A meteorologist at National Weather Service said the adage about a calm following all storms is not true in all systems, but it is the case in the wake of Hermine

SURF CITY | Fred Sands didn’t mind the Labor Day beach crowd.

He just wanted to catch a king mackerel.

But he also didn’t mind not landing a fish.

He’s been fishing Surf City Ocean Pier since 1973 and he claims he isn’t chasing the 93-pound tarpon he landed there almost a decade ago.

“If it’s your turn, you’ll catch it,” he said as he lugged his chest-high cart of gear toward home and discussed the art of pier fishing. “It’s a completely different art than fishing from a boat. Out here, you’ve got to play the fish to the pier.”

His Monday did not land that sought after king mackerel, but he has hopes his luck will change the next few weeks when the water cools and the fish get desperate.

Fishing was just one attraction to Labor Day crowds in Surf City and beaches throughout North Carolina. The holiday trailed Tropical Storm Hermine’s passing and a slight drop in water temperature from low 80s to 75-80 degrees, according to information from National Weather Service.

The post-storm sunshine drew hordes of tourists and locals to the strand. Many business owners said the holiday has been the year’s busiest. At New York Corner Deli in Surf City, patrons waited up to a half hour for fresh sandwiches and gyros on Labor Day.

Along South Shore Drive near Kinston Avenue, a glut of cars and SUVs inched along as pedestrians flocked to the sand.

One man who works at Surf City Ocean Pier said the holiday was the year’s most crowded as the water temperature fell and stimulated the bites by red and black drum, spots, blue fish, among others.

Pier Manager Vinita Gass said “it has been a very busy summer” as customers flowed into the gift shop at 112 South Shore Drive.

“We’ve had black drum, red drum, croakers, blues, spots, when it cools, they’re here,” Gass added.
Elvis Draughn of Graham and Norman Barfield of Tarboro landed multiple large blues.

As they cleaned their catch at a station on the pier, Draughn said “we did pretty good, but don’t take my word for it.”

“We’re just down for the day,” Barfield said.

The pier is open 24-7 Easter to Thanksgiving before closing for winter.

Surfers and swimmers also packed the calm ocean north and south of the pier. According to information from Surf City Police Department, there were no reports of rescues amid the crowds on the last unofficial day of summer.

Casey Dail, meteorologist at National Weather Service, said the adage about a calm following all storms is not true in all systems, such as the tropical depression last week followed by Hermine.
But calm is the rule for Eastern N.C. this week, she said.

“It looks pretty quiet the next several days,” Dail said. “It is quiet and dry with temperatures slightly below normal. There is a slight chance of showers late Wednesday and Wednesday night.”