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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

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 May 16-22

Ocean: Fishing success was moderate in most cases. Offshore trips out of Hatteras and Ocracoke offered plenty of citation-size "gaffer" dolphin and blackfin tuna. There were also a few wahoo, amberjack, cobia and Atlantic bonito. The billfish bite out of Hatteras was excellent. Anglers caught and released good numbers of sailfish, as well as a few white and blue marlin. Nearshore action was very good with anglers catching red drum of all sizes. Anglers caught bluefish and Spanish mackerel in good amounts, too, along with a few weakfish and Atlantic bonito. Fishing out of Oregon Inlet resulted in lots of large dolphin hitting the docks. Yellowfin tuna catches increased – many weighing 40 pounds or more – and there were a few scattered blackfin tuna and Atlantic bonito. The billfish catch out of Oregon Inlet also improved. Nearshore anglers had moderate success with spotted seatrout. They also caught undersize striped bass. Flounder fishing improved, and there were a few keepers. Anglers also caught croaker, pigfish and pinfish.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Catches continued slowly improving from previous weeks. Anglers out of Hatteras hooked many bluefish, along with a few weakfish. Anglers fishing out of Oregon Inlet and northward saw improving flounder catches. While they landed only a few, most were keepers. Small black seabass were plentiful along with moderate numbers of croaker, pigfish, and pinfish.

Piers/Shore: Fishing success from piers and the surf was up and down, depending on the weather. Anglers had good days on the southern beaches catching very large pompano and puffers along with a few over-the-slot limit red drum and dogfish. On the northern beach, catches consisted primarily of bluefish and Spanish mackerel. Also, decent numbers of very large kingfish (sea mullet) were caught.


Central District Fishing Report

For the week of May 16-22

Offshore: The offshore fleet had solid catches of gaffer dolphin, along with some wahoo. A good number of boats landed billfish, as well. Anglers fishing the bottom caught black sea bass, amberjack, vermilion snapper, triggerfish and grouper. The cobia bite exploded along Bogue Banks; those soaking bait and those casting artificial bait saw good action. Trolling the beaches produced Spanish mackerel and bluefish in abundance. Flounder fishing was good at the nearshore artificial reefs; anglers throwing bucktails had the most success, but live minnows produced fish, also.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Weakfish were caught in good numbers in Beaufort Inlet. The area around the Atlantic Beach Bridge held fish, as well. Anglers fishing the bottom in the State Port turning basin landed pigfish, croaker and a handful of sea mullet. Fishermen caught a few flounder along the port wall and in Beaufort Inlet. Anglers fishing the marshes saw action from red drum, black drum and a small number of spotted seatrout. Fishermen caught a decent number of sheepshead fishing around structures and using fiddler crabs as bait.

Piers/Surf: Anglers caught bluefish and Spanish mackerel by throwing plugs, and a few of the Spanish were real nice fish. Those fishing the bottom caught pigfish, pompano, sea mullet, silver perch and black drum. Fishermen reeled in a few spot, as well. Those targeting flounder managed to land a few in the surf using live mudminnows for bait.


Southern District Fishing Report

For the week of May 16-22

Ocean: Offshore fishing was very limited due to windy and stormy conditions. A few boats made it out early in the week and had huge catches of gaffer dolphin, wahoo, blackfin tuna and some billfish releases. As weather improves and boats can get offshore, fishermen should expect to find scamp and red groupers in the 35- to 45-mile range, along with an assortment of reef fish, including vermilion snapper, gray triggerfish and black sea bass. Anglers also have been reporting good numbers of red snapper this spring; however, the season is closed. Nearshore fishing has been fantastic when the weather permits. There have been very good catches of king and Spanish mackerel, along with some cobia, along the beaches out to the 10-mile range.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Anglers brought back decent catches of spotted seatrout, flounder, black and red drum and some sheepshead. The best fishing spots have not changed much. Anglers caught good numbers of all the above fish at the Little River Rock Jetty. The ADM Dock in the lower Cape Fear River, the bays and creeks behind Bald Head Island and Carolina Beach Inlet produced some nice spotted seatrout in the early morning hours.

Piers/Shore: Rough surf conditions muddied the water along area beaches, impacting catches, but pier anglers have had a great spring with catches of Spanish mackerel, bluefish and king mackerel. Bottom fishing has been a bit slow, but anglers have reeled in low numbers of spot, croaker and sea mullets. On the other hand, there have been good numbers of both red and black drum caught from both the piers and the surf. Anglers on Brunswick County piers have caught good numbers of trout when weather conditions allowed. Fishing was best in the early morning hours using live shrimp 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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