Recreational Fishing Reports
The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries interviews anglers throughout coastal areas to estimate the marine recreational fishing catch. The following regional fishing reports are updated weekly and compiled by DMF port agents as they observe and interview fishermen at access sites along the coast — more than 500 anglers are interviewed each week.
Please note: New reports are usually posted by early Monday afternoon.
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Northern District Fishing Report
For the week of Oct. 17-23
Ocean: Offshore catches out of Hatteras were dominated by dolphin, along with moderate amounts of king mackerel, wahoo, and both yellowfin and blackfin tuna. A few billfish were also reported. Nearshore activity was very low. Offshore fishing out of Oregon Inlet yielded limits of dolphin on most trips, along with near limits of yellowfin tuna, a few blackfin tuna, wahoo and king mackerel. Billfish catches were fair with mostly sailfish reported. Nearshore anglers struggled with only a few trips being made yielding low amounts of bluefish and sheepshead.
Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Anglers out of Hatteras had a field day with red drum catching all sizes from small undersized ones up to over-slot giants. Good catches of spotted seatrout and flounder, with a few kingfish and puffers resulted in some great fishing. High numbers of undersized striped bass and keeper spotted seatrout were caught along with other species including bluefish, black drum, pigfish, spot, croaker, kingfish, black seabass and weakfish.
Piers/Surf: Red drum continued to be the target of choice by most anglers from north to south with all size fish being caught, including some very large over-slot giants. Catches were best when the weather was the worst and those that braved the elements were rewarded. Extra large kingfish (sea mullet) showed up and were caught on a daily basis, along with a few spotted seatrout, black drum, spot, croaker, puffer, bluefish, flounder, silver perch and a mixed bag of others.
Central District Fishing Report
For the week of Sept. Oct. 17-23
Ocean: Not many boats took trips offshore, but those that did had solid catches of wahoo, including some citation-sized fish. A good number of yellowfin and blackfin tuna were also caught. A few boats even got into a bunch of dolphin. Bottom fishermen reported catching grouper, black sea bass, triggerfish, spottail pinfish, white grunt and vermilion snapper. Little tunny (false albacore) were caught up and down the crystal coast with many anglers able to hookup casting to fish busting on schools of glass minnows. The highest concentration of fish were around Cape Lookout, but the area around Bogue Inlet held large amounts of fish also. A decent number of king mackerel were caught, but many of the fish were not very large.
Inlets/Sounds/Bays: The fall spotted sea trout bite has definitely turned on in the central region. Anglers fishing everywhere from the Haystacks to the Radio Island Jetty to Cape Lookout had almost no trouble catching limits of trout. Most of the trout were perfect keeper fish in the 17 to 22-inch range. Good numbers of red drum were caught by those trout fishing at Radio Island, but most were under-sized. People bottom fishing in the N.C. State Port turning basin and surrounding areas had good action with pigfish, along with intermittent catches of spot, sea mullet, weakfish and puffers. Those using jigs in Beaufort Inlet and beside the Atlantic Beach Bridge had success with weakfish, but the best action was at night. Anglers fishing the N.C. State Port wall for flounder saw solid catches of keeper fish. Live mullet on a Carolina rig produced the most consistent bites.
Piers/Surf: A few bluefish, some false albacore and a handful of Spanish mackerel remained around for the pluggers to catch, but the majority of the action on the piers definitely switched to those using natural baits. Anglers fishing live bait landed spotted seatrout, red drum and flounder, while those using cut bait landed sea mullet, pigfish, spot, pompano and black drum. People fishing the surf reported catching the same as the folks on the piers.
Southern District Fishing Report
For the week of Oct. 10-16
Ocean: Wahoo fishing picked up with boats catching a few, along with good numbers of sailfish and blackfin tuna. Bottom fishing produced limits of vermilion snapper and a few gag, red and scamp groupers. Near shore, fishing was fantastic with anglers catching limits of flounder on the artificial reefs in the one to five-mile range. The king mackerel bite turned on, as well, with anglers catching good numbers of fish along Topsail and New Hanover beaches. The red drum bite was strong with boats catching big numbers of drum in the 30- to 45-inch range fishing around schools of menhaden just off the Brunswick County beaches.
Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Fishing was fantastic with anglers catching limits of trout throughout the area. Most fish were in the two to three-pound range, but there were a number of fish caught in the five to six-pound range, as well. Red and black drum were caught in area creeks and bays, along with some sheepshead. Flounder fishing was good with most fish caught around creeks off the ICWW and near area inlets.
Piers/Shore: Area piers reported great fishing. Catches included spots, sea mullets, pompano and black and red drum. Anglers caught king mackerel off the ends of the piers with Topsail and New Hanover piers doing well over the weekend. Big Spanish mackerel, along with lots of little tunny, were caught. Anglers fishing from the surf had plenty of action with lots of black and red drum landed, along with flounder, sea mullets and some pompano.