SWAN QUARTER (WNCT) - "Hyde County is really a beautiful place,” said Refuge Manager of the U.S. Wildlife Service, Pete Campbell.
And that's especially true here along the Pamlico sound.
"It's just peaceful,” said Deborah Black who enjoys fishing at Bell Island Pier. “This is beautiful out here."
The Bell Island Pier at the Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge is a place so beautiful you might not even realize what you're missing when you drive down US 264.
"I would say it's a very hidden gem,” said Campbell. “A lot of folks in the County know about it, but not a whole lot of people inland really are aware of how beautiful this place is."
First built in the 1930's, hurricanes twice destroyed the pier.
Today it juts out some 1,100 feet into Rose Bay.
“It is one of the few public access locations for folks to come out and fish or do bird observation or photography in Hyde County,” said Campbell.
But it's the amazing fishing that brings most people here.
People like Deborah black.
“A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work,” said Black. “It's so true."
Even when the weather isn't great, it's still relaxing.
“Lowers the blood pressure,” said Black.
Deborah lives in Virginia, but visits Hyde County a few times a year, and walking down the Bell Island Pier is always a must.
"You get a smorgasbord of different types of fish, crabs,” said Black. “And it's just peaceful."
Well, peaceful when there's not a camera crew in your face as you try to fish.
Speckled trout, flounder, puppy drum, black bass are just a few of the species of fish reeled in on this pier.
But if casting a line isn't quite your style, that's okay, there's something for everyone at the refuge, including on the long drive down a dirt road to get here.
“It’s about two miles going through a salt marsh,” said Campbell. “You can see a lot of different kinds of wildlife along that road. We have seen otters. Certainly amphibians, reptiles, snakes, turtles. A lot of different kinds of birds in that salt marsh. And it's actually a quite peaceful drive. Sometimes folks come down here and park and either walk or jog as well."
But it's what's at the end of the road that keeps folks coming back, year after year.
If you love the outdoors, then you'll love the Bell Island Pier.
"It doesn’t get no better,” said Black. “It really doesn't. It's good fishing. It's clean. I just love it."