Beach options for the inland angler

By Paul Adkins

July 28, 2013

Although the Mountain State has no shoreline of its own, an annual trek to the Carolina beaches, most notably Myrtle’s is as much a part West Virginia’s culture as coal mining is. That being said, most of the male segment, myself included is a little out of place down yonder with much thanks to sunburn, heat rash and all sorts of sand related maladies. So for all my beached whale-type cohorts, here are some fishing fever survival options, Atlantic Ocean style.

Even if you don’t get to fish, you can visit the many boat docks or fishing piers for some hands-off action. Just talking to the friendly folks about their angling adventure is fun. Plus there are all those free brochures and fishing publications for another look see. Actual sampling options include surf fishing, pier fishing, head or “party boats,” and inshore or offshore charters.

For the surf, some basic freshwater gear can suffice. Right next to all the bikini clad female folk, you can catch sand sharks, croakers and whiting. That is if you keep your eyes on the end of the line. This one gentleman caught one of each in no time while I chatted with him. The pier option is another one to at least sample or tour.

The pier folks are a special breed of cat, I mean angler. These folks are diverse to say the least and also quite friendly. Once you get your mind off of tattoo gawking and other distractions, there is usually some fish cleaning going on. Stuff like sheephead, mackerel and gray trout were being hoisted in. To top all, fish offal mooching pelicans, deck walking octopi and shark feeding of the scraps added some extra excitement.

The latter I might add was dang close to the totally unawares folk swimming nearby. Also handily nearby was a tattoo parlor if you saw one that tickled your fancy. The party or head boats will take you out for a half day of “bottom fishing.” The captain will tell you when to drop your line and feel for the familiar tug of a feeding something or other like snapper, grouper or other such chicken of the sea.

There are also inshore or near shore charters for the smaller Carolina style boats going after redfish, sea trout, Spanish mackerel or whatever else is “running” at the time. For the more adventuresome and pricey option, you can go way out on a bigger boat with all the outriggers, fishing chairs and big boy stuff.

Be prepared to spend some big bucks and long hours out to the gulfstream for that bigger stuff like mahi-mahi, cobia, albacore, kingfish or the gold standards; tarpon marlin and sailfish. And if you’ve never been sea sick, it happens to the best. And, it’s dang contagious… Or at least lighten up on the cigars, beer and submarine style sandwiches.

And if you’re lucky enough to catch something fresh, rest assured that the female folk will think it is yucky. Yet, they will order the very same fare at the nearby restaurant thinking it superb. Go figure. And if all else fails, just go down to the beach and girl watch, I mean surf fish.