Central District Pamlico, Craven, Carteret and Onslow Counties Contact: Kim Worrell
For the 2011 fishing year, all 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.
Because fishing is generally slower in the winter there will not be regular updates from December to April. Instead of the weekly updates we have posted an overview of what one might expect during this time period.
Ocean: There will be plenty of excellent fishing opportunities onboard charter boats during the winter. The central coastal area has become home to North Carolina’s bluefin tuna fishery. Multiple hook-ups and multiple fish days are the norm rather than the exception. Another species that sometimes makes the winter scene in the central area is striped bass. Striped bass are sometimes taken from Cape Lookout Shoals and other areas along the beach throughout the winter. Other offshore species such as king mackerel, yellowfin tuna and wahoo will also be available to Gulf Stream anglers. Bottom fishing for a variety of reef fish species is also excellent during the winter months. There are several headboats that operate throughout the year. Some of the best snapper and grouper catches occur during the winter, providing a quality fishing experience. Extended/overnight fishing trips are also offered. Bluefin tuna trips have also been offered in the past. Private boat anglers will enjoy many of the same opportunities as those mentioned for charter boat anglers. Near-shore bluefin tuna fishing should be excellent. Those fishing offshore will have access to excellent catches of king mackerel.
Inlets/Sounds/Bays: The speckled trout fishing was excellent this fall in the central coastal area. A good winter fishery is in the making. Newly established striped bass fishing on the shoals of Cape Lookout will also be a favorite. Inside, the creeks of the White Oak, New, Neuse, Bay, Pamlico and Pungo rivers will offer occasional excellent speckled trout fishing. Good catches of speckled trout were already being reported in the fall from Bay River, Campbell’s Creek and other central area tributaries. Do a little research before going, this is a specialized fishery. You might want to consider a local guide. This will greatly improve your opportunity to get on the fish.
Piers/Shore: Most piers are closed for the season. Some may allow access, but catches will be limited. Shore fishing activity will be limited.