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« Where the NYT fears to tread | Main | Petit four »

Aug 27, 2006

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PotatoStew

Great article - makes me want to take a road trip. Congrats on getting the picture published.

John D. Young

Throughout the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's Currituck Sound that runs all behind Duck, Sanderling and Corolla was simply the best largemouth bass fishing in the world. No place in Florida could possibly match Currituck. Eventually this ecologically unique, huge brackish water sound was damaged by salt water penetration and pollution from Virginia Beach and all the new McMansions that were built along the coast.

For almost 100 years the sound and its beach connected property remained natural under the control of the Currituck Duck Hunting Clubs that were scattered along the sound. James Watt, back during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, turned down the offers from the heirs of these hunting clubs to the US Parks Service to purchase this land to keep it natural and make it part of a National Wildlife/Seashore Preserve.

Now we have dense construction from Southern Shores to Corolla and a sound that is far from healthy. Some of the best moments of my life were spent on glorious spring or fall days with old Currituck guides in their handmade wooden boats that they poled down the lush grass beds of Currituck Sound. Altus Outlaw was my favorite of these guides who said late one afternoon -- "When I'm in the car and I get to the Coinjock Bridge I always turn around because I am getting too far from home." Altus was one who lived in complete harmony with the ebb and flow of the wind tides on Currituck. I have never met a better and more grounded person than Altus.

meblogin

John,

That is a great story and memory.

Where is the best fishing now?

thanks,

John D. Young

Meblogin,

I have been chasing those same fishing memories to no avail for close to 20 years. To get the same wilderness feel of undeveloped Currituck Sound I first stayed close to Currituck and chased some good bass up the North River, Pasquotank River and the Perquimans River. Altus died in 1986 and he never had to witness the demise of the lush brackish waters of Currituck. His first job as a boy of 10 was to be a marsh warden for the old duck hunting clubs who paid him to run off poachers. A job not for the faint of heart.

I eventually left a lot of my bass fishing behind but regained the same wonder fishing for tarpon, bonefish, snook and red fish in the 1000 Island sections of the Everglades below Naples and in the Florida Keys. Since all of this is far away and expensive I find myself further and further from these Southern Florida trips. Now even Bonefish Bob's has been replaced in Islamorada by a huge fishing, big box, chain store.

I also have found some fine bass fishing in the back nooks and crannies of the huge Santee Cooper Lakes in central South Carolina. Still at Santee when the fish are not biting I can watch the alligators work their wonder along the shore, gaze at the many diving ospreys, a few eagles and the occasional shoreline deer and bobcat. The developers have recently found some of the pristine banks at Santee Cooper and a McMansion cycle is not far away.

meblogin

I hear you.

We are hoping to experiment with Tarpon near Oriental, NC in the next few months.

I hear that Drum and Striper may be nearby.

Tightlines

John D. Young

Ed excuse us for turning your excellent piece on the Outerbanks into a fishing discussion.

Yea! Those tarpon come up the coast into the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. They are there between Oriental and Swansquarter in September and early October. I have caught a bunch of stripers around Mann's Harbor and Manteo.

Good luck!

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