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Monday, February 13, 2017

Berry Hill Plantation

I thought  I would blog on something different this time.  I spent this past  weekend with my wife at Berry Hill Plantation Just outside of South Boston Virginia.  Now, I will not go into all of what they have to do there as google is your friend ,  but some of the pictures I post you probably will not find on the internet.

Berry Hill Mansion

There is a 100~ room Motel just to the right of the Mansion but the way it is landscaped and the hill off to the side you would never know it is there.

This is the old rock wall surrounding the Mansion.

An old Rock building.  This was one of the Slave Quarters. This is way back behind the Mansion on the trail to the Dan River

The trail that goes from the House to the river  then  meets up with The Tobacco Heritage Trail . You can walk from the Mansion or ride a bike but warning! It is uphill all the way back to the Mansion.   The Tobacco Heritage trail is only partially complete and part of it dead ends just up the river from Berry Hill.

This view is from the end of the Tobacco Heritage Trail looking east and the picnic  table seen in the 2nd picture down is in sight in this picture.

 This view is looking west (upstream) ,  the end of the Tobacco Heritage Trail is in the picture.


  This view is looking upstream
Look at the tree I walked up on! This Tree is Between the Trail and the river within sight of the dead end.  This is the biggest tree I have seen in a looooooooog time. What is so amazing is that  this tree stays the same diameter to at least 70 feet up.   It is either a Red or Black oak but I can't tell for sure without seeing a leaf from it.

Oh, If you happen upon this tree and have some insight as to what kind of Oak it is please post a comment. 

A view of one of the Fields behind Berry Hill . The Dan River is maybe 200 yards behind where I stood to take this picture.
Here is a map I made from Google earth and it shows the Mansion, Slave quarters, and the Big Tree

Oh, and don't forget to visit Darby's Tavern while you are there. 
Thanks for Looking Mack

Tags  "Berry Hill Plantation"
"Berry Hill Resort"  "Dan River"
"Tobacco Heritage Trail"

Sunday, February 12, 2017

My First Carp of the Year

Tuesday February 7th, 2017
Time:  10am-2pm
Air Temp- 70 degrees
Water Temp- 54 degrees
2 Shimano 3500 Baitrunners , 1 on an 8' Ugly Stik
The other on a 7' Ugly Tiger Rod.  Line was 16 Momoi Hi-vis
on one and 15 lb Big Game on the other.

Carp Rig-

This is my "normal" Carp Rig which is a 1 oz sinker, swivel, and just a few inches of 30lb Fluorocarbon attached to a Gamakasu hook.  The packbait on the sinker is Oatmeal(Brown Sugar and Maple) mixed with cream corn to which Vanilla flavoring has been added to.   Then I put 4-5 pieces of whole kernel corn on a #1 Gamakatsu Octopus hook.

Its has been a long while since I have caught a carp(October?)  and though now is Shad and Striper season I needed to stay close to home today so I made a decision to hit up my favorite Carp spot and try for a few. Now, I luv  to Carp fish but in previous years it was a summer thing when more glamorous species where either hard to catch or I was just tired of catching them.  If I was succesfull today it would be the earliest I have caught one.

I set up at 10am and after a few minutes I catch a 2~ Channel Cat.   Not a bad start but I wanted something bigger.   30 minutes later and I get a big hit.   I can tell this is probably a 15 plus pounder and after a few minutes the hook pulls out!!   30 minutes later and I catch another 2 plus lb channel cat.    Back to waiting and a short while later I get another big run.  Good fight, strong fish and as I get it near the hook pulls out again!!  What! am I cursed today?   I cast out again and another short wait and another good run.   I  battle this strong fish for 5 minutes and get in my first Carp of the year.
Now, this one wasn't as big as the first two runs but a very nice fish.  I have  a video of the landing that I will try to post soon.    

Thanks for looking, Mack

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Hickory Shad at Weldon were on Fire Today - 3/22/16

 Had the day off and my son was also on Spring break so I asked him did he want to go catch some shad. He said "sure". WOW!  He  is 19 and his priorities are school, girls, friends, girls, and did I say girls? and not necessarily in that order. So I was surprised and happy he chose to go shad fishing.

We didn't leave town until 2 so I only had 2 choices. The Tar near Rocky Mount or Weldon. I chose Weldon. I looked at usgs.gov and they had the flow listed at 10,500 cfm. I then looked at Dominion Powers release schedule and it was supposed to stay at that for at least 2 more days. We got there the water was muddy!  Crap!  I like mud for Bass fishing but not Shad fishing. I actually thought about heading south to the Tar but something told me to stay. We were fishing by 3:45 and the first Shad came to hand on the first or second cast. We caught too many to count. We fished 5 or so spots and all produced fish. when the action slowed on one spot we drifted down 50 yds or so, anchored and the action repeated.

We Never Left Sight of the Ramp.  When  action slowed we moved up or down no farther than a long cast and the action picked right back up.

All hits came on White 2 inch Berkely Powerbait grubs on a 1/8 oz Pink Jig head. It was a great few hours on the water with my son.

You can see how I tie the above rig at -

We finished the day off by stopping at Ralph's BBQ where one of my sister in laws works at,  so we got to see her and eat some great food.

An awesome ending to a great day of fishing.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

My 2016 Fox Squirrel Season

Hello Guys,   I Fox Squirrel Hunted 3 or 4 times this Season.   The First was with my Dog Pete.
Now, Pete and I had a blast and we saw 2 that day but they both went into holes and eluded us.
They are a lot smarter than most people think, maybe they get a bad wrap from the tame ones on golf courses but these ones we hunt are ELUSIVE.

The next time I went was November the 28th.   This time I took a friend of a friend who had never seen a Fox Squirrel and wanted to kill one and mark it off his bucket list. Lee is his name and it was a wonderful day hunting with a very nice hunter. We met up at 11:00 am and made the 1hr drive south to my  Fox Squirrel hot spot.  You could immediately tell that Lee was an expert hunter  and the pressure was on for me to put Lee on one.  

My plan was to go to good spots and sit at each one for ~30 minutes and if no action to move and repeat. On the first move I spotted a big Black saddleback one ahead of us but he gave us the slip.
This move and repeat process continued until 3pm  when I told Lee That we were in my # 2 spot and we should sit here till dark.  Lee sat up against one big pine and I another approximately 70 yards from him.  There wasn't much happening until 5 pm when I heard something running between Lee and I . I looked that way and a big Silver one climbed a small oak. I  Rushed the tree and Lee was getting there as well. The squirrel then jumped to a big pine and both lee and I had him spotted.  I told Lee that the honor was his and His trusty Winchester 37 in 410 put the hammer on that squirrel.    An awesome ending to a great afternoon in the woods.

Here is the picture of Lee's Fox Squirrel -

Lee then presented me with a Turkey Wingbone call that he made himself from a turkey he killed !!
Wow! what a special present.  Thanks Lee, I hope we can do this again next year.

Fast Forward to 12/12/2016 and I was after one for me.   Somehow I was daydreaming or just not paying attention and I missed my turn to where I hunt.    I went over a little hill and I see what I think is a dead Fox Squirrel on the side of US 1. I have to turn around anyway and as I pull up to it I can see that it is a Fox Squirrel.
 Crap,  I sometimes shoot them but it is a shame when one gets run over.   What a nice example of a Saddleback color phase.  I put the squirrel just off the road in the woods so it could return to the earth.

Now, I was headed in the right direction.   I arrived at my spot and since my time was limited today I chose to make the sit till dark in the same place that Lee and I hunted  a few weeks ago.  I sat down and was about to nod off and in 5 minutes and I hear something in the tree 5 yards in front of me.  I look up and there is this big beautiful Black one coming down the tree not 5 yards from me.   The squirrel gets to the bottom and knows I am something but doesn't know what.   Anyway, I got a video of it which I added the going in and out of the woods.  I ain't  the best movie maker  but watch that sucker check me out from the bottom of the tree.

Here is the video ----

 and a picture,  shot with a 20 gauge Savage S x S using # 6 shot at 25 yards

Though I only got to Fox Squirrel Hunt 3 or 4 times it was a fun season and one I will remember.
Thanks, Mack

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Lunch Break Crappie

3 Lunch break trips and 1 evening Trip

Date:  December 16, 2016
Where :   Central NC Lake
Rod:   Berkley 12' Crappie Pro
Reel:  Daiwa StrikeForce 1000-B
Lure:  Black/Red/Chartreuse Crappie Jig
Depth:  Fish caught 7' deep in 10 ' water
Time:  1200-1300 
Air Temp:  COLD  32degrees 
Water Temp:  41 Degrees

I had heard the crappie were biting but recently my time has been limited.   Cameron from work was going to fish this lake for a few hours so I decided to join him during my lunch hour.  Lots of small ones were biting with a few decent ones mixed in.   All were caught by tight lining tubes or jigs 7' down in 10' of water.  Almost all of the crappie were Black Crappie with just a couple being White Crappie.  We also caught a couple of White Catfish.  Now I actually enjoy catching the catfish as they get your heart pumping when you initially think you have just hooked a 3 lb Crappie!!!  I probably caught 12~ fish and Cameron double that as he was there longer than me.  This was a fun lunch break. I think I will have to do this again next week .

Surprise Golden Shiner 

 Trip to same place December 20th   for  another Lunchbreak-

Decided to go again during my lunch.   A couple of things I changed up today is 1. that I brought another rod. This second rod would have a shad spoon on the bottom with 2 droppers above it with hooks baited with small pieces of garlic worms.  Google "Garlic Worms".  This rod would be an Uncle Bucks 9' rod with a 1000 size Shimano reel.    Now I caught a few on the Tube jig(and the biggest Crappie today) but the majority of fish came on the baited hooks dropped down 7-10 ft deep in 12 ft deep water.  I caught 2 fish on the spoon and a few more on the tube jig but most came on the Garlic Worms.   Water temp today was 43 degrees.

Today's catch was 1 White Cat,  2 yellow perch, 1 gizzard shad caught in the mouth!, 15~ crappie, and 10~ bream.  I only caught 1 decent crappie today but it was a fun hour with constant fish.

Small Yellow Perch

 White Catfish

Bream - here you can see the Shad Spoon on bottom and 1 of the droppers that the fish was caught on.

A Black Crappie


This was a fun lunch break today.  I am going to hit this spot again tomorrow or the next day. Heck! maybe I will fish it both days.

Fast Forward a few days

Hit it again the other day during lunch and this evening 12/25 and both times caught Crappie , Bream, Yellow Perch and White Cats.

This is a nice looking specimen but 95 percent on Yellow Perch in the Piedmont of North Carolina are small. They are either stunted or just dont grow well in central NC.  To consistently get really Nice Yellow Perch in  North Carolina you need to go down east to some of the Blackwater creeks where they grow considerably larger.. 

And this is what happens when word gets out where you are fishing and they are biting!! They were 8 other fishermen here at one time.

My wife with a nice Black Crappie

Thanks, Mack

Monday, November 7, 2016

Carp from my Old Stomping Grounds.

I grew up on the banks of the Haw  River just north of Burlington, NC.  The Haw is where I learned to fish and where I caught my first carp. 9lbs? if I remember correctly( I will get that picture and have it scanned and post it one day).   Just north of my parents house is a tributary of the Haw that has a millpond on it.   I sometimes would split my time fishing the Haw around my parents house and then sometimes I would hop on my bike and go after some nice bass and White Bass that this old millpond has.
It was a big adventure back when I was 14 and biking those 2 miles to the millpond. 2 miles back then was like a 100 today.    I never did purposely fish for carp in that old millpond but I did catch some by accident while pursuing other species.  One memory I have of that pond is a couple of older gentlemen who fished that  millpond religiously for carp. They used packbait and I remember seeing that and thinking how could a carp eat that??   I do remember that I saw them catch some huge carp some probably 30 lbs plus.
So fast forward to this year(Oct 28, 2016) and I decided to go there and  purposely fish for carp.  I only had 2 hours so I was not sure I could catch one.  I used my normal rig and pack bait of oatmeal, cream corn and vanilla with 3 or 4 kernels of corn on the hook.   I caught a small bullhead about an hour in and at about an hour and a half in one reel starts screaming!  Fish on!  .    After a brief battle I pulled in a
4lb carp give or take.  Not a big carp but I was very proud of this one as it was my first at this childhood spot on purpose.    A very  good day.

The rods and reels.   Shimano 3500 Baitrunner w/15 lb test on an  8' Ugly Stik , and a Daiwa 2600SS w/12lb test  on a Pinnacle Rod.
The Bait.....there is a 1 oz weight under there

The result......

Like I said, not a  huge carp but a very special one.   Now I just need to pull one of those 30 lbers out.


"Carp fishing North Carolina"

Friday, October 28, 2016

Bull Reds From the Surf

I had decided after catching 5 big ones on a yak Friday that on Tuesday(Oct 25, 2016) I would head back down there and try to get one out of the surf.
I Left the big city at 11 and was on the beach at 2:30.
My plan was to to throw 2 rods out with mullet(frozen) and try to catch some fresh bait. Except for a big blue crab I had no hits until I caught a bluefish at aprox 445 . I then proceeded to cut it into chunks. The head went on my 7000 blue yonder on a 12 Pinnacle rod and the next section went on a Shimano 6500 baitrunner on a 12' Powerstick plus.
Both of these outfits can throw 9 oz of lead easy. I had 6 oz on the spinning outfit and 9 oz on the Blue yonder. I cast both of these out right to where some pelicans had just dived . Almost Immediately the spinning outfits tip started heading down and then the baitrunner was giving line. I picked it up and started reeling which takes the baitrunner off and goes to drag. I could tell it was a big un and the battle began. 5 mins into the fight the Blue Yonder starts going


I  had to back up to the Blue Yonder to engage the reel and then pick it up with one hand setting the hook. I then put it back down in the holder and loosened the drag. I fought the first one for at least 5 more minutes , lipped it, had someone take a few quick photos and then I had to hold it in the water for at least another 5 before I felt confident it could swim off. Swim off it did. All the while I was keeping an eye on the blue yonder as I didn't want to lose that fish and surely didn't want to lose a 500 dollar outfit. When I picked it up it may have had 30 yards of line left before it hit the bottom of the spool. Another 10 minute battle and the second was beached , photoed and released. An awesome day.
2 Big reds on at the same time and both landed.  Today was my lucky day.  The first went 45 inches and the second I didn't measure but it was only an inch or 2 shorter.     See below for pictures.

Pete my dog was my companion today and he truly loves to fish. I think he enjoyed the trip today more than I did.

Pete on the Ride down

 Pete relaxin on the Beach

6500 Shimano Baitrunner(80's model) spooled with 15 lb Big Game with 40 lb shock leader(Red Cajun)  The rod was a 12' Power Stik. I have had this outfit since the mid to late 80's and it works just as well as the new outfits.

Abu Garcia 7000 Blue Yonder spooled with 16 lb Momoi Line with a 40 lb shock leader.  The rod on this outfit is a 12' Pinnacle .

The Rig consisted of a Pyramid sinker(6- 9 oz) attached to a sinker slide, swivel , leader, and then either a J or circle 9/0 Gamakatsu Hooks.

                                                                     A bait thief

A Northern Puffer  .......

The first one

The second one

An awesome ending to an Awesome day.

" Red Drum North Carolina"
"Red  Drum"