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Carolina craftsman

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Manuel Estrella has been building boats in the Outer Banks most of his life.

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By Mike Sweeney
Columnist

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Our Albemarle region has many unique characteristics that stand out in our state but one of the industries that shines for our area is the boat building industry that has been around since Black Beards day.

Boat building is an industry that has been around so long in our area that people forget just how imbedded it is in our economy.

We have plants like Regulator Marine who mass produce some of the finest sport fishing center consoles in the world in Edenton.

We also have Carolina Classic and Albemarle Boats right down the street from Regulator hand building custom sport fishing boats up to 40 plus feet capable of crossing oceans.

The beach has some of the best sport fishing yacht manufactures in the world such as Paul Mann, Ricky Scarborough, Spencer Yachts and Bayless Boat Works just to name a few.

These plants hand build $10 million boats from scratch with every option in the word available to the owners who have the time and money to want one.

All of these shops have spawned smaller shops surrounding our area that specialize in custom boat building.

Dozens of shops with hard working men and women who are starting a dream in the boat building industry with designs that not only work but are works of art by their own right.

Small boats in the 23 to 30 foot market with sweeping lines and sharp bows that cut through the rough seas that constantly put our boats to the test here in our region.

One such builder is Valentino Custom Boats who splashed their first boat this year and already has a back order for new boats from as far away as Florida.

They specialize in the 25 to 30 foot center console market with a hull design that is built for our waterways.

Large casting decks up front with plenty of dead rise to keep you dry while heading through the inlet.

Manuel Estrella has been building boats in the Outer Banks most of his life and he has a dream that he can make some of the best quality boats in the world.

What makes Manuel different is his first boat he built is being sold by raffle tickets.

Every ticket purchased gets you a chance to win the boat and a big part of the proceeds is to help raise money for his neighbor Boston Olvey who is a little girl diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis.

Boston will pick the winning ticket herself when they have reached the ticket goal.

All of this information will be on my Facebook page Fishing with Mike.

The custom boat builders in our area have a huge impact on the economy and life style we have here in the Albemarle region and I am proud to be a part of that tradition.

What’s biting, where...

The fishing report for the offshore guys have been a little slower than the past few weeks but that just means it is good fishing and not spectacular.

We still have some tuna around including a big eye here and there. The mahi are here for the summer but the winds have kept the grass line from forming.

This means you follow the temperature breaks and current lines in the open water to find the fish.

The cobia have stayed around this week also but the rules change as of June 1st so look up what is legal and what is not.

I know the law states that one fish per boat but never take my word or anyone else for that matter research and find out from the guys who wrote the laws just to be sure.

The cobia are cruising the warm water breaks up and down the beach with some fish being caught off the piers and even the beach.

We also have reports of some big red drum schooling around the inlet in Hatteras but the schools move every day so check the local tackle stores for more details when you go.

On the beaches and piers the mullet have been thick and it looks like they are not going to slow down anytime soon.

The bait for the season seems to be Fish Bites in sand flea which will not only keep the trash fish (skate) away but it last forever on the hook.

We also have some Spanish mackerel and blues coming in on metal and cut bait but don’t forget the speckled trout is still out of season but it is about to open.

Here on the home front we have had some spectacular largemouth fishing as well as an abundance of white perch.

It seems that the perch have not only multiplied but they have taken over the water ways.

White Beetle Spins and Uncle Jessie lures tipped with shrimp will work but if you run out of shrimp use the Fish Bite in shrimp.

They stay on the hook better and will bring the bites to fill the cooler. The largemouth is a typical summer pattern with top water in the morning then switch to soft plastics after the sun comes up.

The Elizabeth City Heroes Operations put on their annual fishing with Vets tournament this past Saturday with this being the inaugural Buck Buchanan Fishing with Veterans tournament named after the legend Buck Buchanan who we lost to cancer this past year.

They had a record turnout on both heroes and volunteers so if you get a chance to get out there next year you will be sure to enjoy it. If anyone gets out this week let me know by sending a report and pictures to fishingwithmike921@yahoo.com.

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