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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 June 20-26

Ocean: Hatteras anglers had a tough time offshore with scattered catches of dolphin, blackfin tuna and wahoo observed on most days. Sailfish releases were a bright spot. Nearshore anglers had much better luck with moderate to good catches of Spanish mackerel, along with limits of red drum on most outings. Kingfish, spotted seatrout and cobia were also caught. Offshore fishing out of Oregon Inlet was very good with plenty of citation sized bigeye tuna in the 100-160-pound range. Good numbers of very large yellowfin tuna and dolphin hit the docks, along with a few scattered blackfin tuna, wahoo and sailfish releases. Nearshore catches were dominated by amberjack and bluefish for the most part with a few cobia, red drum and flounder reported, as well.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Decent numbers of red drum, spotted seatrout, kingfish and spot were caught on a daily basis. Northern region catches were more diverse with bluefish and kingfish being most common. Flounder fishing made a noted improvement with some nice keeper fish caught in the shallow water near barrier islands and the shoreline around the Bodie Island lighthouse area. Black seabass, croaker, weakfish, puffer, striped bass, pinfish and pigfish were also caught.

Piers/Surf: South beach area fishermen caught plenty of very large kingfish (sea mullet) and citation sized pompano in the surf zone area with sand fleas being the bait of choice. Red drum, including some very large over-slot fish, were taken by beach fishermen, as well. North beach catches were dominated by limits of blitzing bluefish if you were lucky enough to be there for the short term, but intense action. A mixed bag of species were caught in low amounts including Atlantic croaker, Spanish mackerel, kingfish, blue runner, striped burrfish, pigfish, pinfish, dogfish, cutlassfish, skates and stingrays.


Central District Fishing Report

For the week of May June 20-26

Ocean: High winds kept a lot of the boats at the dock last week, but the few days boats managed to get offshore they had decent catches of dolphin and wahoo, although the dolphin were small and pretty scattered. Offshore bottom fishermen had good catches of vermilion snapper, black sea bass and amberjack. Muddy water slowed the Spanish mackerel fishing along the beaches, but people trolling were able to land a handful of them and bluefish. When the seas were calm enough for boats to make it to the nearshore artificial reefs, anglers had good catches of flounder using bucktail jigs.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Flounder fishing started to pick up. Anglers drifting the inlet and fishing along the N.C. State Port wall had the most success. Good numbers of sheepshead were caught by those fishing area structures and fiddler crabs produced the most fish, but sea urchins got the big ones. A decent amount of red drum were caught by those fishing Core Creek and other area marshes. A handful of spotted sea trout were also mixed in. Black drum, croaker, pigfish and pinfish were caught by angler’s bottom fishing in the N.C. State Port turning basin. Speckled trout fishing in western Pamlico Sound, including the Hyde County bays is still a good bet.

Piers/Surf: The pier and surf action wasn't too hot last week, but anglers throwing plugs were able to land a few Spanish mackerel and bluefish early in the mornings. Bottom fishermen had a mixed bag of croaker, pompano, crevalle jack, bluefish, stingrays and sharks. A small number of over slot red drum were caught in the surf.


Southern District Fishing Report

For the week of May June 20-26

Ocean: Offshore high winds and rough sea conditions limited fishing. The winds finally fell out by the weekend and boats were able to make it offshore. Catches included a wide range of species from wahoo, blackfin tuna and dolphin to African pompano, rainbow runners and huge catches of vermilion snapper. Anglers targeting grouper had some luck with some boats catching limits that consisted of rockhinds, graysbys, scamp, yellowmouth, red and gag groupers. Nearshore king mackerel and some cobia were caught from the beaches out to the 10-mile range with most anglers slow trolling live bait such as menhaden or cigar minnows. The dolphin moved inshore with a few fish being caught in the 8- to 10-mile range. Fishermen targeting flounder in the ocean caught some big gulf flounder in the 3- to 5-mile range using bucktail jigs or live bait fished around ledges and artificial reefs. The tarpon have started to show with some fish seen and caught along the Brunswick County beaches.

Inlet/Sounds/Bays:  Inshore fishing has slowed somewhat over the last couple of weeks. Anglers targeting flounder, drum and trout caught some fish. The best locations were the lower Cape Fear River and the Little River Rock Jetty for all three species over the last couple of weeks. Sheepshead fishing has begun to heat up with some big fish starting to show up in anglers’ coolers. Area bridges, rock jetties and channel markers were good places to with most anglers using fiddler and mud crabs for bait.

Piers/Shore: Area piers reported your typical summer time mixed bag of fish with low amounts of spot, croaker and sea mullet being caught by anglers fishing two hook bottom rigs. When the water conditions were favorable, anglers caught some Spanish mackerel and bluefish with the best catches early in the morning hours. Anglers targeting flounder, drum and trout caught some keepers using live shrimp and minnows fished around the pilings on Carolina rigs. Anglers fishing from the surf had limited success due to the high winds and surf. When conditions were right, anglers fishing with mole crabs just behind the breakers caught red and black drum, along with some nice size pompano and sea mullet.


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

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