Ever wonder what those NCWRC guys were doing out there in that funny looking boat?
I have heard them called the “shock troops” or the “juice boys.” The truth is that the NCWRC started electrofishing, or sampling the Tar River in 1996 for Hickory Shad, American Shad (locally we call White Shad), and Striped Bass (Rockfish).
They operate 9 boats statewide that usually have a 2-man crew consisting of a driver and a dipper. You can see our local boat working 3 sites regularly in the Tar River from Rocky Mount to Tarboro. The boat operates at idle speed along the shoreline with a sampling area approximately 10 to15-feet. The boat puts out 4.5 to 5 amps of electricity.
That’s enough juice to stop a human heart if exposed, so try not to fall overboard in the sampling area. Yikes! Fear not, each boat has several “dead man” switches for extra safety.
Original studies were conducted to determine sex ratios, age, and the number of fish in the river during spawning season for shad and rockfish. During sampling, they take lengths, weights, and tag the rockfish with bright yellow tags. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) uses the tags to track the fish.
After the ASMFC got involved they decided the research was important and effective enough that they mandated an annual sampling of shad and rockfish. Bill Collart, NCWRC Assistant District Fisheries Biologist, shared this interesting information with us:
“So we are mandated to sample at least 200 individuals of Hickory, American shad and as many stripers as we can get, taking scales or otoliths, for aging purposes. Otoliths are bones found in the head of fish sometimes called ear stones. Unfortunately to get the otoliths we need to sacrifice the fish, so we only take the minimum needed since we really don’t want to sacrifice any more than needed.
For 7 years, we were collecting American shad at Battle Park for the hatchery found at Watha, primarily for stocking the Roanoke River, but those fish did come back to the Tar as well. Starting last year, we stopped collecting brood stock from the Tar and now get them from the Roanoke.
This year we also started to collect brood stock stripers from the Tar to be stocked back into the Tar; previously, we stocked fish from the Roanoke into the Tar. We sent 4 females and 9 males to the federal hatchery at Edenton to be spawned and placed back in the Tar.
Some folks seem to think if sample (shock) a section of the river, we mess up the fishing for the day, which isn’t true; we have had people catch fish right after we pass. Fish that aren’t in our path will come across the river to feed on the forage fish we left behind; I have also seen fish caught shortly after we passed.
Granted if we (shocked) a fish, that individual probably won’t feed for a while, but we don’t affect the entire river or all the fish in it.
I apologize if we hit your favorite fishing hole one day, but we are just doing our job.”
Hotspot of the Week – It’s Tar River White Shad at Rocky Mount, however, it is ALL about water levels.
Rick’s Soapbox – Thanks go to Jimmy Dupree, Jr, for putting us together with Bill Collart, and thanks to Bill for all the good work you and NCWRC do for the fish, and the anglers that benefit from it.
Catching fish? Tell us about it. Better yet, send us a picture with all the details. We love to hear from you at CarolinaAngler@Gmail.com.
See you on the water, my friend!
Ever wonder what those NCWRC guys were doing out there in that funny looking boat?
- Tight Lines
Battle Park is a cornucopia of nature
Fifty-seven acre Battle Park, in the heart of Rocky Mount, is named after the Battle
family of Tarboro, founders of Rocky Mount Mills. Water-powered, the mill dam was hewn of the rocks of the Great Falls, past the westernmost point of Edgecombe County.
Take a kid fishing this summer
As you put the final touches on your summer vacation plans, consider a fishing outing for the youngsters. They might not remember or appreciate that expensive beach cottage rental, or that high-dollar meal at that trendy waterfront restaurant, but I would bet a pretty penny they will recall every detail of a fun-filled family fishing experience.
Just about anywhere you chose to go this summer will offer fishing
Shad Season in Review
All things considered, 2013 was a good shad season, thoroughly enjoyed the fishing activity and usual camaraderie among shad fishing friends. Shad fishing to me is about so much more than just catching fish. It’s a total package of enjoyment as it captivates and dominates my life February through May.
Wayne Harrell kicked off the season winning the first shad contest catching his hickory shad on a cold 19-degree Saturday morning, February 2.
The shad hole on East River Road in Tarboro was a little disappointing this year. Untimely flood waters might have limited our regular peak run. Fish were caught and we had some good days, but not the action we have experienced in past years.
Banner Day at Battle Park
Sunday was Mother’s Day. I am not a mother, but I played one in a school play years ago, so I figured that entitled me to go fishing on Mother’s Day. Need an excuse or rationalization to go fishing? Check with me, I’ve got plenty!
After suffering through 2-3 days of a rain induced swollen, unfishable Tar River at Battle Park in Rocky Mount, it was jackpot time on Sunday. Without a doubt, I had my best white shad fishing day ever, fishing from sunrise to early evening. Action was good all day, with a little lull for about 2-hours in the heat of the afternoon.
I am proud to report to you that I enjoyed a 50-fish day. I caught a personal best 46 white shad, 3 hickory shad, and foul-hooked a very angry, upset 3-foot gar. I thought I had two large white shad, or maybe a big rockfish, so I was a little surprised to see Mr. Gar. It was like reeling in an uncooperative 2x4 piece of lumber.
NCWRC enforcement officers doing a great job
North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission has two enforcement officers assigned to each county. That’s 200 dedicated, educated, and highly trained individuals protecting our North Carolina environment and natural resources. To become an enforcement officer applicant, one must participate in a highly competitive selection process. A typical candidate is required to pass extensive background and psychological screening. Also included is a vigorous 19-week training academy that is patterned after a military boot camp, with an emphasis on physical fitness.
Tight Lines declares Ginger Perry of Nashville the shad queen
One of my favorite places to bank fish is the boat ramp at Battle Park in Rocky Mount. I have met a lot of interesting people there. Three or four times this season, I have watched this amazing lady, Ginger Perry, fishing with her friend, Big Kelly, for white shad. Simply put, she is one good angler! She casts and retrieves like a pro, and always catches her fair share of fish. Maybe a few more than her fair share! This lady can flat-out fish!
Time for the John Cherry Rockfish Rodeo on the Tar river
Tarboro Association of Saltwater Sportsman (TASS) presents the annual John Cherry Rockfish Rodeo on the Tar on Saturday, April 27th. Entry fee is $100 per boat.
Registration and information is available daily at Roberson & Dupree Shoe Store, Main Street, Tarboro. The absolute registration deadline is Friday, April 26, by 8 p.m., at the boat landing on River Road, or when the maximum limit 40 boats have been signed-up. Attendance at the Captain’s meeting Friday night, 7 p.m. at the boat landing on River Road, is highly recommended. Rules will be read, questions answered, and you will receive your Captain’s Bag, tournament t-shirt, and other goodies. Each boat is allowed to weigh-in 2 of their largest rockfish, as chosen by the Captain.
Sign-up this Saturday for John Cherry Rockfish Rodeo
One of the TASS premier events that local anglers always enjoy is the annual John Cherry Rockfish Rodeo. Registration is limited to the first 40 boats. Full grown men, me included, will be standing in line like giddy teeny-boppers looking concert tickets early Saturday morning waiting for Roberson & Dupree Shoe Store to open at 9 am to plunk down that registration fee.
Bottoms Up! Greg Bottoms Wins TASS Shad Tournament
To my knowledge, Greg Bottoms does not smoke or drink, but he does have another habit, and an enviable one at that. Greg wins fishing tournaments. He won the Fall Speckled Trout Tournament, and last week claimed top honors in the shad tournament. Obviously, the man knows his way around a rod & reel. Greg is a skilled angler, and a nice guy, deserving of that success.
Shad Tournament participants weighing-in some good fish
All indications are that this will be a banner year for the 12th Annual TASS Hickory
Shad Tournament. The timing is perfect because the shad “bite” has turned on
considerably everywhere. At the halfway point through the week-long tournament, the leader board is already showing some impressive fish weights. Charles Strickland leads the top tier adult category with a healthy 2.56 Hickory Shad. That will be a hard “Hick” to beat!
- More Tight Lines Headlines
- Battle Park is a cornucopia of nature