The Best Week of Fishing Ever

By Jim Sarvis

Editor’s Note: We’ve all heard the old-timers talk of how good it was “back in the day.” Well, here’s proof from the coast of North Carolina. This kind of abundance is seldom seen these days, in part because of overfishing in the past. So, we present this to you as both a look back at “the good old days” and as an illustration of the need for conservation of our resources.

It was my best fishing day ever. Actually, it was my best fishing week ever. The second week of October in 1979, my father and I, along with three friends, caught more than 1,000 flounder from the surf of Cape Hatteras, N.C. We were using two-hook bottom rigs with strips of flounder for bait.

The same week, we caught more than 300 speckled trout on Mirr-O-Lures. We also caught numerous bluefish in the 12- to 18-pound class. From daybreak to sundown, fishing was great!

This was a great week, but fishing back then was fantastic, going back into the 1960s. I could fish for flounder from the bridges of Wrightsville Beach with live finger mullet caught right by the bridge with a cast net. I could be almost certain to catch several flounder in the 3- to 5-pound class. I once caught a 12-pound, 14-ounce flounder from one of the bridges. It is pictured here.

Great fishing was constant, and we still love to fish and fish hard; but the fish are not around like they were in the 1960s and ’70s. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, there were no creel limits or size limits on many species. And we didn’t know any better. Today there are regulations on sizes and numbers of red drum, flounder and bluefish, as well as other species.

These regulations have helped many species recover from the overindulgence of the last several decades. Red drum are now abundant in North Carolina waters, a direct result of fisheries management. I certainly believe in and obey these regulations so generations in the future can enjoy the sport of fishing.

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