Lee has grown up surfing and fishing the waters of the Crystal Coast. As a young boy, he vividly remembers many trips to surf fish the Point at Emerald Isle and fishing the backwaters of Swansboro with his Dad and Mother. Lee’s Dad always had a boat, and the family spent many warm summer afternoons fishing and playing in the waters around Bogue Inlet. His Dad’s favorite fish was the puppy drum, a.k.a. redfish. Many hours were spent throwing 2-hook bottom rigs in the “suds” to try and catch puppy drum. While fishing for puppy drum, Lee would see older kids out surfing, and the surfing bug caught Lee for the next 30 years, sending him all over the hemisphere chasing good waves. But he never forgot his family’s love for fishing the Crystal Coast waters.
Years ago, Lee bought a little boat to get him to and from the more remote surfing spots along the southern Outer Banks. But he knew his passions were changing, as he would find himself sitting on his board wondering what the fishing was like that day. In recent years, the increasing redfish numbers along the Crystal Coast has caused him to re-evaluate his priorities, and now his waking hours are spent trying to catch more and more redfish. His favorite technique for redfish is topwater fishing, and he will throw topwater plugs all day long, in search of that next big explosion. As the redfish tournament scene has grown in North Carolina, Lee has plunged his time and resources into competing against the best in the State, but never forgetting that it is his Dad that is responsible for his love of catching “puppy drum.”
J. Dwayne Smith
Dwayne grew up hunting and fishing with his dad, the late James Smith, in Eastern North Carolina. Many afternoons, Dwayne climbed up to sit in deer stands waiting patiently for a trophy buck. Childhood memories of spending time with his father and family hunting the woods in Jones County are some of the best days of his young life. As he grew older, he continued to expand his hunting skills to include duck, turkey, and the occasional wild boar. Being close to nature has remained a priority for Dwayne in many of his hobbies.
In terms of his first fishing experiences, his dad and uncle would take him out on a Grady White or bass boat into the Neuse and Trent River. On one of the first trips, Dwayne remembers catching his first fish which was a speckled trout. He also has fond memories of taking vacations to surf fish with his grandparents in Surf City and Topsail Island.
By the age of fifteen, Dwayne added surfing to his favorite things to do with his good friend, Jeff Smith. Hanging out at the Emerald Isle and Bogue Inlet piers were favorite locations for surfing. While in college at East Carolina University, Dwayne was introduced to Lee Padrick through mutual surfing friends. Their love of surfing took them to visit many U.S states and Costa Rica to find the big waves.
He knows no other way of living than being an outdoorsman. After his friends, Lee and Jeff, caught redfish fever, Dwayne started joining them on some of their fishing adventures. He now spends his weekends sight fishing for redfish on the flats near and around Morehead City. His wife of sixteen years, Nicole Smith, supports his passion for competitive fishing and frequently attends his tournaments.