A little late getting this recap up, but as seems to always be the case here on the Island, the seasons blend together. Just as soon as we wrapped up our waterfowl season we moved into charter fishing preparations.
Welp… Here we site a couple of months later and we still aren’t in business yet. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone effected by this crisis; both physically and economically.
We feel so very fortunate to have wonderful customers who come hunt and fish with us every year. As far as the hunting goes, this year was slightly slower than average. As a whole our pintail and brant numbers were good, but our redhead harvest was off. I know it really was an exceptionally warm winter, because for the first time in 15 years on the island, my hibiscus survived. NOT A SINGLE night of below freezing temps on the island this winter!
Our two new sink boxes (curtain blinds) functioned perfectly, and we harvested most of our pintails from them. We had a very really good brant hunts from the layout boat, which was a special experience.
If you are interested in a 2020/21 duck hunt, please reach out. We are booking currently and dates are filling rapidly.
But why wait until winter to come to Ocracoke! We will be running fishing charters on our 38′ Ricky Scarborough all summer, so give us a shout or visit our fishing website to get something lined up. http://www.fishocracoke.com
We are starting to get excited for the upcoming season. Although it is still early, we are seeing a good number of redheads, pintails, and bluebills around already (at least for this time of the year). Our first major push of birds normally happens something around Thanksgiving.
In other news our lodge is almost back together after the great Dorian hurricane floods. We are excited that our hunters this winter will be the first to experience 100% new furniture and finishings throughout the lodge; she’s gonna shine!
We are building a couple of new curtains for the sink boxes this week, and the BIG news, we now have a brand new, 2019, MLB two man layout boat! The last couple years a lot of the redheads have bunched up in the deeper water where there aren’t blinds… Watch out this year!
Just a quick update.
Hurricane Dorian was not kind to the Outer Banks of NC, but like they did for generations before us, we will pick up the pieces and move forward here in this beautiful place we call home.
Our lodge the Berkley Manor received approximately 24 inches of flooding during the storm. We have striped everything out, and began last week putting things back together. Our target date to reopen the lodge is November 10, 2019.
As for the Duck blinds, every single blind from Cedar Island to Hatteras is gone. No, I don’t just mean my blinds, I mean EVERY blind! Normally there are at least a couple still around! Anyway, we are hard at work getting new ones back out, and will have them in place long before the season begins.
We still have some dates available for this season, and would love to have you down to hunt with us.
What a fantastic duck season 2018/19 turned out to be! The hunting started out very good, with an above average number of birds on the sound before Thanksgiving. It remained consistent through Christmas, before we went through a bit of a warm spell as we entered the new year. January featured its normal spectacular days, as well as a few slower periods when the tide/moon/weather combined to provide tough conditions on the sound. We harvested more blackheads this year than in many year in recent memory, while our redhead numbers were down a bit. There wasn’t much to our brant hunting until this last big cold front when a ton of new birds showed up. Many of our clients here at the end were treated to some spectacular brant hunts.
As I pack the last of the decoys away for another season, and somehow try to explain to my curly haired hunting companion “Deep” (Chesapeake bay retriever) that we have to wait 210 days before beginning the chase anew, I reminisce about the great memories and friendships forged this season. After all, that IS what it is all about. Sure, we work incredibly hard scouting, building blinds, setting decoys, maintaining equipment, etc… to insure successful hunts and lots of empty shotshells. But the most rewarding times always come from the stories told in the aftermath; the memories. The group of 50 redheads that did it right, the single pintail that interrupted a slow morning by gliding from the heavens into the spread, or some days just the spectacular glow of an Eastern NC sunrise over Ocracoke… How could we forget, the Oysters (oysters and more oysters), food, and more food consumed in front of the fireplace….
What a season it was.
Above all I would like to thank our many loyal clients for choosing Berkley Outdoors as their memory making headquarters this season, and thank God for another safe season in his magnificent creation.
Now…. Lets. Go. Fishing! Give us a call to line up your 2019 fishing charter today.
Its that magical time of the year for the outdoorsman, especially if you are on the Outer Banks. Brisk mornings give way to mild days, and on the Pamlico Sound the first flights of brant, redheads, pintails, and sea ducks can be spotted around the reef. Wahoo, tuna, dolphin and sailfish are thick offshore, and the big drum, flounder, and ever dependable bluefish may be found along the beaches.
I was on my way in from an evening spanish mackerel fishing charter last week when I saw the first flight of redheads crossing towards Portsmouth Island. It sureeeee gets us excited for a great duck season to come!
As for the actual reports, we had a great week of fishing last week. I had a couple of offshore charters and we experienced great bottom fishing with good wahoo bites mixed in. Our nearshore half days produced good spanish, blues, and some monster amberjack. Ernest Doshier on the “Drumrunner” had outstanding big drum fishing all week.