. Coast watch. Marine resources; Oceanography; Coastal zone management; Coastal ecology. Of all the sportsmen who have made the annual pilgrimage to harvest the bass in Currituck Sound, none are so memorable as the West Virginians. By the busloads they came, most from deep in the heart of coal country. "I guess they just wanted to get away from all that mining," says hunting and fishing guide Warren Austin of Barco. "It must feel good to get out of those holes in the ground and come here for some fishing in the open air." The West Virginians enjoyed their Currituck outings

- Image ID: REH9CT
. Coast watch. Marine resources; Oceanography; Coastal zone management; Coastal ecology. Of all the sportsmen who have made the annual pilgrimage to harvest the bass in Currituck Sound, none are so memorable as the West Virginians. By the busloads they came, most from deep in the heart of coal country. "I guess they just wanted to get away from all that mining," says hunting and fishing guide Warren Austin of Barco. "It must feel good to get out of those holes in the ground and come here for some fishing in the open air." The West Virginians enjoyed their Currituck outings
The Book Worm / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: REH9CT
. Coast watch. Marine resources; Oceanography; Coastal zone management; Coastal ecology. Of all the sportsmen who have made the annual pilgrimage to harvest the bass in Currituck Sound, none are so memorable as the West Virginians. By the busloads they came, most from deep in the heart of coal country. "I guess they just wanted to get away from all that mining," says hunting and fishing guide Warren Austin of Barco. "It must feel good to get out of those holes in the ground and come here for some fishing in the open air." The West Virginians enjoyed their Currituck outings to the limit, but they weren't rowdy and didn't demand much from their guides. What they wanted most of all was to catch fish. "A West Virginian, he'd fish in a bathtub, if that's all he had," Austin says. "And when he'd catch them, he'd take them all home with him. "Ain't no telling how many bass them boys took out of this sound." But, like others who once swore by the fishing in Cur- rituck, the West Virginians don't come anymore. "It's because the fishing is down to zilch these days," Warren says. "When the word's out there's no bass, it takes care of itself. We don't have to advertise." tuck Banks, shifted it around a bit and filled in what was then known as New Currituck Inlet. Because the nearest salt water inlet is south at Oregon Inlet, Cur- rituck remains mostly fresh water. But increased salinity would be disas- trous for the sound's bass population, says Pete Kornegay, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission's biologist for the 13-county northeast region. "We had a four-year drought that started in 1984-85," he says. "That reduced the freshwater inflow into the sound and caused salinity to increase." Extreme high salinity in 1987-88 ex- ceeded the tolerance limits for largemouth bass and other freshwater species in the sound, Kornegay says. Many of the fish died and none spawned. "And while the wate

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