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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - RecFishReports

Marine Fisheries

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

For the week of May July 13-20

Ocean: Offshore anglers experienced a fair week of fishing. Good numbers of dolphin were landed out of Oregon and Hatteras inlets. The majority of the dolphin were school-size fish with some nice gaffers mixed in. The yellowfin tuna bite slowed down, but anglers landed a few in the 30- to 50-foot range. Anglers also landed blackfin tuna and wahoo. Billfish action was up and down over the week, but anglers caught blue and white marlin on a daily basis. Bottom fishing produced good numbers of blueline tilefish and triggerfish. Amberjacks were plentiful on most any offshore structure. Anglers fishing along the shore landed good numbers of Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Trolling small spoons produced the best catches.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Inlet anglers reported good fishing. Flounder fishing was fair. Anglers landed good numbers of legal-size flounder. Live bait fished on a Carolina rig produced the best catches. Red drum were still being caught around the inlets on artificial jigs and cut bait. Anglers concentrating their efforts around shallow water shoals did the best. Bottom fishing producing catches of sea mullet and spot. Those fishing at Oregon Inlet Bridge landed sheepshead and black drum. Speckled trout were caught throughout the sounds. The majority of the fish were still on the small side with a few keeper-fish mixed in.

Piers/Shore: Pier and surf anglers experienced another good week of fishing. Anglers caught plenty of bluefish and Spanish mackerel. Low light conditions were the best time for Spanish mackerel. Anglers fishing on the bottom were rewarded with good catches of sea mullet and spot. Anglers fishing the surf zone and from the beaches caught a few red drum. Surf casters caught good numbers of sea mullet and pompano. Lots of citation-size fish were weighed in. The area from Rodanthe to Hatteras produced the best catches. Sand fleas were the bait of choice for the larger fish.


Central District

For the week of July 13-20

Ocean: It was a windy week, yet offshore anglers still managed a banner week fishing for sailfish. There were plenty of dolphin landed on the Morehead City waterfront, with one decent-size pompano dolphin mixed in, as well. Other anglers reported catching blue marlin, wahoo, amberjack and barracuda. Bottom-fishing anglers reported catches of red and gag grouper, red snapper, triggerfish, vermillion snapper, black sea bass, amberjack and white grunt. Closer to shore, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and little tunny were landed in decent numbers around Beaufort Inlet and out toward Artificial Reef 315. Flounder catches also were landed from the near-shore reefs on live mudminnows and bucktails. Anglers started seeing large sharks around Beaufort Inlet, and there were a few reports of hookups and releases.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: The flounder bite was doing well around the N.C. Port turning basin and in Taylor’s Creek, Bogue Sound, Core Sound and the Newport River. Live mullet and mudminnows werel the best baits, and the area creeks were full of both. Bottom-fishing anglers using cut bait landed spot, croaker, bluefish, pufferfish, stingrays and red drum in the sounds. Sheepshead were biting on live urchins around the piers, bridges and structure in the sounds and in the turning basin. Red drum anglers started to see over-the-slot fish in the Neuse, as well as slot redfish in Bogue and Core sounds. There were still fleeting reports of late-season cobia, one from the beach at Fort Macon and one from the port.

Piers/Shore: Shore and pier anglers reported catching bluefish, spot, pompano, croaker and sea mullet while bottom fishing cut bait. Plugging for Spanish mackerel had its highs and lows, but most anglers reported that the cooler times of early morning and late afternoon were the most productive. A few shore anglers also reported success with fishing live mullet on a Carolina rig for flounder in the surf.


Southern District

For the week of July 13-20

Ocean: Offshore fishing remained good, and anglers brought in large catches of vermilion snapper, black sea bass, white grunts and red porgies. Other reef fish brought in were red, gag and scamp groupers, along with some red snapper. King mackerel were scattered, but anglers found the best action in the 10- to 15-mile range. Along with the kings, anglers caught plenty of amberjack, some cobia and a few dolphin. Catches from near-shore reefs included flounder, spadefish, gray trout and some large red drum.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Most anglers targeting flounder saw really good catches. The best fishing continued to come from the southern part of the Cape Fear River and down south around the marshes near Sunset Beach. Anglers weighed flounders up to 10 pounds, and there were lots of citation- size fish. Red drum and spotted sea trout fishing was not as consistent as the flounder fishing, but anglers were still catching a few in the same general areas. Sheepshead and some back drum were caught around the ADM Dock and the rock wall at Fort Fisher.

Piers/Shore: Anglers fishing on area piers caught typical a summertime bag that included spot, sea mullets, bluefish, flounder and some red and black drum. Anglers fishing on New Hanover county piers caught some really nice king mackerel with one fish weighing more than 40 pounds. Anglers fishing in the surf caught some sea mullets, pompano and drum using mole crabs for bait.


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

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