constantly and are a lot more aggressive.
Baker says he prefers MirrOlure’s and Z-Man soft plastics. These are go-to baits offering a lot of colors, variety, and quality.
Several fishing spots beckon your presence in the area, including Havens Gardens, Jack’s Creek, Dinah’s Landing at Goose Creek State Park, and the Blount’s Creek Fishing Pier. The water is generally fresher as you go west into the Tar River; it is saltier towards Aurora, Blount’s Creek and Bath. Other than pier and riverside fishing, there are a number of fishing charters available to take you out on the water including TarPam Guide Service, Fish IBX Charters, and Slingshot Charters.
When asked what most area anglers do with their catch, Baker said other those that keep their fish, a lot of folks give it to the elderly or to area churches for fish fries.
One of Baker’s favorite fishing stories happened when he was around 12 or 13 years old. He was with his dad fishing with a cane pole, and something large broke off his pole. Hours later they spied the piece of pole moving along AGAINST the current! Baker’s dad threw out a line and they caught a 12-pound striper!
You never know what you may catch in the beautiful Pamlico River. Even if you spend a day fishing with friends and loved ones not catching a thing, you have strengthened relationships and nurtured your soul.