by Dennis Frazier
For the last decade, my family has vacationed on Oak Island, but, as a group, until this past June, we have never been on a fishing charter together. So when several of our family members decide to explore charter fishing, I was a willing participant, but mainly as the unofficial cheerleader for whomever might get lucky. Besides, who goes fishing on Friday the 13th?
The next morning, four of us met Captain Ryan Rayfield of Conjured Up Fishing Charters at the Blue Water Point Marina. Although he offers full day and offshore fishing, my apprehension opts for a half day in the Intracoastal Waterway. After a few safety instructions, it quickly became very apparent that not only did the captain know his craft and the Intracoastal’s best fishing spots, but he is dedicated to the mission of making sure every person is a successful angler enjoying the fishing experience.
As a former high school English teacher, that day I became the pupil as Captain Rayfield explained aspects of his craft beginning with boat safety; demonstrating catching the bait, pogies; to the correct fishing technique to catch the type of fish we were seeking on this day. Today, we would be fishing for flounder.
As the morning progressed, I cheered each of the other three family members as each pulled in several catches. Captain Ryan documented each catch as a photo op or a phone video via our cell phones. About mid-morning, my wife, Carol, hooked a huge stingray, giving everyone on the boat a chance to share in reeling in this monster before release.
Then just before noon, after yet another of Captain Ryan’s fishing demonstrations, something very definitive bent my rod nearly double. At first, having no fishing experience, I really did not understand Captain Ryan’s excitement or his instant knowledge that it is a flounder. His declaration of “It’s got to be a really, really big flounder” is totally lost on me. His excitement and the size of the potential catch seemed to grow as we attempted to get it inside the boat. Just being able to get a fish into the boat with two eyes on the same side of its head would’ve been reward enough for me.
And, something big it was. It took me several minutes and several attempts to net it, but with Captain Ryan’s assistance, I finally landed the 6-pound, 8-ounce, 25-inch flounder. At the time, it was the largest flounder ever caught on the Conjured Up Charter.
Later Captain Ryan would add the words “citation fish” to to my vocabulary. Because my flounder was over five pounds, it qualified for official state recognition. After returning to the Blue Water Point Marinna, Captain Ryan weighed the fish and filled out the official paper work for the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries/The North Carolina Saltwater Fishing Award Program. I instantly went from novice fisherman to official recognition.
After performing his final act of fileting our catch, the four family members thanked Captain Ryan Rayfield for his ability to share his fishing professionalism, and not to mention, a great day on the water.
While it certainly began as beginner’s luck, our fishing experience ended with a new appreciation for the craft of charter fishing.
AFFORDABLE FISHING CHARTERS
Captain Michael Brazil
Oak Island • (910) 448-2277
CONJURED UP FISHING CHARTERS
Captain Ryan Rayfield
Southport • (910) 294-1173
COOL RUNNINGS CHARTERS
Captain Greer Hughes
Oak Island • (910) 278-7006 or (910) 523-0312
FUGITIVE FISHING CHARTERS
Captain Ryan Jordan
Oak Island • (910) 933-4242
GET REELIN’ FISHING CHARTERS
Captain Chuck Quicksill
Southport • (910) 386-8568
OAK ISLAND CHARTERS
Captain Bob Merritt
Oak Island • (910) 520-6422
OAK ISLAND FISHING CHARTERS
Captain Wally Trayah and Captain John Dosher
Oak Island • (910) 470-1995
Oak Island • (910) 278-3709
REEL BUSY FISHING CHARTERS
Captain Steve Keifer
Oak Island • (910) 547-3383
Captain Branson Mosier
Southport • (919) 895-0055
SOUTHPORT FISHING CHARTERS
Southport/Oak Island • (910) 520-6422
YEAH RIGHT SPORT FISHING CHARTERS
Captain Butch Foster
Southport • (910) 845-2004 or (336) 239-5429