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Blue Skies and Blue Water

It is nice to be back to normal weather here on the Crystal Coast. We have seen our high temperatures swing from 84F on October 10 to 52F on Oct 18 so seeing temperatures back in the seventies is a real treat.

With a forecast that shows highs in the seventies for the foreseeable future, we can focus on being outside and enjoying the area once again. For me that means finding some time to get back on the water.

Fall water can be very inviting as the above picture snapped today in Cape Carteret shows. There are few things that are more enjoyable than spending a fall day on the water with the warm Carolina sun keeping away any thoughts of frosty temperatures. While being on the water defines fall for me, there are many other signs of fall along the Southern Outer Banks.

Many would argue that the biggest change that fall brings is the influx of fishermen who go surf fishing on our beaches. I would agree that a beach full of four wheel drive trucks with rod carriers and fishermen is a good indication of fall. Seeing trucks on the beach only happens in the October through April time so finding them there the first time after summer is proof positive that fall is here.

Another sign of fall along the coast would be fresh local oysters in our restaurants. They are a fall tradition that goes back many years. While most of the oysters these days are consumed steamed or fried instead of raw, the presence of local oysters is definitely a good sign that fall is here.

It does not take much driving up the beach road to figure out another sure sign of fall. That would the annual sales at the beach stores. Fall is the time when many of the stores try to move their remaining merchandise at a substantial discount. If you like to do bargain hunting, fall on the coast is a good time to do it.

Halloween decorations, especially lots of pumpkins, start showing up in fall, but we have a very unique decoration that starts making its appearance in some stores as early as October. It is those wonderful Crab Pot Christmas trees that are so popular along the Crystal Coast. I think everyone who has ever visited us when the trees are on display has gone home with one of the trees.

While we do not get the tremendous burst of fall colors seen in the mountains of North Carolina, you will see some color here on the coast in the fall. Often the Virginia creeper vines in the trees will turn red, and we also have a few other trees that provide us with a dose of color.

Fall is also the time that our centipede yards start going dormant. They often turn brown and then red. That works out well since if we mow our yards fewer times that translates into more time for fishing. Just at we start focusing on fishing, the farmers start collecting their crops. Combines in the corn field are the first signs that the growing season is winding down. Usually the soybeans and then cotton are harvested next. My years of farming taught me that it is hard to be a farmer and a fisherman at the same time..

Of all the signs of fall that I enjoy, probably the one that means the most to me are the boats gathered around the bridge to Emerald Isle. It sometimes looks like the fishing fleet goes all the way to Swansboro and a good distance up Bogue Sound towards Morehead City. Only in the fall do you see the gathering of the boats to catch spots. While those boats in the Intracoastal are chasing spots, many other boats are after red drum, trout, bluefish, and flounder. Fall is fishing here on the coast, and being out on the water in a boat is one of the best ways to enjoy the season.

With all this great weather, I expect to be on the water the next couple of days. I will be one of the dozens of Sundance skiffs with Yamaha motors anchored someplace along our shores testing my luck with our local fish. If things go right, I might even have some very fresh fish for dinner Thursday night. Whether I catch fish or not, I plan to have a great day and reconnect with the water. I will see you out there.