Southport, NC -
From the sweltering summer heat to the biting winter chill,
thousands of dedicated anglers flock to North Carolina’s piers
to cast lines into the salty depths, hoping to reel in anything
from whiting and shark to the highly prized sheepshead, red drum
and even the elusive
king mackerel. Fishing pier enthusiast Al Baird recounts the
history of these wind worn structures, from the incredible story
of the oldest pier in North Carolina to the tales of the
destructive hurricanes that ripped through the Outer Banks.
Discover how seaside towns have grown and changed while their
piers remain the same, as Baird recounts the memories and
accomplishments of the men and women who have visited and loved
these slowly disappearing landmarks.
North Carolina’s Ocean Fishing Piers: From Kitty Hawk to Sunset
Beach details the history and current state of fishing from some
of North Carolina’s most important landmarks. The book grew out
of my desire to preserve the memories of these great wood, steel
and concrete structures and it was greatly inspired by two other
books on pier fishing in North Carolina. Those books Coastal
Fishing in the Carolinas and Pier Fishing in North Carolina both
of those books were written by Bob Goldstein. Bob’s books are
instructional in nature but do provide a look at the history of
I spent ten years researching and “researching” this book. Why
ten years? My wife claims that most of my “research” was in the
fishing. She is correct. Having a good reason to drop
everything and head to the coast to do “research” sure came in
handy over the years and anytime I got a good fishing report the
urge to do more “research” just came over me.
The “research” included two week long fishing trips to visit
every pier in the state. This happened in 2006 and in 2007. On
the first trip I was accompanied by my son Chris a junior at
Fort Mill High School at the time and then in 2007 my wife, Mary
just couldn't resist the fun.
In the course of doing the real research for the book I met
dozens of people that shed information on what the piers were
like in days gone by. The book is filled with old pictures taken
from some pretty famous people like Aycock Brown and Bill
Robertson. The book also contains stories from pier owners past
and present and anglers that ventured out over the water on the
planks of their piers.
I also got to communicate with others that have written about
pier fishing in the state. Writer Bill Morris (Saltwater
Cowboys) is one of those. Bill and I became good friends (Go
Steelers!) after he did an article about pier for Our State
Magazine. Bill had referenced another article he wrote where he
and 2 companions fished 23 piers in 48 hours in 1990. Bill did
the forward for the book and consulted on the rest of the book
and is a wealth of knowledge about the history the piers.
The book begins with the first fishing pier in the state, Kure
Pier, built in 1923 at Kure Beach. It then goes chronologically
to every other ocean fishing pier built and operated along North
Carolina’s coast. The journey is captured in stories and
pictures from an era long since past with the heroes of the book
being the fishermen and their prized catches.
I hope the book ignites the desire for you to grab your fishing
rod and adventure out over one of these structures real soon. I
might even see you there as I have begun “research” on the
sequel to it.
resides in Fort Mill, South Carolina, with his wife, Mary, and
their two children, Katie and Chris. He began fishing the North
Carolina coast as a child in the 1960s when his family would go
on their annual family vacation there. Jennette’s Pier was the
first pier he ever fished. In 2005, he started the North
Carolina Fishing Pier Society to promote pier fishing in the
state. In 2006 and 2007, he conducted a weeklong fishing pier
marathon, during which he fished every pier in the state. In
2008, he co-founded, with Mike Marsh, the North Carolina Public
The book will
be available in March 2011. More details to follow.