Michael S. Marsh

 Offshore Angler

In Offshore Angler, Mike Marsh presents expert tactics for catching popular Carolina saltwater game fish in a clear, well-organized fashion.  A very experienced angler himself, Marsh instinctively tells the reader the sorts of information anglers need to know to catch fish what gear you'll need, where to go, what techniques to try, and how to alter tactics in response to different conditions.  If you buy just one book on Carolina offshore angling, this one should be it.
    --David F. Johnson, Editor, North Carolina Game & Fish Magazine

The best part of Offshore Angler may be the extensive artificial reef guide.  It would be hard to find a more complete guide to our state's artificial reefs.....
    --Mike Zlotnicki, Outdoors Editor, Raleigh News & Observer

Price - $22.25 including shipping and handling

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Michael S. Marsh

 Inshore Angler

Beginners and seasoned fishermen alike will find Mike Marsh's Inshore Angler a 'must have' guide to Carolina's inshore saltwater fishing. Not only is this book full of practical tips on how, when, and where to catch all of the most sought-after coastal fish species, it's so well-written that any fisherman with a pulse will thoroughly enjoy reading it just for fun.
     --David F. Johnson, Editor, North Carolina Game & Fish Magazine

This isn't just a book, it's a portable fishing seminar.  Quoting from both his own experiences and those of a number of other knowledgeable anglers, the author uses anecdotes to communicate his thoughts.  Simply put, Inshore Angler raises the bar for fishing guidebooks.  Marsh serves up top-notch writing, replete with photographs and maps, to offer a guidebook that combines style and substance.
     --Ken Foster, Wilmington Star-News

This guide includes dozens of maps and photos showing where to go and how to catch Carolina's top light-tackle game fish.

Price - $26.20 including shipping and handling

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This story appeared in the Tabor-Loris Tribune and the Wilmington Star News.

It received the Third Place Award in the Best Weekly Newspaper Story category of the Excellence in Craft Competition at the 2009 annual conference of SEOPA (Southeastern Outdoor Press Association) for appearing in the Tribune.

I really did not want to write the story because it had received so much attention in other print media and eventually made it all the way to national television network news. But my Wilmington Star News editor insisted. In retrospect, he was right because it was such a fun story with lots of human interest and therefore deserved the attention provided by our local coverage. Apparently, the EIC judges thought I did a good job with the story.

Mike Marsh
Tabor-Loris Tribune
August 27, 2008.

Grandpa Lands Record Catfish with Granddaughter’s Barbie Rod

David Hayes of Elkin, N.C. is a lucky man. He has his own private pond located within 20 feet of his back door that he stocked ten years ago with channel catfish, hybrid bluegills and largemouth bass. He also has a 4-year-old granddaughter named Alyssa who loves to fish.

“Anytime I’m outside doing something, she’s with me,” the 66-year-old Hayes said. “She’s a tomboy and loves to fish.”

But on August 5, 2008 it was Hayes holding Alyssa’s Barbie Doll fishing rod to reel in the state record channel catfish. The catfish weighed 21 pounds, 1 ounce and struck a live cricket.

“We were working in the garden and she asked to go fishing,” Hayes said. “We gathered some black yard crickets and put them in her little cricket basket. The pond has a 24-foot dock and we started fishing from it. She reeled in a few bluegills, but then she had to go to the bathroom. My wife, Alice, met her on the porch and they stayed inside for a long time.”

While Hayes was minding her pink fishing rod, a 2 ½-foot long fiberglass and plastic spincast rig with a rod made by Shakespeare that is offered for sale by Mattel, a big catfish struck the cricket.

“The catfish took the cricket and he boiled up beside the dock,” he said. “I knew I couldn’t hold that fish on 6-pound test and that little bitty rod.”

But the fish turned back after the first run and came near the pier. The fish ran again and Hayes worked it back to the dock, just as Alyssa came running out of the house shouting, “Pawpaw, you’re going to break my fishing rod!”

“I got it close to the dock because I wanted her to see it,” Hayes said. “It made a third run, stopped, and came back toward the dock. When it came up where she could see it, she started squealing and jumping and it got scared and ran again, going about 25 yards. I reeled it back up after those four runs and walked down the pier to the bank. The bad drought had the water level down about 14 inches so I couldn’t reach the fish from the pier because my landing net handle wasn’t long enough.”

Hayes fought the fish to the shallows and netted the fish. The hook fell out of the fish’s mouth.

“It was just a little bream hook,” he said. “She was scared of the net full of fish and started screaming and ran. My wife went on the Commission’s website to check the state record and it was 18½ pounds. I called my neighbor, Don Hayes, who is a Commission biologist and he advised me to have it weighed on certified scales.”

After weighing the fish, Hayes put the fish on ice until Commission biologist Kin Hodges could arrive the next day to examine the fish. Hodges counted the number of anal fin rays to identify the fish as a channel catfish and not a blue catfish, which grow much larger. The fish was 2 inches longer than the fishing rod and was 25½ inches in girth. The previous state record channel catfish was caught by Wesley Trucks of New Bern in August 2007 and weighed 18 pounds, 5-ounces.

“A taxidermist friend of mine, Jeff Snow, will mount it,” Hayes said. “I am going to retire the fishing rod and display it with the fish.”

Hayes was going to buy Alyssa another Barbie fishing outfit, but the folks at Mattel found out about the catch and are sending her a new Barbie rod, along with lots of other Barbie toys and goodies.

“I would have had to replace the line anyway,” Hayes said. “The line would probably cost more than the entire rod and reel. You can buy one for less than $12.”


Michael S. Marsh

 Quest for the Limit

From the Introduction to Quest for the Limit: Carolina Hunting Adventures:

These hunter's adventures are set in Carolina Country to give the hunters a sense of place.  But their quests occur wherever a group of red hats gathers on the porch of a cabin, a lone figure strikes out on a game trail in the glorious solitude of desolate wilderness, anywhere on the planet human beings search for their souls in wild places among wild things....

This book was written for the hunters....This book was written for the non-hunters.  The attitudes and practical field information contained in these pages should be learned by everyone in possession of a hunting license, or anyone who would like to understand those who are.

Price - $19.20 including shipping and handling

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The following story, titled, “The Longest Retrieve,” appeared in the Wilmington Star-News, Tabor-Loris Tribune and was published again in my North Carolina Game and Fish, In-the-Field section of that magazine. I had sent the story to Dave Johnson, while still grieving for the loss of my hunting buddy. He wrote these kind words and inserted into my column. Until that point, I hadn’t considered what the old water warrior had meant to so many others who had seen all those photos of waterfowl he had retrieved.

The story received the Third Place award in the Best Magazine Short Story Category of the Excellence In Craft competition at the 2009 conference of SEOPA (Southeastern Outdoor Press Association). The SEOPA EIC awards are among the most highly treasured in the outdoor communication world. But I’d trade every EIC award I’ve ever received for one more hunt with Santana.Editor’s note by Dave Johnson, Editor, North Carolina Game and Fish Magazine:For about the last decade, half or more of the ducks that have been pictured in North Carolina Game and Fish stories have been retrieved by one dog – a black Lab named Santana, who was the hunting partner of outdoor writer Mike Marsh. Santana passed away near the end of the last bird season, and Marsh told us about it in the following letter, which we thought we’d share with our readers.

The Longest Retrieve
North Carolina Game and Fish
May, 2009

By Mike Marsh

At age 12 Santana was still a hard hunter. Every time he astounded, his legacy grew. But this retrieve was something else entirely because it had taken an hour.

He retrieved a pair of wood ducks shot rising from a swamp. Then we jump shot another from a shallow pool. Thinking the duck stone dead, I sent Santana into the heavy briar tangle. Instead of fetching a dead duck, he chased a live one into view.