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Thread: Boat Routes to Cape Lookout Rock Jetty

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    Default Boat Routes to Cape Lookout Rock Jetty

    I'm often asked which ramp and route I take to get to Cape Lookout. With GoogleEarth available to us now, it is easy for me to chart several routes and run the numbers to see which route works best under varying circumstances. If you are new to the area or to boating/fishing, particularly in the Cape Lookout area, I hope you find the information and images helpful. Here are four routes that I am familiar with, that will take you to the Cape Rock Jetty. The images include a few key GE lat/lon numbers so you can plug them into GE and zoom in and out to better view the area.

    Overall image of the area:



    Route from Harker's Island Bridge ramp. I rarely use this ramp and route as it is nearly as long as the back run from Taylors Creek ramp and is nearly impossible to make this run from the ramp to Calico Jacks area without hitting one or more sand bars along the way, even in the daylight at high tide! Distance to the jetty as routed: 15.5 miles



    Back route from Taylors Creek ramp. This route is fine but you will want to run it a couple times and learn it during the day, when the tide is right and time is not a big issue, as there are a few places that you may find yourself up on a sand bar on your way to the east end of Harker's Island. It is a rather long route at 16 miles, but it may be the only option when returning to Taylors Creek if the seas get up on the ocean side.



    Ocean route from Taylors Creek ramp. This is only an option when the wind is coming from a northerly direction, otherwise, even on a light southerly breeze, you will be doing good to average 10 knots in your skiff. Considering the drive to Hacker's Island from MHC/BFT, this is a good option when the sea and wind is right, but you should be prepared to return from the inlet and take the back route if seas are not favorable. If you can get there in the AM, you can always take the back route when returning to the ramp, provided (of course) that you are at least somewhat familiar with that route. This is one of the best reasons you should always mark your ramp on your GPS as you start out on a trip - you can always find it back and you should be able to view your plotter to see the channels and landmarks in the area. Distance as routed: 12 miles (8 miles of it open ocean and Bft Inlet can be churned up and a bit intimidating for small boaters, during periods of strong tidal movement)



    Calico Jacks route to the Cape jetty. This is my favorite site to ramp when I'm going to the cape jetty or even when I'm headed offshore toward Buoy 14 and beyond. The channel is well marked but be aware that the channel turns radically in a few spots along the way - so don't have your blinders on when you travel this channel. It's also so well used that even the first time boater should be able to follow another boat to navigate safely. There is a $10 ramp fee here but the savings for me (from Havelock) in boat gas and time is worth it in most cases. This is a 9 mile run to the jetty.
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    Nice job, Dave.
    Last edited by redneckredfishr; 12-05-2008 at 07:32 AM.
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    Thanks for the info Dave.
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    I may have to give it a try this weekend.

    Ed and Brenda, 2009 198 Elite

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    Found this on another forum...If you've never been to the jetty it may be worth reading to avoid rubbing the "regulars" the wrong way.

    CAPE LOOKOUT ROCK JETTY ETIQUETTE & TIPS

    I thought that I would post this again this year since I have already heard quite a few horror stories.


    There is limited space at the jetty in the fall. It seems like a lot of fishermen just don’t care about common courtesy or are just plain ignorant! If you are not at the rock jetty early enough to get a spot, do not attempt to anchor and ruin other anglers fishing!!!



    Make sure that you know where the jetty is if you arrive at high tide. I have seen many boats run right over the top of it. Some have damaged lower units badly!



    The first boats to arrive should anchor reasonably close to the rocks leaving adequate distance between each boat. Boats arriving after these spots are full should anchor further out behind the open spaces created by the first line of boats.



    Make sure that you have a heavier than normal anchor and a little longer chain. Most fishermen do not have an anchor that is heavy enough on their boat. You do not want to drift into other boats. This set up will set and hold quickly using less scope (length of rope). Less scope also reduces the number rigs and lures caught in anchor lines and increases the chances of landing a trophy fish when it is hooked. It also leaves more casting room for other anglers.



    Hang the anchor and chain over the side gently and idle the engine as you approach your anchor spot. Gently drop the anchor so you do not spook the trout. Cut the engine off immediately. Do not rev your engine.





    The trout are usually scattered around the rocks, not right on them. In these tight quarters, there will be some crossed and tangled lines and some accidents will happen. Please be patient and courteous so that everyone can have fun!
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    I like running the back route WOT from MHC. It's very technical and exciting. The last time I did it, I only hit 2 sand bars.


    Seriously, there's a couple of places back there that the channel is very narrow. The GPS may lie to you and make you think you're in the lane. Just a heads up to "stay on your toes" until you get some track time back there.
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    Just want to add a few things to Tommy's post, which BTW, is excellent

    A few of the fellows will locate themselves using two anchors to keep their boat from swinging - don't do it - you'll be the only one in the line not swinging with the wind and tide and you will get bumped into! With all boats anchored from the bow (as is typical) all boats with drift and shift in relative unison and stay separated a common distance.

    The safest way to anchor (for your boat and motor) is from the down current side of the jetty, with the anchor between you and the rocks - this is the way you should anchor if you are not sure your anchor will hold or you're just scared to death that somehow your boat will break loose and drift into the rocks. The only problem with this is that someone will eventually catch their hook in the anchor rope and you will either have to pull the anchor (to free your line) or break/cut the line and tie on another bait. OTOH, if you are confident about anchoring and you anchor from the bow with your stern toward the jetty, you won't have your anchor rope in your way.

    Know when the tide changes and consider that your boat will naturally change it's position (relative to the rocks) as the tide changes. This knowledge may come in handy when you arrive to determine which end of the boat you want to fish from and which side of the rocks you want to fish. Make no mistake about it - the choice fishing spots will be casting to the rocks but (as mentioned earlier) many fish are caught near and behind the boat as well.

    I'd like to emphasis the "patience" thing - if you are easily upset, you probably won't have a good time at the rock jetty. If you are a novice or have never fished the jetty, or if you have doubt in your confidence to navigate in tight quarters, in your anchor system, or anchoring abilities, it's probably best to go out the first time with someone who has anchored and fished there before.

    This last one is more a tip than an etiquette thing. If you arrive at low tide and have an open spot adjacent to one of the several large rock formations that rise above the water, anchor there and stay there. These are (IMO) some of the choice spots on the jetty. Mark that spot on your GPS and note it so you can name it when you get back home. If you can leave during a period of low tide, it might be wise to slowly cruise behind the line and mark the spots where the largest outcropping of rocks appear, so you can find these spots again, even at high tide.

    Dave
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shakespeare View Post
    I like running the back route WOT from MHC. It's very technical and exciting. The last time I did it, I only hit 2 sand bars.
    LOL - I know whatcha mean Shake, I sometimes get in a hurry and (especially if I've not traveled the area in a while) the sand bars seem to be where they never were before

    Dave
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    great tips Dave...I'd like to elaborate on the frustration thing as well.

    In general, from my past experiences, the CL Jetty is not the most "friendly" place to fish. I'm sure others have had experiences that negate that but in general, don't expect to get a kind wave and a "how ya doin" from the boats adjacent to where you are getting ready to dance the anchor waltz. Those guys will typically shoot scowls your way like you are trespassing on private grounds. Best thing to do is ignore them.

    My biggest pet peeve has to be some people's anchoring procedures. Do NOT...I repeat...DO NOT pull right up on the rocks and shot put your anchor like you're in the olympic trials. Do yourself and others a favor and ease it over, chain in hand as to not disturb the waters any more than necessary. Be prepared to do this a few times til your anchor sticks. Be very mindful of your distances too...nothing is more frustrating than some yahoo anchoring right in your casting area.

    Not trying to discourage anyone's first trip by any means, give it a shot, if the fish are biting it's a blast...just passing out info that may be useful to know when you arrive.

    Another quick tip....if there's already dozens of boats there but still a few holes....idle around the outside at a good distance and see who's draggin' em in...that might give you an idea of where you want to be. I typically jump in the first slot I find and end up watching the guy on the opposite side of the rocks kill em all day.
    Last edited by Tparkin; 12-05-2008 at 12:14 PM.
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    "Calico Jacks route to the Cape jetty. This is my favorite site to ramp when I'm going to the cape jetty or even when I'm headed offshore toward Buoy 14 and beyond."

    I'm 100% with ya on this one sarge. Especially for newbies, this is the best route but even with saying that it's like any route getting out from any of these area's. If you DON'T hit a sand bar, you've done a mighty fine job. Expect it, be ready, it's gonna happen ya first few trips. Thanks for all the tips sarge, they are all great as usual. Respectively , LB.
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