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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.

View more pages on your mobile device here.


Northern District

For the week of May July 21-27

Ocean: Offshore anglers experienced a good 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, weighing up to 40 pounds, in the mix. The yellowfin tuna bite was fair out of Oregon Inlet. Anglers landed quite a few large yellowfins in the 40- to 70-pound range. Anglers also landed blackfin tuna and wahoo. Billfish action was good. Anglers landed blue and white marlin on a daily basis. Anglers released as many as eight white marlin in a day. 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 remained good. With favorable water conditions, anglers landed good numbers of flounder, and a lot of fish were legal size. Live bait fished on a Carolina rig produced the best catches. Anglers concentrating their efforts around high tide landed the bulk of the fish. Red drum were still being caught around the inlets. Artificial jigs and cut bait produced the best catches. Bottom fishing produced catches of sea mullet and spot. Anglers fishing at Oregon Inlet Bridge landing sheepshead and black drum. Speckled trout were caught throughout local sound waters. Swan Quarter area anglers landed a few flounder and red drum.

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 for catching Spanish mackerel. Gotcha plugs and sting silvers were the go to lures for bluefish and Spanish mackerel. A few king mackerel and cobia were landed by anglers fishing with live bait off the ends of the piers. Anglers fishing on the bottom were rewarded with good catches of sea mullet and spot. A handful of triggerfish and sheepshead were landed, as well. Surf casters caught good numbers of sea mullet and pompano. Lots of citation-size fish were weighed in. Rodanthe to Hatteras area produced the best catches. Sand fleas were the bait of choice for the larger fish.


Central District

For the week of July 21-27

Ocean: Offshore anglers landed decent numbers of billfish in the Duck’s Unlimited Tournament. Dolphin catches were the primary target of those trolling offshore. Bottom-fishing anglers reported catches were similar to past weeks. The red snapper opening offered access to this species and quite a few were landed. Other bottom-fish catches consisted of red and gag grouper, triggerfish, vermillion snapper, black sea bass, amberjack and white grunt. Closer to shore, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and little tunny were landed from around the Cape, Beaufort Inlet and out toward Artificial Reef 315. Fishermen caught flounder at the near-shore reefs using live mudminnows and bucktails for bait.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: The flounder bite was decent around the N.C. Port turning basin, including Taylor’s Creek, Bogue Sound, Core Sound and the Newport River. Live mullet and mudminnows were good baits to use to land the flounder, and the area creeks were full of both. Bottom-fishing anglers using cut bait caught spot, croaker, bluefish, pufferfish, stingrays and red drum. Sheepshead were biting on blue crab chucks fished around the piers, bridges and other structure in the sounds and in the turning basin. Red drum anglers started to see over-the-slot drum in the Neuse, as well as slot-size redfish in Bogue and Core sounds.

Piers/Shore: Shore and pier anglers reported catching bluefish, spot, pompano, croaker and sea mullet while bottom fishing with cut bait. Fresh shrimp and blood worms were the go-to bait. Plugging for Spanish mackerel had its good and bad days. You had to be there at the right time. Most anglers reported the best catches during cooler times of the early morning and late afternoon. A few shore anglers also had success with fishing live mullet on a Carolina rig for flounder in the surf.


Southern District

For the week of July 21-27

Ocean: Offshore, anglers brought in a wide assortment of reef fish, such as black sea bass, vermilion and red snapper, gag, red and scamp groupers and some big hogfish. Live bait fishing in the 10- to 20-mile range produced king mackerel, amberjacks, cobia and a few sailfish. Near-Shore reefs produced some really good catches of flounder, along with some large red drum.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Inshore fishing slowed down somewhat due to the heavy rainfall the area experience. The good flounder bite that was happening in the Cape Fear River in prior weeks was non-existent with the unfavorable water conditions. Best catches came between the Sunset Beach area and the state line. Sheepshead and black drum were caught around docks and bridge pilings, with the Little River rock jetty producing some nice catches. Red drum and some spotted seatrout were caught in the lower Cape Fear River and the bays and creeks behind Bald head Island.

Piers/Shore:
Ocean pier fishermen reported catching sea mullets, pompano and some spots on shrimp and blood worms. Red drum, spotted seatrout and some keeper flounder were caught by anglers using live bait, such as finger mullet or shrimp. Black drum and sheepshead were caught by anglers fishing the pilings with barnacles and mole crabs. Some king mackerel were landed, as well, on the Oak Island piers. Surf fishermen caught drum, pompano and some sea mullets using mole crabs and fresh 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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