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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

Contact: Brian Melott (Brian.Melott@ncdenr.gov)

For the week of July 8-14

Ocean: Offshore success out of Hatteras made a rebound after a previously slow week. Limits of dolphin were a daily event complimented by moderate amounts of wahoo, blackfin tuna, king mackerel and barracuda. Billfish catches made a modest improvement in frequency. Near shore action remained slow with the exception of a few Spanish mackerel. Gulfstream access via Oregon Inlet was very productive with limits of yellowfin tuna on most outings. Very large bigeye tuna continued to make their presence known, along with moderate amounts of dolphin and a few scattered wahoo and assorted billfish. Near shore anglers caught high numbers of both bluefish and Spanish mackerel on a daily basis, along with improved flounder catches, little tunny and assorted other species.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Fishing waters from Hatteras northward to Oregon Inlet was fair to good on most days. Spanish mackerel and bluefish remained the most prevalent species, but the big news was much improved flounder catches with most being legal keepers. Spotted seatrout catches were inconsistent with some days yielding limits and other days none at all. Oregon Inlet and northward was good for anglers targeting spotted seatrout with much more consistent catches than their Hatteras counterparts. Flounder catches improved with plenty of legal-sized fish caught. Red drum and kingfish (sea mullet) were caught in moderation, along with a mixed bag of other species in low amounts.

Piers/Shore: South beach anglers caught Spanish mackerel, along with a few pompano and sea mullet. North beach anglers had a bit more regularity with bluefish blitzes happening on a semi-regular basis. Keeper-sized flounder were caught from piers and beaches in the very near surf zone, along with moderate amounts of kingfish, pompano and spot.


Central District Fishing Report

Contact: Jesse Bissette (Jesse.Bissette@ncdenr.gov)

For the week of July 8-14

Ocean: Decent numbers of dolphin and a handful of wahoo made up the bulk of the catch for boats trolling offshore. Most of the dolphin were on the smaller side, but there were a few nice gaffers mixed in. Some blackfin tuna were brought back to the dock, as well. Offshore bottom fishermen had success with amberjack, grouper and triggerfish, along with good numbers of vermilion snapper and black sea bass. King mackerel and large Spanish mackerel provided plenty of action for fishermen drifting live bait over the nearshore artificial reefs. Trolling for Spanish mackerel along the beaches seemed to slow down, but most boats that put the time in were able to bring at least couple home for dinner.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Back in the marshes, red drum and spotted seatrout made a good showing. The Haystacks and Core Creek produced good numbers of fish, although they seemed to be scattered all throughout the area marshes. Live bait was the most consistent, but topwater lures early in the morning did catch fish. Flounder were caught by anglers fishing the docks along the Intracoastal Waterway and around the Coast Guard Station at Fort Macon. Most of them were undersized, but there were a few solid keepers caught, as well. The area bridges and the N.C. State Port wall gave up good numbers of sheepshead and black drum to fishermen using fiddler crabs and sea urchins. Bottom fishermen in the turning basin saw scattered catches of pigfish, Atlantic croaker, weakfish and sea mullet.

Piers/Surf: Catches of Spanish mackerel and bluefish on the area piers dropped, although early in the morning anglers throwing plugs were able to land a few. Live bait caught a handful of Spanish throughout the day. Bottom fishermen reported a typical summertime mixed bag of Atlantic croaker, pigfish, spot and sea mullet. A handful of flounder and red drum were landed in the surf at Fort Macon State Park by anglers using live finger mullet, while those fishing with shrimp landed a few pompano.


Southern District Fishing Report

Contact: Dennis Trowell (Dennis.Trowell@ncdenr.gov)

For the week of July 8-14

Ocean: Offshore, the bottom fishing has been outstanding so far this year. Anglers brought in red snapper, red, gag and scamp groupers, along with limits of vermilion snapper and a wide range of other reef fish. Closer to shore, good numbers of king mackerel were caught in the 8- to 10-mile range, along with some amberjacks and cobia. Nearshore reefs produced good numbers of flounder and some nice catches of large spadefish.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Inshore fishing has been pretty much normal for this time of year. Anglers caught red and black drum, along with some flounder, spotted seatrout and sheepshead. The Cape Fear River from downtown Wilmington to Southport produced the best flounder catches. Spotted seatrout were caught in decent numbers in the marshes and creeks in lower Brunswick County. Sheepshead and black drum were caught around the rock wall at Fort Fisher and the ADM dock in the lower Cape Fear River. Good numbers of tarpon, along with lots of sharks were reported off the tip of Bald Head Island.

Piers/Shore: Typical summertime catches with anglers catching low amounts of sea mullets, spot, and croakers on bottom rigs. Good numbers of Spanish mackerel were caught by anglers plugging off area piers. Fishermen using live bait, such as shrimp and finger mullet, caught some keeper flounder, along with some slot sized drum. Several king mackerel were decked last week off the ends of the piers, along with some tarpon releases. Anglers fishing from the surf caught some slot sized drum and sea mullet.

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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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