Frequently Asked Questions
An amazing experience awaits those who venture to the Gulf Stream . This swift flow of water passes offshore the Outer Banks daily on its journey north. The salty ribbon of warm blue sea is a fishing hotspot for a variety of species. Its steadfast flow is continually pushing sea life along its path including fish, microscopic plants and animals and gulfweed. The floating weed makes a great habitat for baitfish. Bigger species come to the Gulf Stream to feed. Its bathwater conditions, which change with the season, range from 74 degrees in the winter to 83 degrees in the summer. Sharks can inhabit the stream year round. Pilot whales migrate through May through October. Billfish flock to the stream in large numbers during the warmer months. Porpoises work the edge of the stream when surrounding waters are warmer and are found in the stream during colder months. Captains report that billfish seem to stay out of the swiftest part of the current. Tunas traverse the current in any direction. Visitors to the Gulf Stream can see incredible beauty including its brilliant blue water and fantastic flying fish. One local captain calls the Gulf Stream the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”
Experience the wind in your face as the Country Girl moves through vast ocean waters. Witness sunrises with no obstructions. Watch the rhythm of waves. See the rainbow colors of fish glitter just below the surface. Catch the acrobatics of dolphin and the majesty of a school of whales. A jumping marlin is a breathtaking vision. Sea turtles and sunfish float within view. Rare, ocean-going birds fly overhead, creating a rewarding experience for bird watchers. Yes, the Outer Banks is a nature lover’s paradise. With its close proximately to the warm Gulf Stream water and where currents collide, the area hosts myriad species to delight visitors. Located along the Atlantic flyway and the dividing line for north/south species, the area is filled with nature’s glories.
Our experienced crew includes Captain Allan Foreman who has 35 years experience as a captain. He holds a masters license with unlimited tonnage. Captain Allan grew up in nearby Elizabeth City and spent his summers at the family cottage on the Outer Banks. He was about 7 years-old when he first went inlet fishing with his grandfather. He started running charters in 1972 after graduating from college. As the former owner of Pirate’s Cove Marina, Captain Allan’s boat, the Crystal Dawn headboat, was the first to fish out of what has grown into Pirate’s Cove Yacht Club. He sold the marina in 1982 and kept the Crystal Dawn, which he ran from 1980-1984. The original Country Girl was a fifty footer licensed to carry 22 people. He had the current Country Girl built in 1990 by Captain Buddy Cannady. He has run hundreds of pelagic bird watching tours to the Gulf Stream since 1975. He created the Crystal Dawn Corporation in 1977, which operates the Crystal Dawn and the Country Girl out of Pirate’s Cove today. Captain Allan is the famed Big Al of Big Al’s Soda Fountain and Grill in Manteo. While visiting Big Al’s, don’t be surprised to find yourself eating fresh fish caught aboard his beloved Country Girl. It will give you another chance to chat with this personable captain who is a regular dinner customer!
Joining Captain Allan aboard the Country Girls are mates Charles Foreman and Kyle Fisher. These experienced pros are there to make your trip comfortable, answer your questions and cheer you on once you hook up!
A headboat gets its name because it charges by the head. These boats also are called party boats and are designed to carry large parties. This allows ticket prices to be reasonable. Because it can carry more people, a headboat trip is a great way to experience an offshore trip at an affordable price.
Experienced mates accompany the Country Girl captain on every trip. They are available to offer all degrees of assistance from cheering you on to helping you boat your fish. They can instruct you on tackle, bait and the marine environment with special knowledge of fish that are caught in these waters. They’ll let you know the legal size and of current catch limits.
Safety is our primary concern. Foresight, experience and preparation are our watchwords. Captain Foreman’s many years of experience aid him in deciding whether to leave the dock on days where weather is a concern. His expertise in dealing with changeable weather, maneuvering his charter boat and understanding the local waters put him in good steed to maintain safety. Charter boat captains also stay in touch with one another both on the water and off. This includes fishing around other vessels, keeping radio contact and talking after hours of weather, fishing trends and more. This comradery further enhances the safety of the trips. The Country Girl also is outfitted with Coast Guard approved safety devices including a ship-to-shore radio, life jackets and life boats that regularly are inspected. We never crowd our boat despite being licensed to carry more anglers. Elbow room when dealing with tackle and open air decks enhances safety. We guide you in proper footwear to avoid slips and limit our trips to anglers age 15 and older unless the youth has enough offshore experience.
Life jackets are stored on board and are easily accessible. You are not required to wear one, but they are available if you choose to do so.
Tackle and Bait
All bait and tackle are provided including Penn Senator 4/0 reels with 50# test (for wreck fishing trips). You can bring your own rig if it is comparable to what we supply. Depending on the trip, we use squid or ballyhoo as bait. We store your fish while on board on ice in an insulated fish box. Be sure to keep a cooler in your car to store fish when you leave. Ice is available at the marina as is an afternoon fish cleaning service.
Food and drink
Fresh air certainly brings out the appetite. Make sure you pack plenty of food for a day-long trip. Pack it in a medium size cooler. Huge coolers are not permitted. Beer is welcome so long as it is consumed responsibly and in cans only. Glass is not allowed on board.
Just like any outdoor adventure, you dress for the weather. Remember, though, that Outer Banks weather is changeable. We recommend that you dress in layers – even in the winter. The wind blowing across the Gulf Stream can be warm even on an otherwise cold day. Always take along a slicker for protection against rain. Wear deck shoes or tennis shoes with soles in good repair.
We smile when we talk about weather on the Outer Banks. “It changes,” is the most definitive thing we can say. But if you have fished long enough as our captain has, you get a pretty good handle on deciding whether to leave the docks or cancel a trip due to weather conditions. We do fish in the rain. But we will not take chances by fishing in weather that is dangerous. A weather system can pass quickly. We like to wait until the last minute to cancel to give you every opportunity to fish. A complete refund will be given if the boat doesn’t depart due to not meeting minimum ticket sales, weather conditions (to be determined by the captain) or mechanical problems. If possible, we will contact you in advance. Cash ticket sales are refunded at the office. Charges automatically will be refunded. We do not mail receipts.