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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - Central District

Marine Fisheries

Central District Fishing Report —
Pamlico, Craven, Carteret and Onslow Counties

8-point rule


Contact: Jesse Bissette (Jesse.Bissette@ncdenr.gov)

For the week of Sept. 11-17


Offshore: The big offshore swell from storms kept most of the fleet tied to the dock. The few fishermen that made it out were rewarded with quality wahoo fishing and a few dolphin and blackfin tuna catches. Offshore bottom fishing produced catches of black sea bass, triggerfish, vermilion snapper, grouper, and amberjack. Spanish mackerel and bluefish fishing along the Carteret County beaches was good, but not many boats were able to go out after them in the big swell. Schools of little tunny were seen busting tiny baitfish around Cape Lookout. Fishermen targeting flounder had success using live mullet on Carolina rigs over the nearshore artificial reefs.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays:
The red drum bite on the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound was outstanding. Anglers throwing popping corks and fishing with dead bait on the bottom caught high numbers of over-the-slot fish. Fishermen targeting smaller drum had luck using top-water lures, soft plastics, and live bait in area marshes. They also caught spotted seatrout and flounder. Anglers specifically targeting flounder had the best luck fishing around the N.C. Port wall. Those bottom fishing in the port turning basin caught croaker, pigfish, weakfish, and pinfish, while those fishing area structures, such as bridge pilings, caught sheepshead using fiddler crabs as bait.

Piers/Shore:
Anglers throwing plugs from area piers had some luck catching Spanish mackerel and bluefish, although muddy water limited the success. Bottom fishing anglers caught decent numbers of pompano and a handful of sea mullet. Surf fishermen caught red drum and black drum using live and dead bait. Most of the red drum were caught at Fort Macon State Park.


For the fishing year, all owners/operators of vessels recreationally fishing for and/or retaining regulated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish) in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, must obtain an Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Angling permit. This permit has replaced the Atlantic tunas Angling category permit. In North Carolina, additional Highly Migratory Species harvest reporting requirements are also in place. To obtain a permit go to: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/compliance/permits_reporting/index.html

Report a tagged fish

Please note: Anglers sometimes confuse small king mackerel with Spanish mackerel. King mackerel and Spanish mackerel have different size and catch limits. Make sure you properly identify the mackerel you are catching. (Tips here)

A recreational fishing license went into effect Jan. 1, 2007 for all of the state's coastal and ocean waters.

Click here for the latest seasons, size and bag limits.

Please note: New reports are usually posted by early Monday afternoon.

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N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

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