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Marine Fisheries - Recreational Fishing Report

Marine Fisheries

Recreational Fishing Report Still Holds the Limelight

By Richard Davis
Fish Eye News
Archive: July 2009

If the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Recreational Fishing Report was a television show, it might be “American Idol.” It has devoted fans that look forward to each week’s episode and can’t seem to get enough.

That’s quite an achievement when you consider the report started in 2001 as only a few sentences. Now it ranks as the most visited section of the division’s Web site, receiving between 15,000 and 20,000 page views each month.

The report, (actually three separate reports covering the north, central and southern sections of the coast) gives a summary of recreational fishing and is updated weekly from Easter through late November. The information is compiled using information gathered by the division’s 12 recreational port agents who survey nearly 20,000 anglers each year. Three agents are assigned to provide summary reports, which are posted to the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Web site on Mondays.

Katie Latanich, who writes the Central District Report, explained how the process works.

“I use information from many different sources,” Latanich said. “I get input from the other port agents, and I talk to marina and pier managers, tackle shop owners, and anglers.

“For the offshore charter boats and headboats, I’ve found that mates, marina managers, gas dock employees and fish cleaning services are great sources of information.”
 Latanich said that writing the report benefits her as well as those who read it.

“I have to gather enough information to write a report each week so I have extra incentive to make conversation with anglers and become more attentive to seasonal and geographical patterns in catches and fishing effort,” she said.

She pointed out that she is not the only one who benefits from this effort.

“It enhances our credibility and shows that port agents are knowledgeable about the types of fish anglers are targeting and the strategies they're using at different times of the year,” she said. “Posting three different fishing reports reinforces the diversity of angling opportunities in North Carolina. It also shows that there are important ecological distinctions between the northern, central and southern parts of our coast.”

Her words were echoed by Brian Melott who writes the Northern District Report. He said that reviewing each week’s activities helps him spot fishing trends in the counties he covers.

In addition to writing the reports, the three agents serve as contacts to respond to e-mail inquiries about recreational fishing.

Dennis Trowell, who covers the southern area of the coast, said “I get questions from people out of state who are coming down on vacation and want to know what’s biting and where. They ask about bait and tackle, whether they need a license and its cost. And they sometimes ask where to find a tackle shop or the nearest boat landing.”

Doug Mumford, who supervises the recreational port agents and was an early contributor to the recreational section of the division’s Web site, spoke of the report’s value.

“The reports are very popular,” Mumford said. “I get many compliments throughout the year, and we often use them to provide outreach regarding changes in fishing regulations.

“The fishing reports offer a rare opportunity for the division to provide additional public service at little or no extra cost.”

The Recreational Fishing Report can be found on the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Web site at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recreational-fishing-reports1.

/fen-07-09
N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

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