Fort Fisher Plundering

photo: Doug McNay

Three members of my family hit the grass flats at Fort Fisher, NC this past weekend.

My brother, mother and myself launched our kayaks from the beach side as the tide was starting to come in. We made our way across a waterway and soon found ourselves surrounded by big, blue sky and light-green grass-lined banks that stretched in all directions.

We tried throwing skitterwalks on top for a little while, but no one hooked up. However, we could see that bait and fish were present. My brother started throwing spinnerbaits and mirrorlures, while I resorted to fresh shrimp rigged on a carolina-rig with a 1oz weight.


Joey and Mom started into a few channels, still using artificials, and I posted up on a set of small islands of grass. I cut the shrimp into tiny offerings and lobbed a cast at the middle of the triple-chain to my right. It wasn’t a few seconds and fish were biting. I almost never fish with live or dead bait in freshwater, but when hitting these remote salty areas, I like to up my chances on blue-bird days. I’ve learned over the years these types of days can be difficult, as far as angling, and the effort to reach the destinations is extreme, so I will gladly take the ego-punch and defer to more reliable means to fill a cooler, and have a blast in the process.

The first area provided a few small croakers, but seemed void of any larger predator fish, so I broke my grass knot and moved further into the marsh. I never take an anchor in there anymore, the grass is easily tied into a knot around a kayak handle, which makes for a silent-makeshift-anchor, and less gear in the boat. It can be a little itchy sometimes, but its easily dealt with when you find yourself out of the wind, motionless, and catching fish.

I moved as quietly as I could through the many channels and found another spot that looked really active. Bait was present, some mullet were breaching the surface, and I could see swirls that looked to be drum. It was another area with many features, rather than an even-lined channel. I tied to the left side of an island, with another island to my back, and a channel cutting through straight ahead.


One cast to the point just before the channel, and within a moment, my rod was bouncing wildly. Drag peeled off the 7′ outfit, and I knew I had a drum on. The fish fought for several minutes, darting across the water in spurts, before I saw it was not a red drum, but a large-shouldered black drum. It’s dark vertical lines gave it’s identity away. These fish fight and taste almost exactly like their cousins the redfish, except they have bigger shoulders and a taller profile.

After boat-flipping the fish, I unhooked it quickly and put it on ice. And after another cast to the same spot, another drum quickly inhaled the bait. The same process was repeated and I had a second fish-taco-supplier aboard my craft. I casted again a few times, but both fish had put up quite a ruckus, so the area filled with pinfish, the dreaded bait-stealers. I figured the area could use a rest, so I went to find my family.

They were at the end of the channel section we had entered and posted up on two opposing points. Joey had caught a nice keeper redfish, and a few rats, and Mom had also resorted to shrimp, but had found the pinfish that came in on me. We tried that area a while, and Joey caught a keeper flounder, but the wind picked up and I talked them into going back to the area I had left to rest.


I got Mom to get into a spot across from the point where I’d caught the black drum, and I positioned myself across from her, on the other side of the point. She threw her bait in and was immediately hooked up. Something was really giving her a tustle, and Joey paddled to her to assist. I was sure it was a big red drum, but after a little while they determined it was a big stingray.

She was a little disappointed, but we told her to throw back in there. From then on, she kinda kicked our butts. I mean, Joey and I still caught more fish, but she repeatedly hooked up and landed red rum, black drum, pinfish, and croakers. It was really fun to watch her fight all those underwater denizens, especially since we were celebrating our birthdays. And she loves fresh fish as much as we do.


Soon, the water started to rush out on us though, and we had to retreat quickly to avoid being stranded in the marsh. But we had a great day and two coolers full of fish! So we opted to head home and join other family members in celebration. It was a great weekend.

Love the family and grass-flats!


Recent Woodworking Projects


3 Lions – Artwork by Tom Sullivan – NFS

Here are some new woodworking projects I’m really excited about.

These pieces are all on eastern red cedar and have been etched in with a dremel. The wood has been sanded with 3 grains of paper and is smooth as bone. And each piece is unique and one-of-a-kind.

The inspiration for each piece comes from multiple places. First, I do my best to utilize “bad spots” in the wood grain. For instance the eye of the Cracken, in the first Cracken piece, was a bad spot, and I used it instead of hiding it. Also, in that piece the wood grain was perfect for a whirlpool and no additional lines were needed.

So I may have ideas about something I want to create, but I spend different amounts of time with each piece of wood, as a semi-blank canvas, until I “see” something in it. Then it’s game on and the creating begins.

I hope you like the pieces, and if you have ideas about anything you want, let me know, and I’d love to create something special for you. These make great gifts and I actually have 3 commissions ongoing at present, so if you think you might want something for upcoming holidays, get an order in as soon as you can. Come Christmas time I’ll be very busy!


Great White SharkSold


Tailing RedfishSpoken For
Kraken – NFS



Tim NCPIERMAN Taramelli – Interview Announcement

Tim Taramelli

I am pleased to announce my first interview. I have followed this guy for years. We first began communicating on and then moved to Facebook. We now speak on a regular basis on the phone and often our discussions go on for some time. Tim is passionate, intelligent and literally a walking fishing machine. He regularly takes wounded warriors on free guided fishing excursions, and also runs a successful guiding outfit. His knowledge of fishing is perhaps outweighed by some of his interests; including removing commercial netting practices from North Carolina inshore waterways and estuaries. These areas serve as nurseries for a vast variety of marine wildlife. Tim, among thousands of other citizens of this state would like to see NC follow the rest of the east coast state’s lead in discontinuing this harmful and irresponsible trend. North Carolina, is in fact, the only state left on the east coast that allows such practices. Tim is a very modest and humble man, and seeks no personal gain from his political passions. He is also currently battling with state officials regarding access for kayakers at a wildlife ramp in eastern NC, and can use all the support we can give him. We are currently conducting the interview, and it will be appearing on this site in the next week or two. You can connect with Tim on his website .

Tim Taramelli