Lockwood's Folly River
During a recent family
vacation, we crossed over a nice looking little river near the coast in
southeastern North Carolina. I had a few hours to kill one morning and my
youngest son, Mitchell (age 3), and I decided to paddle around a bit and
make a few casts. I lashed a small beach chair to the back of my kayak and
pretty soon we were paddling upstream. We didn't have to paddle, however,
as the incoming tide was actually moving the current gently in an upstream
direction (The tides up here are 3-4 hours behind the tides at the inlet).
Ideally, you want to catch the end of the outgoing tide and the beginning
of the incoming tide, but Mitchell and I were just doing a little
exploring more than anything else. If we caught a fish it would just be
icing on the cake.
Mitchell and Daddy smile for the camera
Since we were only 10 miles or so from Lockwood's Folly Inlet, I wasn't
even certain whether I was fishing fresh water, salt water, or something
in between. I tied on a spinnerbait, but wasn't sure if this section of
the river even harbored any bass. Within a few minutes I would have my
answer as a healthy bass slammed the spinnerbait near a brushpile. I don't
know how Lockwood's Folly looks at low tide, but there is no shortage of
tasty-looking places to cast at high tide. The water inundates the
grassbeds and cypress knees and every place looks fishy (which I guess is
what makes fishing the high tide trickier).
"Nice goin', Dad!"
Lockwood's Folly River is only floatable for about 15 miles and I'm not
certain how far downstream freshwater fish species can be caught. There
are reportedly a few logjams on the section of river upstream from where I
was fishing, but the river was clear from obstructions in the section I
fished and varied from 50 to 80 feet in width (this was at high tide).
There were a couple river houses and small docks, but this section of
river appeared pretty primitive for the most part. The section of river I
fished seemed big enough to accommodate a jon boat and there was a pontoon
boat docked about a mile upstream from the bridge.
The river gets it's name from one of the two Lockwood brothers (Thomas, I
think) who became famous as blockade runners for the Confederacy during
the Civil War. Thomas ran the Elizabeth and a cargo worth $1
million (in Civil War dollars!) aground in the inlet, hence the river's
name. It is often referred to as Lockwood Folly River locally (losing the
apostrophe and the s).
The river is really pretty too. We didn't see any alligators, but a local
we talked to said they are seen occasionally closer to the ocean. All
told, Mitchell and I caught four bass and a big bowfin in about three
hours of paddling and fishing. Only one of the bass was under a pound and
they were all very feisty. Mitchell helped paddle a little and
reeled in a couple of the smaller bass, but mostly sat behind me and ate
snacks while we talked. As it turns out, we didn't even have to paddle
back to the bridge because the tide turned while we were out and the river
pushed us gently home. When a light drizzle started falling about thirty
minutes from the bridge, I looked back and Mitchell was sound asleep.
Some days on the river I wish I could do this!
Since I have never heard Lockwood's Folly River mentioned as a
premier freshwater fishing destination, chances are that it's not. There
are some nice bass in the river, and I would imagine the bream and
catfishing is pretty good also. I think it would be pretty fun to float
the last section and see what type of saltwater fish show up farther
downstream. I doubt that the freshwater fish get very much attention from
anglers, especially the bass.
I doubt I'd make a long trip just to fish Lockwood's Folly, but if you
live in the area or find yourself vacationing on the southeast coast,
there are definitely worse places to be than on this river!