I have lived seven years at Emerald Isle, N.C.   People often ask what I do.   One favorite pastime is our fishing pier.   Most of the time, and year, it is a docile scene.    If the fishermen/women are sitting down and the fish cleaning table is vacant, nothing is biting.    Even then it is magic to me.   The sea changes are fascinating.   Sunsets, sunrises, and nights are the best.   The people will talk more when things are slow.   Those I call “food fishers” are more serious.   Most are recreational fishers.   There is one guy who is our #1.   He can tell you a lot.   And will.
I’ve seen too many interesting things to mention them all.  Here  are a few :    A 130lb woman catching a 140lb tarpon.   Took two hours.    Seven foot sharks 30 yards from unconcerned surfers (or sharks).   When any species (Hatteras blues, blues, spots, red drum, black drum, pompano, etc.) decide to show up, things get to be a lot of fun.   The most impressive scene I’ve witnessed (not the thongs or tattoos), features the fish that don’t bite–mullets.    The “mullet blow ” is quite a show. Only once have I been on the pier when the “mullet blow” came through.   It was 11am.   I asked a fisherman how long they had been coming?   He said he’d had been fishing since 8am and nothing had changed.   From the pier for 300 yards sideways the sea was black with fish.   From the east they swam down the shore line, but took a hard left at pier.   Wouldn’t swim under the pier, but at the end of the pier they took a hard right, back to the west.   Every so often, at meticulous intervals they would jump out of the ocean, turning from black to silver.   I had seen the locals with tractors and long large nets.   Haul them in by the tons.   I mentioned “tractoring” them in, to the pier group.   There are lots of fish tails/tales at the pier: An “old salt” said he was here one morning during the “mullet blow” when one of the tractors wouldn’t run.   So–the gang of fishermen attached one end of the net to the working tractor and the other to a Cadillac Escalade with four wheel drive.   Upon tractoring the engorged net full of fish toward the shore, the fish altered the course of the Escalade, from inshore to offshore. (“… every now and then, the cow eats the butcher.”—Scope Wallace).   The guy said they cut the Escalade cable just in time.
I mentioned Mrs. Mildred Southern and her talk upon her induction to the North Carolina Sports Hall oF Fame in an earlier article. (article #72-ATHLETIC BANQUETS-PART 2).   Her reason for her many tennis involvements she said was due to the joy on one youngster’s face, that she was helping.   The ocean in general, and our pier have a lot to offer.    To watch a child catch a fish.   Any fish.   Now that’s a worthwhile way to spend your retirement.

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