This past September in an effort to impress my new girlfriend of my outdoorsman’s prowess, I invited her along on a beach shark fishing trip. Let’s just say, it was an interesting day.
For many years now, I have unsuccessfully been trying to catch a large shark from the beach. The cream in the coffee is using a kayak to paddle the baits out past the breakers. On the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I have hooked into a few large sharks, but each time I have been unsuccessful in beaching the toothy critter. On a whim driven by a tip that the shark bite at Assateague Beach had been good, I planned our little day trip. I first prepared the timeline below for a long time fishing buddy and think the time line format best describes how the day went. Enjoy following us along on our day at the beach.
Sunday’s Assateague shark fishing went like this:
6:00 AM – Pick up girlfriend for a day at the beach. In the predawn darkness, she tosses two bottles of wine into the cooler and beach blanket behind the truck seat.
6:18 AM – Stop at Duncan Donuts and I treat to coffee and breakfast sandwiches.
9:00 AM – Reach Ocean City and stop at OC Fishing Center for bait. They don’t have any, and the two women and young man in the store looked puzzled when I attempt to explain my shark intentions.
9:09 AM – Stop at Alltackle.com for bait. They have frozen bunker, that’ll have to due until I can toss my net and catch some fresh bait. Drive across the parking lot and feel like I am forgetting something.
9:16 AM – Notice the surf boards on top of SUVs heading to the beach.
9:25 AM – At the guard station entering Assateague National Park, I discuss, how my Federal duck stamp is a national park pass and allows me entrance into the park, with 15 Year old looking park ranger. I drive on into the park, and find the ranger station closed where I was to talk his supervisor. The waves in the surf look big, and the wind sweeps the land toward the ocean.
10:15 AM – We enter the sandy beach after letting the proper amount of air out of the tires and drive to fox level hills to cast net for bait, none there. Ok, so it took a few extra turns down the wrong trails before finding Fox Level Hills. At this point, I realize I forgot to get gas in OC. The gauge is bottomed out. The truck is running on empty. We begin to make the run back to OC for gas.
10:35 AM – Red and Blue lights flash. We get stopped by Federal park ranger with gun asking why I ran the gate. I explain that is why I am heading back out, the little ranger guy had me confused and am going back to get things straighten out.
10:50 AM – He follows me back to the ranger station, the new one, not the old one I went too first. The Ranger held my driver’s license and hunting license to ensure I don’t make a run for it. I pay the extra $15 to the same young ranger I first saw at the entrance gate.
10:55 AM – The truck runs out of gas just before crossing the bridge off the island. I find out that CB radios are out dated and no one answers my calls on channel 19 or even channel 9. Steady stream of cars and motorcycles drive by, looking but not stopping.
11:10 AM – Ranger (same one who chased me on the beach) stops and gives me ride to visitor station, leaving the girlfriend alone at the truck. He can only give one person a ride and only to a place with other people and a phone.
11:20 AM – A guy from PA gives me ride to get gas in his new Jeep after he unhooks it from his motor home and returns me to my truck. Girlfriend is sitting on the rocks on the edge of the bay reading. I put the 2 gallons in the truck. We drive to get a full tank of gas and head back to Island. By now the road is full of Surfers heading to the beach.
12:05 AM – The same young ranger is back at the park gate when we return. I show him my pass and he lets us back into the park. Girlfriend is laughing because we keep running into him.
12:25 PM – The beach is at vehicular traffic capacity and at the access gate it is “One off, one on”. Surfs up, surfers out. We eat lunch of cold Fried Chicken and lunch meat roll ups and potato chips, standing at my tailgate waiting to get back on the beach.
1:30 PM – Finally find a spot on the beach some distance from all of the surfers. We get chairs out and bottle of wine. The surf is too high to shark fish with ‘yak – well, for me today it was, with how well everything has been going. 6’+ surf, would have been fun with a sit on top ‘yak , but not “sit in” type I had with me. Plus not too sure how the surfers would take a shark fisherman close by?
2:00 PM – Jump back into truck. Because of the land breeze the biting flies are out in force covering our bare arms and legs.
2:15 PM – We attempt to drive around exploring the back dunes and bay, but the closed cable gates block the trails.
4:05 PM – Sitting in truck with windows up and AC on watching 6’ surf and surfers. Take a few photographs of the surfers and island ponies.
5:47 PM – Leave beach and drive back to Westminster.
Not all adventures turn out as planned. While I never wet a line or took the boat off the truck, we still had a good time experiencing life’s little twists.