Now I know what you are thinking, What in gods name is a "Neuse Ninja"? Instead of answering that I will ask you a question.... Have you ever fished for Tarpon on the Neuse River? You can literally have these big boys boiling around your spread seeing dozens of em in the chum slick and not even so much as a fish's gentle smell will come across your bait. Getting eat up by biting flies, mosquitos, no see ums', and green heads while trying to call in the fish gods for mercy on you for JUST ONE BITE! All the preparation, perspiration, hard work, and eye crossing looking for these creatures with the complete gamble of getting a bite and somehow they still slip by your spread. That's why I have given Tarpon on the Neuse River the name "Neuse Ninjas"!
I had the honor of accompanying Capt. Greg Voliva of Four Seasons Guide Service yesterday afternoon for a lesson on Neuse Ninja's. Granted Capt. Greg doesn't refer to them as Neuse Ninja's I still have fun with it. We went along the river slowly with our eyes pealed in hopes of seeing them roll in the distance. I have been on the water most of my life especially the Neuse River but you really don't realize how big the river is until you are trying to see a Tarpon's back coming out of the water in the horizon while trying to focus on every square inch at the same time. Its possible but just barely.
As we are going along Capt Greg spots a couple Tarpon ahead in the horizon so we slow to a idle to see how many may be in the area. He saw a couple more ahead. Meanwhile I'm thinking to myself that Capt. Greg doesn't need to make a eye appointment any time soon. Finally we get close enough for me to see a group of 4 or 5 roll almost in unison. We got up high on the T-top for a birds eye view. We seen several roll in different distant areas. We got into position and began to set the anchor. What do you think happened next? We saw a whole pod of Tarpon behind us in the direction we had just came. So Capt Greg picked up the anchor and we idled slowly back to the area where we thought to have seen the fish. Got into position and deployed anchor again. This time we had Tarpon a lot closer.
We set our spread with fresh cut croaker and began to chum up the water. Throwing bits of bait out and our bag of ground goodness (Gulp Chum). Before we knew it we had a chum slick the stretching the length of two football fields. And Of course as Tarpon do when you think you have them where you want them they throw you a curve ball. They completely disappear from existence. No sign of them for at least a hr or so. Capt Greg and I are looking over the horizon while talking about the old days when a Tarpon rolls just feet from our spread and boat. Now is when we get excited! I am expecting any moment for a rod to go off, screaming drag with a Tarpon tail walking across the water. I kept waiting.... and waiting.... I was wrong. Basically what happened is when the Tarpon rolled beside our spread he was giving us the middle finger and letting us know they are in control.
Night fell and all I could think about as we were taking up the bait was this is nothing short of being at the right place at the right time. Tarpon were literally all around us but would not commit to our bait. They had to have been swimming under the boat and weaving in between our lines. The Neuse Ninja strikes again! Maybe next time... Thanks for the trip and sharing a little of your expertise Capt Greg.