This time of year you can catch largemouth a lot of different ways from top water, jigs, crank baits and spinner baits but the one that will put fish in the boat every day no matter what the weather is soft plastics. Soft plastics come in every shape and form imaginable with some looking like exact replicas of a frog or worm while others look like something out of a science fiction movie. The colors are as different as well with some glowing in the dark while others are black as coal. When you approach the soft plastic isle in your local tackle store it can be rather intimidating but around the Albemarle region we have a few basic ones that pay off rather well. When fishing soft plastics in our creeks and river systems we can choose some easy lures that will pay off in almost every one of them. Flukes are a soft plastic lure that is fished without a weight and looks like a bait fish in the water. Run the hook through the head of the lure then out the bottom of the body and back up through the slit in its under belly. The hook and bait should be straight in order to get the correct action so take your time. Once the bait is tied on you can use a spinning rod to skip the bait up under branches and limbs and in order to make the bait look natural you want to make quick snaps with the rod tip. This action will make the bait dance back and forth in the water which appears to be an escaping baitfish and the bass love this. If you can get the bait all the way to the bank that works even better because most of the bait this time of year is shallow. You want to throw whites and pearls with some blue flakes mixed in for best results. Plastic worms and lizards are another go to plastic bait and these you want to fish with a pegged weight at the head on a Texas rig. What that means is you first put a bullet weight on the line then tie on the hook which should be at least a size 3 but I prefer 4s and 5s. You then thread the head with the hook for about a quarter of an inch then bring it out and spin it. Move the hook down the body and bring it back into the body so when the hook comes back out the worm will remain straight. You then stick the hook point back into the body which will make the lure weedless. Then take a tooth pick and break it off in the bottom of the weight and slide the weight down to the head of the worm. The tooth pick will keep the weight from sliding on the line and will give the bait a more natural action. Throw these baits in every bush and stump field on the bank and then bring them down the first drop in front of the structure. If a fish in there he will hit it either with a ton of force or it may just get heavy either way set the hook. I always tell people when they are first learning soft plastics when in doubt, set the hook and don’t be shy about it. Bring that rod tip high and fast over your head and let them know you are there. I like to throw natural colors here with browns, reds and pumpkin seed. These techniques are a tried and true way to catch bass but remember it takes practice and patience to fish soft plastics but the rewards are worth the wait. The offshore guys are in the middle of one of the biggest billfish bites of the year with blues and sails coming to those looking for them and it is just in time for the Pirates Cove tournament. Some lucky boat will be bringing home close to a quarter of a million dollars this week so good luck to all. The tuna are still pretty regular and there are some dolphin mixed in but not as much as they usually are this time of year. Closer to shore and on the beaches the action is not as busy but there is some blues and Spanish mackerel just off the breakers. Some mullet and flounder are next to the beach and we even had a 40 plus pound cobia caught off Jennette’s Pier this week. Blood worms are working for the mullet but fresh shrimp is working for everything else. Here at home it is still a hot bite on the largemouth and the white perch. Ron Statzer from Elizabeth City was fishing the Big Flatty this past week and scored two nice largemouth on a weightless worm. That creek has had some nice fish in it lately so I am going to have to give it a try and see for myself. The perch are on the drop offs just outside the flats in about 5 to 7 feet of water and they don’t seem to be slowing down any. Huge numbers are being reported with some guys complaining that the hardest part is trying to get through the small ones to get to the bigger fish. It is a terrible problem to have but someone is going to catch a hundred or so to catch the big ones for dinner. White Bettle Spins and Uncle Jessie lures tipped with shrimp are the pay off lures here so enjoy you fishing. Remember that if you get out like Ron send me a report and some bragging pictures to email@example.com or hit me up on Facebook at Fishing with Mike and I will do my best to show off your catch. Mike Sweeney is a local fishing coach and he writes about his fishing adventures in the Daily Advance, Albemarle Times and for the Elizabeth City Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Click here to book light tackle guide trips for the Albemarle region and Chesapeake Bay for stripers, trout, flounder, spanish mackerel and... READ MORE ».
When the bass are moving around a lot like they do right now then one of the best search baits is a crank bait that you can go look for them with. The one I always seem to favor is a small square bill bait made by Strike King that will move through almost any cover with minimum hang ups. The K.V.D. square bill is designed to do just that with ease and if you hit the structure you trigger the strike. When I am out fishing the bank’s I like to hit all the cover till I get a strike but in order to cover a lot of water you have to use a bait that will travel at the same speed as I do and I can move down a bank quickly. If I have lily pads then I like a fluke, spinner bait or even a frog but in between the vegetation I like to throw a square bill for the fact that I know I can hit the brush or logs with little hang ups and also because I know almost nobody else is doing it. It provides a look that the fish have not seen before and it triggers strikes when it bounces off the wood or brush. The key to fishing this bait in the wood is a sensitive rod and perfect lure presentation. Cast the bait beyond the target and make the approach carefully with the lure so that it contacts the structure and reflects off then you pause the bait just after the contact. This is when the strike will usually happen so be ready for it. I try to imagine the lure as it travels down the water column and you have to believe the fish is sitting right next to the wood just like he is supposed to. If you see a great spot and they don’t hit on the first cast make multiple casts to the same spot but using different angles till you are convinced that the fish is not there. Some of my best fish come off of structure that you can’t even see like stumps and laydowns on the drop off so fish the bait all the way back to the boat and don’t be shocked if you get hit with only a few feet of line left. The offshore guys had a time this week with the big north winds but it looks like they are going to work out for the best. When the wind switches from out of the north the water temps rise at the beach and the fishing usually improves shortly after. With the power issues south of Nags Head the big question is can you get out but the only thing I can say is call your local captain if you want a charter out of Hatteras and try your best to support them. This electric problem has had everyone scrambling down on the southern beaches and I am sure they can work something out and get you fishing. The few guys who did get out this week had real good luck with the mahi and the bill fish are still hanging around if you know where to look for them. On the beach and piers there is some improvement with the rising water temps with some mullet action as well as blues. The flounder have been hanging around also and they seem to like to be right in the surf in the first drop so you don’t need a big rod and reel to reach them. If you are fishing the piers try right under your feet next to the pilings they love to hang around and ambush prey that hang around under there. Closer to home we have had a spectacular largemouth bite all year and it has no signs of letting up now. Frogs, Pop-Rs and other top water baits pay off huge this year and I thing it all has to do with the locust season and the large dragon fly population we have in our area but either way it is fun to fish top water. There is nothing like it when the fish hits the bait and the explosion that follows make your heart race and the only problem is not setting the hook too soon. Wait till you feel the fish pull the line then let him have it. The catfishing has also been good this year with lots of big cats coming to fresh cut eel on bottom rigs and noodles. If anyone gets out this week send me a report to firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Facebook at Fishing with Mike and let me know how you did. Mike Sweeney is a local fishing coach and he writes about his fishing adventures in the Daily Advance, Albemarle Times and for the Elizabeth City Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Click here to book light tackle guide trips for the Albemarle region and Chesapeake Bay for stripers, trout, flounder, spanish mackerel and... READ MORE ».
Don’t miss out on experiencing our Albemarle waterways with local kayaking experts this September. Learn what locals know: that coastal North Carolina has beautiful weather in the fall. We have designed our Progressive Paddling Party so you can meet new people while exploring interesting paddles. Bring your own kayak or rent a kayak here. Our $25 registration fee will gain you access to two receptions and a spot in our guided kayaking tours. Register today as tour spots are limited! The party will begin on Friday, September 22 at 5:00 p.m. with a Rose Buddies welcome reception at Grouper’s Waterfront Restaurant (400 S Water St #6, Elizabeth City) which gives party goers an opportunity to get to know each other. The next morning at 7:30 a.m., we will conduct a safety presentation by a USCG certified kayak safety instructor at Pelican Marina (43 Camden Causeway, Elizabeth City). This will allow experienced kayakers to review their equipment and procedures while beginners will get a solid introduction to the sport. Bring your own kayak or rent one there. Once the safety presentations are completed, kayakers will be able to proceed to either the Merchants Millpond tour or Sawyers Creek tour: Merchants Millpond State Park– Sometimes referred to as the Enchanted Forest, Merchants Millpond State Park will allow paddlers to see bald cypress trees and possibly alligators. You can view videos and see more about this state park paddle by clicking here. The guide will be a park ranger with extensive knowledge of the area. Kayaks and canoes can be rented at the park as well. Sawyers Creek Trail– This guided 3.5-mile paddle is perfect for beginners and will allow ample opportunities for viewing native wildlife and vegetation. Kayak transportation will be available to Sawyers Creek for anyone renting from the Pelican Marina. After both groups finish the morning paddles, we will rendezvous in downtown Elizabeth City for lunch. Some of the downtown restaurants to choose from are The Flour Girls Café and Bakery (102 N Water St, Elizabeth City), Sidney’s Café & Bistro (507 E Main St, Elizabeth City) or Toyama Japanese Restaurant (218 N Poindexter St, Elizabeth City). Click here for a complete list of Elizabeth City dining options. You can also stop by the Downtown Waterfront Market at Mariners’ Wharf from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. as well as browse the downtown shops in Elizabeth City. After lunch, the paddling party will continue at: Yeopim Creek – The afternoon paddle of the beautiful Yeopim Creek will launch at Albemarle Plantation in Hertford, NC at 2:30 p.m. This short video will show you more about this paddle. We will rendezvous at the Albemarle Plantation Marina parking lot where we will consolidate our kayaks. Kayaks and a canoe are available for rent at the marina Dockmaster’s office. After an afternoon of kayaking on Yeopim Creek, we will have an informal reception at the Dockside Cafe at Albemarle Plantation (421 Albemarle Blvd, Hertford) with refreshments and a chance for the group to share favorite kayaking stories. But don’t let the fun end when the reception is over! All are welcome to join an evening of celebration in Hertford for Toast the Perquimans, a craft beer and wine tasting event with a variety of cuisine from food trucks from 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Click here to reserve your ticket. And on Sunday morning, watch the Moth Boat Regatta in Elizabeth City’s harbor. Information on lodging discounts in Elizabeth City is available by calling the Elizabeth City Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. See you on the... READ MORE ».
When the weather gets hot and the sun rises high above the water the bass tend to slow down a bit but if you know how to fish finesse baits then the bite can continue till the end of the day. Finesse baits are small, soft plastic baits in the shape of worms or shad that when rigged correctly can be deadly on summer time largemouth. My favorite way to fish these baits is Texas rigged with no weights but a lot of other anglers use small jig heads designed to fish these small lures. I have been fishing flukes for years but there are new versions of the same lures which are much smaller and the action is more subtle. If you place one of these lures on a hook and let it slow fall into the edge of a brush pile you are sure to get a bite. Finesse worms work the same way with it’s own kind of action that fish can’t resist. The key to fishing small baits is to use small line and light tackle to match the baits so ultralight rods with 8 pound test is the standard rig. It takes a lot of patience to fish these baits so take your time and let it fall on it’s own time and watch the line as it falls. When you do hit bottom move it slowly in small amounts so the fish can see it. Sometimes the bite is hard and the line will take off running and other times the line just gets tight on the other end but I have always said when in doubt set the hook. The Fishing Report For the offshore fleet it has been hit or miss only because of the wind that kept them tied to the docks a couple of days this week. When they did get out, they caught plenty of tuna and mahi. It seems that if you target tuna they can be found and if you stick with the grass line the mahi are there. The billfish bite is also on fire with plenty of sails and marlin flags flying high at the docks and with the Pirates Cove Tournament coming up it looks like they showed up just in time. Close to shore the drum bite is decent down around Hatteras and the kingfish are still a couple of miles offshore for those looking hard enough. The beach and piers have been slow all week and it doesn’t look like it will improve much till the wind changes to the north. There are some flounder here and there along with some small mullet but other than that it is slow. Closer to home we have one of the best largemouth bites in years with quality fish coming to top water baits like buzz baits, Pop-Rs and Wopper Ploppers so if you ever wanted to have your heart jump out of your chest get out and throw your best surface baits for largemouth and see what happens. Tom Tarrants of South Mills caught a 4-plus pound largemouth right off his docks in Newbegun Creek so the bass bite is still on. After the sun gets high the best bet is soft plastics and jigs with creeks and outside turns on the main river with deep water close by your best bets. The white perch have always been on this year with deep water being the place to look. The water temps are moving up which drives the fish deep so use your electronics to help locate the fish. (Photo at top is a 19″ Puppy Drum caught off a private pier near Davis Bay) Keep those pictures and reports coming guys. If anyone gets out this week send me a report to email@example.com or hit me up on Facebook at Fishing with Mike and let me know how you did. Mike Sweeney is a local fishing coach and he writes about his fishing adventures in the Daily Advance, Albemarle Times and for the Elizabeth City Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Click here to book light tackle guide trips for the Albemarle region and Chesapeake Bay for stripers, trout, flounder, spanish mackerel and... READ MORE ».
When it comes to fly fishing a lot of people think trout streams and rapids but fly fishing can be done in any body of water including the ocean and our local water ways. You can fish for Bass, Stripers, Brim, Perch and just about any other species we have swimming in our waters and with relatively little expense. Fly fishing has come a long way since I was a kid but my grandfather taught me how when I was very young and since then I have fished for almost every species I can with it and you don’t know what a good fight is till you hook a 25” striper on a fly rod. Fishing with a fly rod can be simple if you have the right equipment and a little practice you can be landing Largemouth out of the ponds in no time. The first thing you need is a rod and you can’t just go buy a rod it has to be the proper weight rod. Fly rods are made with a weight factor so the higher the weight the stronger the rods. If you are fishing for brim or perch then a 3 or 4 weight will work and if you are fishing for Largemouth a 6 to 8 will suffice. When you go offshore you want something in the 10 to 14 class in order to handle the bigger fish including Mahi, Tuna and Billfish. Fly reels are for the most part pretty simple tools with only a spool to hold the line and the drag is set by holding the palm of your hand on the reel and keeping the fish from running by applying pressure. The main difference in reels is what the product is made of and how much line it can handle. Fly line is a lot like regular fishing line with the exception that some line floats while others sink so pick a line that suits the rod and what kind of fishing you will be doing. There are plenty of videos on You Tube to watch for instruction or you can contact me for advice and I will be happy to help. The offshore fishing report is looking up with good weather and hungry fish coming to the boats. The Tuna are still hanging around but you have to fish for them. Yellowfin and Blackfin are coming to the docks with the occasional big eye. The Mahi have been regulars on the grass lines and when you find one there are always more. The Billfish have really been on with blue and white marlin flags on a lot of boats as well as Sailfish and they are just in time for the peak of the tournament season. Near the shores and on the beaches we still have some Cobia hanging around in the grass lines outside of Oregon Inlet but the numbers are down compared to last month. (Photo at top shows Jake Worthington and his mom Lisa with a Cobia caught off the grassline.) The piers and beach fishing has been slow again this week but it looks like some action is still around the point with sharks being the main target. Fresh cut bait works here with steel leaders and the channel in between the new island is a good place to start. There are some mullet here and there up and down the beach along with some Flounder up around the northern beaches but as a general rule it is slow. Locally we have plenty of White Perch up in the stumps and off in the channel drops using Uncle Jessie lures and white Beetle Spins tipped with Shrimp. Remember to only keep the big ones and let the others grow up for next year. The Largemouth Bass have been on point all year with quality fish up to 7 pounds being landed in almost every river and creek we have. Top water baits like buzz baits and Pop-Rs are on a lot of rods but soft plastics like Flukes and finesse worms are also putting quality fish in the boats. Bobby Moore and his fishing partner Vince Hoium from Moyock have been catching quality bass all year on the Northwest River using frog baits almost exclusively and it seems that every week I am getting another picture of one or the other angler with 5 and 6 pound fish. Keep those pictures and reports coming guys. If anyone gets out this week send me a report to firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Facebook at Fishing with Mike and let me know how you did. Mike Sweeney is a local fishing coach and he writes about his fishing adventures in the Daily Advance, Albemarle Times and for the Elizabeth City Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Click here to book light tackle guide trips for the Albemarle region and Chesapeake Bay for Stripers, Trout, Flounder, Spanish Mackerel and... READ MORE ».
When I was fishing for largemouth on the local tournament trail I had my boat loaded with every lure and piece of tackle I could afford for the time. It was not uncommon to go to a tackle store and spend over $100 on tackle that never hit the water but at the time it seemed important and I needed it. Since I have gotten older and wiser and broker I realized that it is not always about the lure but the angler that makes the lure work. You could use the best most expensive equipment money can buy but if you don’t master the art of working that particular lure you are wasting your time and cash. What I do now is simplify my fishing by using some tried and true lures that I know I can catch fish with because I have in the past and I know they will work. I have confidence in the lures and I know how and when to fish them. When I am fishing for largemouth I have one tackle tray and a small bag with some soft plastics in it. I have a small amount of lures that I have been perfecting over the years and I know they will work for me. I fish Flukes, spinner baits, worms, lizards, Pop-Rs and a small selection of cranks baits. When I am fishing for stripers I have a box with stretch lures and another with some swim baits and that is it. On the beach and piers I have a small selection lures such as Gotcha Plugs and Gulp baits while the rest is just bottom rigs and weights. You can fish whatever baits that make you comfortable but till you simplify your selection of tackle you never know how good you can get at fishing them till it is all you fish. One of the things I used to do to learn a lure is to only take that particular lure with me when I went fishing and it made me learn the lure and everything it can do. So if you are looking to get out more often or just get out easier then simplify your fishing and the rest will fall in place. Fishing Report The fishing report for the offshore fleet is all about the yellowfin tuna this week again but the sharks are taking their fare share of them. The marlin bite has been good this week again so the tournament guys are happy and the mahi bite is picking up so they should keep you busy. The beach and piers have had off and on days with crystal clear water and temps in the good range it is more about timing than fishing. If you put the time in on the sand it is only a matter of the right tide and wind to bring the schools of fish to you. That is exactly what happened when little Maci Eure (shown at the top) was fishing with her mom and dad around Salvo and the trout turned on in a hole between the sandbars and she landed a nice 16inch fish. You never know if you don’t go is what my friend Bob from Bob’s Bait and Tackle used to say so get out there and go fishing. Locally it is still a good largemouth bite with top water in the mornings and soft plastics during the high sun. Main river ledges with steep drop offs will work best for these fish but don’t forget the creeks when the water is moving in and out. These current breaks make great ambush areas for largemouth and they will visit them often during the course of the day. The white perch are still on the march with huge numbers being had on white Beetle Spins and Uncle Jessie lures tipped with shrimp. Look for a drop off just outside the flats in about 5 to 7 feet of water. The Northwest River seems to be bringing some nice fish lately with 3 to 5 pounders hitting Pop-rs and frogs. Brad Janovetz and Bobby Hunt have been catching them all year on this river and with very little pressure it might last all year for them. If anyone else gets a chance to get out then send me a report and some pictures to email@example.com or hit me up on Facebook at Fishing with Mike and I will be glad to share. Mike Sweeney is a local fishing coach and he writes about his fishing adventures in the Daily Advance, Albemarle Times and for the Elizabeth City Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Click here to book light tackle guide trips for the Albemarle region and Chesapeake Bay for stripers, trout, flounder, Spanish mackerel and... READ MORE ».
There is a new world today for kids with the web and smart phones and video games they have more to keep them entertained than I ever did at their age but the disadvantage is they do most of this indoors. Kids are losing the outdoors to technology and if you don’t believe me try to take the phone away from them and find out for yourself. The good news is we have some of the best fishing in the area right here at our door step to get them out of the house and into the wild outdoors. The fishing this year is one for the record books with white perch all over the rivers and some of the best largemouth fishing we have seen in years. The piers are steady pulling fish over the rails and we just recently had a 13 year old catch a big eye tuna over 100 pounds and it is up for a youth angler world record. The kids and the parents are stuck in this technology world but if you can manage to look up from your phone you have a great opportunity to get outdoors and fish for fun. Local 8 year old semi-pro angler Harper Evans was fishing a farm pond with a Pop-R top water bait in Rocky Hock and scored two nice largemouth on back to back casts and she didn’t even need a phone or a laptop to do it. It doesn’t take much to keep kids entertained and the quality time with family can never be replaced with an electronic device of any kind. Fishing in our area is a good way to spend the day outdoors with family and friends so remember before you buy that new video game you have been looking at, for about the same price you can get a rod and reel with some tackle and have a lot more entertainment for the same price. Fishing Report The offshore boats have a bad case of tuna fever this week with a slower mahi bite the tuna have been the target of choice. The yellowfin have been the target species and have been happy to cooperate while the sharks have slowed down a bit and not stolen as many fish as last week. Closer to shore on the beaches and piers the water has become crystal clear which means the puppy drum have picked up in the surf. Gulp baits on jig heads have been the bait of choice and try to stick with the natural colors like white or chartreuse when the water is this clear. The Spanish mackerel have also picked up out at the ends of the piers on Gotcha plugs and it looks like it will be another good year for them because they have been up and down the beach this week in good numbers. We also had a couple of mahi caught off the piers with one on Avon and another on Jennette’s. This sometimes happens when the bait are thick and the waters warm up. They will come out of the gulf stream and move close to the beach giving us an opportunity for a nice catch. Locally in our area we are all about the white perch with numbers like we have not seen in years. Guys are coming back to the docks talking about 150fish days with some guys catching 20in a row. The biggest problem is working your way through the small ones in order to keep the bigger ones. The fish are on the first drop off where the flat falls into the channel in about 5 to 7 feet and are hitting Uncle Jessie lures, white Beetle Spins and Road Runners and if you tip the hook with shrimp it will pay off even more. The largemouth bite is also on with top water bites coming to Pop-Rs and frog baits. It usually is only in the mornings but if you can find shade under a tree or dock they will hit all day long. Local angler Patrick Morgan from Currituck caught a nice bass or two with the help of his fishing partner Chico on a frog in the Northwest River this past weekend. Flukes and other soft plastics are also paying off in the sunny areas and around the creek mouths so let’s get out there and go fishing like Patrick and Chico. If anyone gets a chance to get out especially with the kids send me a picture and a report to firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Facebook at Fishing with Mike. Mike Sweeney is a local fishing coach and he writes about his fishing adventures in the Daily Advance, Albemarle Times and for the Elizabeth City Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Click here to book light tackle guide trips for the Albemarle region and Chesapeake Bay for stripers, trout, flounder, Spanish mackerel and... READ MORE ».
Swapping fish stories… So, I was talking to Fish Boy the other day. “Few people know that Elizabeth City has the best fishing in the world–with nine separate ways to catch a fish,” he said. “How so?” I queried. “Well,” he said, spinning his Bass Ale on the bar, “here you have the most opportunity to fish and that’s important.” He took a sip. “You dump your boat in early and you have a choice,” he continued. “Weather’s good, you go on out onto the sound after the big ones. It’s blowing into the river and creeks on light tackle. If the weather’s fantastic, you can always trailer down to the Roanoke River or even up to the Chesapeake Bay and go after the lunkers.” “Yeah,” I replied wisely. “But you gotta have a boat!” He took a sip and grinned, “Not so landlubber,” he said. “Within an hour or so, there’s surf fishing on the Outer Banks, pier fishing if you want to be near a beer, head boat fishing out of Manteo, and deep sea fishing at several nearby places.” “Okay, that’s eight,” I said. “Where’s the ninth?” He couldn’t be stopped. “The best thing about it is that you can stay in Elizabeth City at Elizabeth City prices and spend your money on gas or charters,” he added. “The ninth?” I insisted. “Well, it’s designed for conversationalists,” he noted. “It’s taking a rod and reel down to the main docks, tossin’ in a line, and talking with folks.” “Sounds like me,” I replied. “I’m no fisherman but I do like to talk.”... READ MORE ».
Elizabeth City the gateway to the Albemarle Region is rich in kayaking opportunities. We have selected five kayaking ventures from the Albemarle Region Paddling Trails you should traverse on your next visit. For those of you wanting to travel light, the Pelican Marina offers kayak rentals for the Elizabeth City area. Late March through May and September through November are the best times to paddle in the area because these months offer warm days, comfortable nights and not too many bugs. To kick-off the fall kayaking season, we are hosting a Progressive Paddling Party on September 22 – 23 where you will have the opportunity to experience several of the trails shown below with guides. #1 Sawyers Creek Trail – 3.5 Mile Trail Sawyers Creek trail is located on the outskirts of Elizabeth City. This tributary of the Pasquotank River, offers opportunities for kayak fishing and viewing native wildlife and vegetation. You should plan 2 to 3 hours for this excursion. We suggest using the Wildlife Boat Ramp on NC Highway 343 (GPS Coordinates: 36.331841, -76.179953) as the put in and paddling upstream 2 miles and back. Then paddle 1.5 miles downstream to Lamb’s Marina (GPS Coordinates: 36.321799, -76.175822) and have a wonderful lunch across the street at Track I. This scenic paddling trail is easy and perfect for beginners. #2 Big Flatty Creek Trail – 4 Miles Round Trip The Big Flatty Creek Trail, located approximately 11 miles south of Elizabeth City, begins on the open waters of the creek and goes upstream to the headwaters of Chapel Creek and Mill Dam Creek. Each creek is four miles round trip. While on this creek be sure to stop and take in the splendor of the Albemarle Sound. The best access point is at the NC Wildlife Resources Commission’s Boat Ramp located at 265 Shadneck Rd. (GPS Coordinates: 36.150201, -76.132790). This access point offers 12 parking spaces. Plan on 4 to 5 hours for this trail. #3 Newbegun Creek Trail – 8 Miles Round Trip You will be able to put in your kayak at the NC Wildlife Resources Boat Ramp at Sawmill Park located on NC Highway 34 (GPS coordinates of 36.208749, -76.173122). This area offers good parking and has a platform at water level for launching kayaks. This intimate trail ends at the mouth of the Pasquotank River. Be sure to take a waterproof camera to capture the sights. #4 Dismal Swamp State Park – Miles varies The Dismal Swamp State Park’s beauty, remoteness, and solitude have attracted many people over the centuries. The historic Dismal Swamp Canal offers paddlers a chance to glide through amber-colored waters while soaking in wildlife and flora eye candy. The canoe/kayak launch near the parking area gives access to the canal waters. You can rent a kayak from the park at the Visitors Center. One and two person kayaks are available for $5 per hour. Participating in the annual Paddle for the Border in early May is a fun way to experience this state park. For more information contact NC Dismal Swamp State Park at (252) 771-6593. #5 Merchants Millpond State Park – Miles varies Park visitors are transported into a mysterious world of hanging Spanish moss and ancient cypress trees. Paddlers have two options when visiting Merchants Millpond State Park, venture out onto the 760-acre millpond and Bennett’s Creek (5.7 miles one way) through Lassiter Swamp. If you need to rent a kayak, head to the Visitors Center as boats can be rented for $5 per hour and overnight. The Visitors Center is the launch point for rentals. If you have your own boat, you don’t need to check in at the Visitors Center. Simply head to the boat ramp near the parking area offer access to the water. When exploring the millpond we recommend going in a clockwise direction, keeping the shoreline on your left, to keep yourself oriented. It is easy to feel lost due to the numerous islands even though the millpond is small. For more information contact Merchants Millpond State Park at (252) 357-1191. Before heading out on the water, always check the forecast learn about weather conditions. Because the wind is a big factor for kayaks (and the weather in general) WindAlert.com is an additional tool to use along with general weather apps and forecasts. Always be prepared! Don’t forget to grab a quick lunch to go at one of our independently owned restaurants like Bryon’s Hotdogs, which make a pimento sandwich, a southern cuisine staple, that will make your mouth water. Visit our dining and lodging guide for more options. Share your kayaking experiences with others by using #DiscoverECity. Happy travels! Christina Rehklau, Director of the CVB, left the corporate world about five years ago to persuade others to take more vacation time by working in tourism. Christina is a recent northern transplant from Ohio, so she’s still working on her Carolinian accent. To her, every day in the Albemarle region presents a new adventure and something to be explored. Follow her explorations of the area on Twitter at @CLRehklau or Instagram at... READ MORE ».
There are multiple cycling options in the Elizabeth City and surrounding areas, whether you’re looking to just tool around neighborhoods or take longer treks into the beautiful countryside. Three neighborhood bike routes ranging from a couple of miles to almost six miles have been mapped out to help guide riders in and around the city. Maps for these rides can be found at the Visitors Center (located within Museum of the Albemarle) and at the Parks & Recreation Department on Ward Street. These routes are slow-paced and great for casual riders and kids. All three rides start and end at the Visitors Center, where you can borrow a bike for free if you don’t have your own. 1. Historic Route – 2.75 Miles Round-trip The Historic Route takes you on a circular jaunt through the city’s historic commercial and residential neighborhoods loaded with Queen Anne, Eastlake, Craftsman, and Colonial Revival style homes constructed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 2. Knobbs Creek Route – 2.4 Miles Round-trip The Knobbs Creek Route tracks the city’s Northside Historic District where you’ll enjoy lovely views of the Pasquotank River on nearly half of your journey. This out-and-back ride is a great choice if you want to include a family or romantic picnic as part of the plan. There’s a beautiful park at the end of Poindexter Street where you can spread a blanket, feed the ducks, and enjoy the fabulous view. The turnaround point for this ride is the Knobbs Creek Recreation Center. Take a pit stop there to play a round of par-3 golf or let the kids have some playground time. 3. River View Route – 7.2 miles Round-trip The River View Route is exactly as its name indicates – an enjoyable winding meander along the Pasquotank River. You’ll pedal through aptly named Riverside and Rivershore neighborhoods with the water in view for the majority of the ride. The longest of the three rides at around six miles, it bypasses the famous Nell Cropsey home, as well as two parks where you can stop to rest. 4. Dismal Swamp Canal Trail – 6.0 Miles Round-trip The Dismal Swamp Canal Trail ride is perfect if you want to get off the beaten track onto a more wilderness-oriented path. This trail is a paved pathway that parallels the eastern border of the Dismal Swamp State Park. The park also offers quite a few trail ride alternatives. Men’s, women’s and children’s bikes are available for you to borrow here, if needed. If you’re a serious road rider and want to cycle some longer distances, the countryside offers an abundance of alternatives with amazing views of farmlands, waterways, and animal pastures. The River City Cycling Club can help guide you with cue sheets for many rides. No matter the ride you choose, ride safe, watch traffic and always wear a helmet. A special thanks and photo credit to Rod Sershen @madfaith00 and his family for sharing their photos. Deborah Malenfant is a former entrepreneur and business owner. She lives in and loves Elizabeth City; and also loves the mountains. She is a freelance writer and personal blogger. Her personal motto is, “Everything is an experience.” Liza Franco captures the moments of life that will one day be someone’s memories and links for generations to come. Her work includes, lifestyle, commercial, fine art and portrait... READ MORE ».