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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

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

Marine Fisheries

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Central District Pamlico, Craven, Carteret and Onslow Counties

Contact: Scott Smith

Owners/operators of vessels recreationally fishing for and/or retaining regulated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) (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 (HMS) Angling permit. This permit has replaced the Atlantic tunas Angling category permit. In North Carolina, additional HMS harvest reporting requirements are also in place. To obtain a permit go to: http://www.hmspermits.gov..

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. Be SURE to properly identify the mackerel you are catching. (Tips here)

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

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


Central District

For the week of July 21-27

Ocean: Offshore anglers landed decent numbers of billfish in the Duck’s Unlimited Tournament. Dolphin catches were the primary target of those trolling offshore. Bottom-fishing anglers reported catches were similar to past weeks. The red snapper opening offered access to this species and quite a few were landed. Other bottom-fish catches consisted of red and gag grouper, triggerfish, vermillion snapper, black sea bass, amberjack and white grunt. Closer to shore, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and little tunny were landed from around the Cape, Beaufort Inlet and out toward Artificial Reef 315. Fishermen caught flounder at the near-shore reefs using live mudminnows and bucktails for bait.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: The flounder bite was decent around the N.C. Port turning basin, including Taylor’s Creek, Bogue Sound, Core Sound and the Newport River. Live mullet and mudminnows were good baits to use to land the flounder, and the area creeks were full of both. Bottom-fishing anglers using cut bait caught spot, croaker, bluefish, pufferfish, stingrays and red drum. Sheepshead were biting on blue crab chucks fished around the piers, bridges and other structure in the sounds and in the turning basin. Red drum anglers started to see over-the-slot drum in the Neuse, as well as slot-size redfish in Bogue and Core sounds.

Piers/Shore: Shore and pier anglers reported catching bluefish, spot, pompano, croaker and sea mullet while bottom fishing with cut bait. Fresh shrimp and blood worms were the go-to bait. Plugging for Spanish mackerel had its good and bad days. You had to be there at the right time. Most anglers reported the best catches during cooler times of the early morning and late afternoon. A few shore anglers also had success with fishing live mullet on a Carolina rig for flounder in the surf.

Northern District | Central District | Southern District
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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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