Nickens is editor-at-large of Field & Stream and the author of The Total Outdoorsman Manual and The Last Wild Road: Adventures and Essays from a Sporting Life. His articles also appear in Smithsonian and Audubon magazines.
One scaly, swimming symbol alone could not tell the full story of our waters. Our state fishes represent two facets of North Carolina’s personality, two sides of a Southern coin: one as meditative as a remote mountain stream, the other as fiercely headstrong as the wild Atlantic.
Sometimes, when his house full of Tar Heel fanatics huddles up around the TV, the Ramblin’ Man gets to feeling a little sidelined. Hard as he tries, “tackle” and “net” conjure visions of mountain streams, even during football and basketball seasons.
For the Ramblin’ Man, nothing defines the flavor of summer in North Carolina like sweet, succulent shrimp. He trawls roadside stands for these tiny treasures from the sea and sound, and he might be willing to share ... if you’re lucky.