NC Railbird hunting and Saltwater fishing guide

Wilmington, N.C.  

Inshore Fishing and traditional Rail Bird Hunting Charters

Book a traditional Rail bird hunt $350 1 P and $700 2 P
{Author: Railbird Hunter's Bible}
Railbird season runs
Sept - Oct - Nov .

There are a limited number of SUPER / KING FLOOD TIDES to book throughout each 70 day railbird season. 
Only 15 - 18 "Super flood  Tides"  occur during the whole railbird season  from SEPT - NOV. 

To Book a Railbird Wingshooting CHARTER- you got to secure a very good RAIL BIRD FLOOD TIDE day for your hunt date. These are four hour charters, unless you limit out early.

I  only like to hunt when the tides are going to be realy big.

  The Atlantic Seaboard has a lot of high spartina grass flats, and they are very difficult to flood except on some of hightest of lunar tide periods. There are thousands of acres of short and high spartina artifloza however the four huntable species of railbirds do not harbor in the high spartina as much as they do in the short spartina during their migratory flights.  

The historic Cape Fear is a delta marsh with hundreds of millions of gallons of fresh water flowing down from the NW and NE Cape Fear and hundreds of fresh water tributaries to crash into the Atlantic Ocean. 

 It is quite different from say Georgetown, S.C.  Winyah Bay, or the North Santee delta region, or the Wando, Ashley, or even the lower ACE Basin in coastal South Carolina.

Even in NE North Carolina the New River and the Neuse River has great  areas where there marshes that flood, however those tides are not as high, due to the geophysics; and therefore the NE North Carolina do not experience - the great big tides-- except during great storms that hit that area.

The Lower Cape Fear River has two major shrimp species that migrate at different times of the year.  There is little food sources for ducks or geese, and the salitity in some regional areas are greater or less, depending on the number of cuts and feeder creeks that flood various areas.

Marsh hens love to eat shrimp larve, seeds and spartina snails and smaller fiddler crabs too. They tell me how heathy the marsh is every year. I visit them during breeding season in March/April and do a bird count and see where the larger nesting areas are located. Researchers use the railbird's occassionally to study this species and to test the marsh and see what the birds are eating,  Their occassionally look at the railbird's livers to determine what is going on in the march ecosystem which is where these birds get their nourishment and their zest for life in the marsh. 

You will need to spend some time reading my RAILBIRD HUNTERS BIBLE if you are intersted in the devlopement of these species, and those various locations across the USA where the four huntable species may be hunted.

At present  two states do not allow railbird hunting, and these are California and Oregon.

It is all related to one endangered species of railbird. This would be the elusive "California King Railbird," that is currently on those state's- "endangered species list" in the Pacific Flyway.
It is endangered primarily due to the bad checmicals that the cities and counties allowed to drain into San Fancisco Bay throughou tthe years; and negetively impact their local marsh habitat in the Sacrmento Delta. The CALF DNR still always Waterfowl hunting many of those same areas, which makes no sense to me, nowever that is the way things are in Calfornia.

Although an occasional NE can blow in that increases the flood - tide tremendiously, even on a low tide day.
This is an advantage when there has been a great deal of rain in northern portions of N.C. those tributaries drain into the CAPE FEAR RIVER and that impacts our tide system
You got to learn that scouting is necessary and that is when I keep up with the migration and where the birds have shifted in a marsh that might be 10,000  - 20,000 acres and the birds occassionaly shift after arrival into our marsh backcountry, I try to keep up with the larger numbers of railbirds. 
You got to realize that I let the wind be my friend. It helps me with my poling an covering a particular flat.

You will hear me talk about the importance of tides.

Let me explain. The super or the king flood tides  are very unique lunar tides. These vary at lunar cicles, and can increase by direction of heavy winds or in cases following heavy rainfall that flows into the river system that impacts a coastal delta.

Super Flood tides and King Tides always equate excellent gunning days railbirding.

Old timers called these great big tides a "railbird flood tide" .

You determine when you can find time on your schedule, and then speak with me about when that month will have the biggest tides we can hunt, or perhaps the first big tides of the early season, or three days following a great freeze or snow in the NE will cause a migration of railbirds down in massive numbers. In September we have our Resident Raibirds, however if you understand first and formost reason that the best wing-shooting  on railbirds will occur during a great Flood tide. You have  a unique mathmatical formula...

WIND x FLOOD TIDE's of a 5.3 > lunar tide = good or exceptional rail bird -- gunning conditions necessary to make ones hunt a me moriable adventure" .

I guide the *traditional method of Railbird hunting* 

*The Guide uses a push pole - to push the clients in a skinny water railbird skiff, that is poled, or rather pushed with modern day push-pole (STIFFY PUSH POLES)  through a flooding shallow marsh. The gunner sits in the front "gunners chair with his shotgun in his lap" {pointed out or off the side} or laying on his lap.
When the railbirds jump...the guide will give the safety statement;  "Mark Right or Mark Left" ...the client will then shoot the railbird while in flight.... trying to shoot within five seconds of the bird's jumping (Joe Guide's -5 sec rule of railbird hunting) . A gunner who can hit twenty clay pigeons on a 16 yard line on a Trap Range -- can crunch about 80% of the railbirds that you shoot, if you can focus your aim on them within their first five seconds of flight.

Railbirds jump up from the marsh kind of like a quail busting out, or similar to a Pheasant jumping from heavy cover, and normally  most railbirds will fly with the wind in their butts 95% of the time.  
A good guide will always be talking to his client, (keeping them informed and gives direction...shuch as, ("Mark Right...bird is at 2 OClock position." Sir, can you see the bird yet? It is off the front 15 yards...get ready.
Can you see them now sir? There are three birds in that clump of green spartina. Can you see them now? Ok...very well. Get ready - they are going to Jump.
The Client sits in the big front gunnar's chair during the hunt- this is done- as the tide rises and then peaks and during the time that it starts to fall.

When the tide peaks at 5.3 > it will force the railsbirds out of the marsh. If there is a super tide 5.4 or a 5.5 h/t  railbirds get forced out - of the heavy grass, and strart to look for dead spartina grass-mats---to  ride out these great big flood tides, on this floatsom. Gunning railbirds during these big flood tides, can be quite exciting and I 'get my clients deep into the backcountry skinny water 's thickest cover- THAT IS WHERE  these migratiory birds tend to congregate.
If the wind is blowing greater than 14 knots, you will probably wish you brought a second box of shells, or a 12 ga with #9 shot.
Friend, It is not as easy with the winds in their butts, as it seems in my rail bird hunt videos on YOUTUBE. The average gunner takes 28 shots to kill a limit of 15 railbirds; especially if the wind is blowing 12 knots or more.

Please also note that 90 % of my clients return to hunt with me from  throughout over the USA. Get you a good railbird flood tide day. I will let you know what days are best for your to book during a particular hunt day. Book your charter early. Seasons are set by April 1st, however NLT August the 1st. 
GOOGLE my Rail Bird Hunt videos on YOUTUBE (JOE GUIDE RAILBIRD Hunts) to see how its done.   

chase redfish & Speckled Sea Trout
$350 1 P + $450 2P
Flood tide redfishing occurs during the warmer months which allows for stalking... tailing redfish- during incoming and falling flood tides of 68 degree H20 or greater.

A lot of my clients really enjoy stalking reds - however you got to have the tides for that to come together.

For Specks or Flounder, it is focus on areas where these species can best be found, and the h20 tempretures are key factors.  Let's look at Speckled Sea Trout. These fish tend to enjoy hanging out in deeper pools, or drop off or cuts....and feed during the tidal movement and are available in larger schools/pods starting around the week prior to Halloween/All Saint's Day. These schoolie Specks come in from the sea and in the fall and the early fall, they show up in some mighty exciting schools of smaller fish which we call {Spikes} and are caught but only through catch and release. There is a minimu length Slot of 14" and N.C. only allows you to keep four (4) Specks per trip per person. 

The Speck King...always tells me that he prefers fishing the "Falling Tide"...which he believes  are better tidal movement for Speckled sea Trouth fishing, so I  will try to focus on fishing for SPECKs -- (two hours prior, to two hour after of the falling tides - and this is good mathmatical formula....for chasing Reds and Specks.


     Perhaps wade fishing is not your cup of if you don't feel comfortable wade fishing, just let me know when you book your fishing charter.
You just let me know, and then I can pole you across a flat, with the wind at your back, and you can enjoy sitting or standing in my great  big Front chair on the bow of my skiff, and you just fish from that position.

** You got to wet your line to fish, and you cannot catch fish if you line is in the boat. 


However...if you do desire to wade fish, and stalk tailing reds - you gotta bring your "ankle high Wade Boots." Short  spartina grass flats where we wade are good and firm bottoms, You must have your own flats shoes to wade fish. Or at least a old pair of high top basketball shoes. I use my old desert or jungle boots.

Practice your casting BEFORE you come down to fly fish for reds with me. This is not NE or SW Florida or the Keys...I am not goign to yell at you like Florida's guides if you miss a cast. I am going to wade beside you, and point out fish, and show you why they are feeding in a particular flat and why the fish are not in some flats and why all these factors need to occur, and how the Lunar system tides ebb and flow with the tides and hope that you will enjoy your time out on the water.

You can wade fish miles of flooded spartina grass flats. However you gotta understand that reds will feed in some flats and not in other flats, especially depends on the hight of the flood tide, H20 tempretures and especially the "primary or secondary" food sources that are available in certain flats, but are not in what appears to be other flats, and why these factors are important to the plegic species and is a factor driving their feeding. Crabs are usually the key in these flats, more than shrimp or smaller pelegaic species.
*I explain all these things in great detail within my Fly Fishing Book (RED FISH on a FLY) . 
In the late Fall and spring we can target Speckled Sea Trout which start showing up in schools about the middle of October through December like clockwork.

     Wilmington, North Carolina
     You can experience the Lower Cape Fear backcountry in all its beauty throughout the seasons of the year, but remember this delta region consists of thousands of acres of bay, creeks and hundreds of drainage ditches, and many saltwater duck ponds. Robert Raurk wrote about this area a great deal in his classic stories found in the book:  THE OLD MAN and THE BOY.  ​​ ​​
     Field and Stream and Outdoor Life has written about the CAPE FEAR  Fishing and hunting regions throughout the years. Perhaps you have read the articles about me - that brought you to this website.

     The Delta Marsh of the Lower Cape Fear River has an average depth of 3.3 feet however it does have a number of big holes back in it's larger creeks, and its many different channels run the length of the heavy rock  "cribbins"  which seperate the first and second bays. These inner bays or shallow sounds make up the three major larger sections of big water, with heavy and short marsh flats that form unique back country and shallow flats extending out  to the Cape Fear River Ship Channel about a mile or so to its west. The barrier sea islands run southward to boarder Smith and Bald Head and cut up by smaller, tree and scrub inner islands.  

     The "rock cribbins" along the first two back bays protect the inside  backcountry flats and bays and marshes from storm deteriation and slow the tidal flow flooding. These rocks actually date back to approprations during President Grant's Administration and were completed during President Grover Cleveland's administration, however this works project was interrupted throughout those years-  due to politics and congressional funding.

     Mr. James Sprunt's exceptional book: CHRONICLES of the CAPE FEAR  1660 - 1916 explains more fully those aspects. The inner channels were dug out by steam shove and dredge, initally by free-men of color under very difficult conditions, and later by other contract workers.

There are miles of shallow flats throughout the Lower Cape Fear delta region. These flats are inter-connected by 1.5 - 4 ' deep spider and ribbon - creeks  which flood and drain the flats and hundreds of ancient duck ponds and spartina grass flats. The bays, flats, and backwater duck ponds dominate the landscape of backwater fishing & wildfowling habitat and are hard for most skiffs to get to-- unless you have a unique skinny-water skiff like the one  I use for your Rail bird hunting or Fly0-Fishing adventure.  
​​Do you... desire to experience exceptional Wingshooting or Inshore saltwater Fishing with light-tackle?

If you enjoy the outdoors and getting out in the back country this will be the kind of fishing, or hunting experience that you will enjoy if you book a fishing or wing shooting charter with

You make the call...or text... Joe Guing Tide, a super flood tide, or a railbird flood tide

 YOUTUBE has many different long or short videos you can see.
Google... "Joe Guide Railbird hunts...or Joe Guide Fishing Video Clips" .