Ask Walter White when the fish bite and he’ll tell you “when it’s raining or when it’s not.” He’ll also give you similar advice regarding the best time to go fishing: “Whenever you have time.”
As a lifelong fisherman, Walter is happily managing the tackle display and inventory for Seaview’s Carolina Beach Market, which also allows him a chance to dispense fishing advice as he interacts with the customers.
“This is a great job,” he says. “I like the people and it’s always fun playing with tackle.”
Under Walter’s guidance, the market offers a full selection of inshore tackle, rods and reels and a number of different kinds of baits allowing fishermen to catch a wide variety of fish.
Walter met Seaview owners Nathan King, Joe and Sam Romano, when the trio first started crabbing.
“I lived down the street from them and they would bring live soft shell crabs to my house,” he said. “Just because they knew how I loved them.”
Later, when Walter retired from his job as a pharmaceutical salesman, he decided life was a bit boring and he asked the guys if they needed help at their market.
“By then they had the store, and I’ve been here now about 7 or 8 years,” he mused.
With his background in fishing, Walter was a perfect fit to manage the tackle section of the Carolina Beach market.
“It was bare bones – as far as the tackle part – when I came, so they put me in charge,” he said. “It’s customer driven and most of our customers fish in the river, pier fishing, surf fishing or down at Snow’s Cut.”
Though the store doesn’t open until 6 am on Saturday, Walter says that people are often there before the open light goes on.
“When I got here this morning at 5 o’clock, there were two guys sleeping in a car in the parking lot. They were waiting for us to open,” he said. “They lived about three hours away from here. Shortly after they left, some guy pulled up with two kids and I couldn’t make them wait to go fishing, so I told them to come on in.”
He pauses to greet two fishermen as they walk in the door, fanning themselves with their hats.
“Hot out there already, is it?” Walter says, and the men answer that it surely is. They want mud minnows and he steps outside to scoop a few up in the net.
The fishermen chat a little as Walter puts the minnows in the bucket, telling him that they can’t believe it’s already 8 am.
“We got started even later last week,” one says. “We wanted to get started earlier today, but couldn’t make it here before now.”
They seem to have started a trend as several trucks pull in the parking lot and the market fills up with fishing enthusiasts wanting shrimp, finger mullets, popeye mullet, squid or mud minnows to use as bait.
There’s a lot of conversation about bait, what’s biting and also about what’s not. Somebody asks about what kind of bait to use, and Walter tells him that it all depends on what he wants to catch.
Shrimp, he says, are good for everything.
“I always say that if you are ever reincarnated, you don’t want to come back as a shrimp, because everything eats shrimp,” he adds.
The wave of fishermen continues throughout the morning, including men and their wives, women and their kids, plus tourists who are ready to try fishing for the first time.
Walter is there to help them buy bait, answer questions about what’s biting and teach them how to cast.
“Hey, I love to talk about anything fish related,” he says.
By early afternoon he’s ready to call it a day and heads out of the market – maybe to do a little fishing of his own.
Catch you next time.