Battling Bulls in the Storm: A Tale of Speckled Triumphs and Coastal Adventures

Published on 28 April 2023 at 17:41

It all started out on a foggy damp day along the coast of NC. I met up with my buddy Dustin at 4 in the morning and set out for the day pulling the boat. After a quick stop at the gas station for some energy drinks and some grub for the stomach, we hit the ramp. When we launched the boat, it was still dark, but we made it to where we wanted to fish at. Almost right away we had started throwing Mirror Lures and the bite was hot hooking Speckled Trout left and right. There were a few times we even doubled up on them! As fast as the bite came, it left, so we eventually made our way from the creek to the mighty Neuse River that would eventually connect to the Pamlico Sound. We got a mile or so putting along the creek with the trolling motor, and off in the distance we saw a ton of smoke. We were wondering if it was a yacht on fire, or even one of the waterfront homes on fire. When we got closer, we were soon mistaken as the worst fog we had ever seen swallowed us! 

We were a little sketched out because we couldn't see 3 feet from the boat and being out on the big water of the Neuse River, we were worried a big boat would hit us! We flipped on the navigation lights and shut down the motor to try and wait the fog out. It was a good hour or so before we got brave enough to try to navigate out of the fog. After what seemed like an eternity, we saw sunlight and were happy! It was a very welcoming sight to see the clear blue water complimented with the clear blue sky. We had gotten some intel from a fishing guide on where they had some luck finding the Bull Reds. With little avail we made our way to the first spot and got ecstatic to the silver flashes piercing beneath the surface of the water looking like a cloud moving swiftly! We knew we were in the right place at the right time because something was chasing these bait fish causing them to swirl. I would say there were hundreds of them, and it was a pretty sight! 

We set the trolling motor to anchor mode and began casting our heavy rods 10 or so feet behind the schools of silverfish. For tackle we were using Billy Bay Poppers with 2 or 3 feet of leader attached to it with a 7-inch rubber fish (white). Within five or so minutes I was popping along and all of the sudden the cork disappeared, and line was ripping! I instantly set the hook and was in for a mighty fight! Growing up Musky fishing I thought they fought hard, but boy were these beasts' fun to catch. We had landed him in the net, got a picture with him, and revived him in the water so that he could swim on, which he took off like Probably another 10 minutes or so went by when BAM! My line went screaming again and I had another one! Same process as before, we netted him, took pictures, and released him. It is something to catch one in a day, but two so far so early along?? That was almost unheard of. After a brief passing of time, the luck hit Dustin! He yelled "FISH ON" and the fight was commenced. He fought it valiantly, and eventually we were able to land him! Same landing, picture, safe release for this guy as well. We were so thrilled to be on a school of them like this! I would say over the next hour or so after that we had each caught one more and the bite was still hot.

We had noticed some dark clouds rolling in, but we thought it would pass over. Little did we know this was a pretty nasty storm with bolts of lightning flashing all around us, the rain just drenching us, and the thunder booming across the sky. We were in a tough spot because we were probably 10 miles from our boat ramp. We got everything packed up in a hurry, and once we were seated, we were outrunning the storm in our skiff! When we had finally loaded the boat back at the ramp, we had beat the worst of the storm and while soaking wet in the truck, we were so thrilled with what the day produced. We kept talking about our catches and if we would still be on them if it wasn't for that pesky storm rolling in on us. 

I think back on this trip often as I made great memories with one of my best friends and caught such a beautiful species of fish in the good Lords beautiful country. I often miss living in North Carolina and being able to experience the coastal life on the water. I miss my friends and the good times we had while I was in the Marine Corps, but no matter how far we are, we still have our brotherhood along with our memories together. 

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