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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - RecFishReports

Marine Fisheries

Recreational Fishing Reports

8-point rule

 

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.

View more pages on your mobile device here.


Northern District Fishing Report

For the week of May 15-21


Ocean:
Offshore catches out of Hatteras continued to be bountiful and varied. Billfish hookups significantly increased. Both blue and white marlin hookups came in regularity, along with a few sailfish. Dolphin of all sizes and citation-sized blackfin tuna were caught on almost all trips, as were a few wahoo. Bottom fishing in deep waters produced triggerfish, blueline tilefish and an assortment of grouper. Nearshore anglers had nice catches of red drum of all sizes, cobia and, occasionally, Atlantic bonito. Anglers fishing out of Oregon Inlet had plenty to be happy about, as well. Some caught their limits of dolphin and yellowfin tuna. A few bigeye tuna, weighing around 130 pounds, were also seen, and billfish catches improved. Nearshore anglers continued to focus effort on cobia with very good success. Catches of flounder, kingfish and red drum improved, as well.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Anglers fishing in the sound behind Hatteras regularly caught their limits of weakfish. There were also moderate catches of bluefish in the 1-to-2-pound range, along with kingfish and spot. Fishing in the more northern areas produced a few cobia. Spotted seatrout catches decreased a bit but legal-sized fish were caught in most cases with only few undersize trout reported. Inside catches also included red drum, flounder, croaker, kingfish, pinfish, pigfish and undersized striped bass.

Piers/Shore: Coastal fishing from north to south was moderate, and no species stood out. From Avon southward, big chopper blues were caught in the surf, as were small, 1-to-2-pounders. Additionally, anglers caught red drum and kingfish in low to moderate numbers. Catches along the northern beaches were more consistent. Anglers caught large, citation size kingfish, small bluefish and spotted seatrout. Timing was the most important factor to success, because the fish showed for short-term visits. Pier fishermen also caught sea mullet on a semi-regular basis, and striped burrfish, puffers, pigfish, pinfish, skates and assorted rays kept poles bending when little else was available.


Central District Fishing Report

For the week of May 15-21
 

Ocean: The dolphin fishing was phenomenal! Most boats brought back double-digit numbers of very nice fish. A few blackfin tuna and wahoo were caught with the dolphin. Anglers targeting billfish had good luck with blue marlin; many boats hooked up with multiple fish per day. Those bottom fishing offshore landed grouper, amberjack, triggerfish, black sea bass and limits of vermilion snapper. Fishing for Spanish mackerel seemed to be in full swing, as well. Those trolling the beaches and those casting to schooling fish managed to get their limits. A few blues were mixed in with the Spanish. Anglers targeting cobia had good luck sight fishing, but most of the fish still were caught using dead bait on the bottom. Flounder fishing at the nearshore artificial reefs produced good results for those fishing with minnows on a Carolina rig.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Anglers fishing area marshes had decent luck catching spotted seatrout, but most of the action came from up toward the Neuse River. Red drum, as well as a handful of flounder, were caught along with the trout. Anglers bottom fishing in the State Port Turning Basin caught croaker, pigfish, weakfish and a handful of sea mullet. Those fishing with live minnows or bucktails beside the port wall tricked some flounder to bite, including a couple of nice sized fish. Sheepshead made a good showing, too. Some anglers managed to catch their limits around the port wall and area bridges.

Piers/Shore: Spanish mackerel were the main catch on the piers. Anglers caught most of the fish with plugs, but those who used live bait got the biggest fish. Bluefish were mixed in with the Spanis, but not the big chopper blues seen in previous weeks. Bottom fishermen caught a few croaker, sea mullet, pufferfish and pinfish.


Southern District Fishing Report

For the week of May 15-21


Ocean: Offshore fishing was fantastic! Anglers caught plenty of gaffer dolphin, and there were a lot of blue marlin releases. Anglers targeting bottom fish also had an awesome week. Some boats brought back bag limits of scamp grouper and a wide range of reef fish such as vermilion snapper, white grunt and amberjack. Those fishing 10 to 20 miles from shore found lots of king mackerel, amberjacks, gag grouper and some black seabass. Nearshore anglers caught a few cobia with some really good catches of Spanish mackerel.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Flounder fishing started to pick up and most of the catches were keepers. Catches were best in the lower Cape Fear River from Southport to Snows Cut. The marshes and creeks in lower Brunswick County between Ocean Isle and the South Carolina line also yielded good catches of flounder.  Red and black drum were caught using live and dead shrimp for bait in area creeks and marshes near oyster beds and in deeper holes. Spotted seatrout fishing behind Bald Head Island was good.

Piers/Shore: Pier fishermen saw good catches of Spanish Mackerel along with a few king mackerel and cobia. Brunswick County piers started seeing spotted seatrout in the early morning hours. The were biting on live shrimp. Black and red drum along with a few keeper-size flounder were caught by those fishing live bait on Carolina rigs. Anglers targeting bottom fish using shrimp and blood worms caught a few sea mullet, puffer and pompano. Fisherman also caught a wide range of fish in the surf, including black and red drum, sea mullet, bluefish, flounder and some big sharks.

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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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