Big coastal rivers always have a mind of their own. The White Oak River near our home is no exception. While I can make some educated guesses as to what its mood is by using the telephoto lens on my favorite camera, I never know what is really happening until I get out on it with either my skiff or kayak. When you factor in the riddle of coastal weather, things can get interesting on the river.
The morning of July 18, 2013, I found the White Oak close to glassy smooth as I took my skiff down the river at over thirty miles per hour. Once I got up to speed at the buoy near our home just off Raymond's Gut, it took me less than five minutes to reach the Swansboro Bridges. The total trip from my dock to Swansboro was around ten minutes. The trip was one of those you remember long after it is over. This is a YouTube video of the trip.
Visiting the river in a kayak lets you get lots closer to the river's moods. The picture at the top of the post was snapped almost in the middle of the river on July 22, 2013 when I decided to chase summer fish once again. You can view a larger version of the image at this link.
While you might think the river was calm between the skiff ride and the kayak trip, that was not the case. In fact on Saturday, July 20, 2013, the river had some whitecaps and there was a pretty good gale blowing in off the river.
Sunday and Monday morning the river was calm. I actually paddled farther on my kayak trip than I intended to because the river was so calm when I got out there. When I snapped the picture which is in the post, my kayak was almost motionless. Neither the wind nor the tide was winning. It was very close to equilibrium. Rarely do the tides and the winds cancel each other out. When it happens, the best thing to do is enjoy it. That is exactly what I ended up doing. Just after the noon hour, the wind picked up once again. If you are going to have fun on the river, the best bet is early in the morning.
While I was out on the river in my kayak, my wife called me twice just to check on me since I stayed out far longer than the planned hour or so. I wanted to check out some new gear so it was a great opportunity. Fishing this summer in the river has been slow, but I was rewarded with one pigfish which is a step up from the lizardfish that I caught in Bogue Sound the other day. I did see one bluefish jumping so things are beginning to move in a positive direction. This is a link to a Google map of my kayaking trip.
Hopefully it will not be long before we see some flounder or perhaps I will find a red drum in the surf or marshes. No matter what, fall will be here soon and the river comes into its own as spot for fishing. I had a lot of fun with puppy drum last fall and we usually have pretty good luck with trout.
Not only do the tide and wind balance out every now and then, but the good fishing days and the not so good ones come out pretty even also. Of course a day that you get a view like I had from my kayak on July 22, is better than any day that you can imagine in an office.