Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fishing Camps

Fish camps are part of a long tradition on Ocracoke. Primitive camps were erected "down below" (that's the part of the island north of Ocracoke village) many years ago. More recent camp buildings from the early and mid twentieth century were simple wood frame constructions.

Alton Ballance, in his book Ocracokers, quotes old timers who described the original camps. They were constructed from black needle rushes near the tidal creeks. Alton's source, Sullivan Garrish, says they were A-frame huts, but at least some of them were shaped more like yurts. Cooking was done outside whenever possible. If it rained they would cut a hole in the roof to let the smoke out. 

Mullet fishermen's camp at Shackleford Banks

 This photograph is from "The Fishes of North Carolina," by Hugh McCormick Smith, North Carolina Geological and Economic Survey, plate No. 20, published by E. M. Uzzell & Co., Raleigh, North Carolina, 1907.

Today's fish camps include more modern amenities.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Hurricane House and the Hurricane Boards. You can read it here:


  1. Thanks for that picture and write up...interesting!

  2. oops, what's that other structure?

  3. That other structure is a net drying rack. You can see a modern, not so different, version on this web site from Michigan: