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 July 20-26
Ocean: Offshore fishermen caught their limits of bailer dolphin with a few gaffers mixed in the bunch. Wahoo and king mackerel hit the docks with increased regularity, along with a full spectrum of tunas, including blackfin, yellowfin, bigeye, skipjack, little tunny and Atlantic bonito. A few billfish were caught and released, as well. Midrange anglers were still targeting cobia and having moderate success. Hatteras anglers caught the bulk of them. Fishermen caught greater amberjack on a regular basis around 3 miles offshore. A few triggerfish were mixed in.
Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Fishing in these waters was inconsistent, and anglers had low to moderate success on most outings. Those who targeted Spanish mackerel and bluefish were the exception. Almost all the catches came from trolling metal spoons on the surface. A few flounder were caught in the shallow areas near land masses, and the keeper ratios were favorable in most of the catches. Oregon Inlet Bridge pilings still offer a black drum, spadefish, sheepshead, needlefish and a few other species in small numbers.
Piers/Shore: Anglers caught some of the largest kingfish (sea mullet) seen in many years. Almost everyone targeting them caught a citation-size fish. Molecrabs (sand fleas) were the bait of choice, and most were caught in the near-shore surf zone. Cobia and king mackerel catches off piers made a notable increase in regularity, and some large fish were reported. A host of other fish were caught, including pompano, black drum, red drum, croaker, spot, pinfish, pinfish, spotted seatrout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, Atlantic cuttlassfish, smooth and spiny dogfish and skates and rays.
Central District Fishing Report
For the week of 20-26
Ocean: Offshore anglers had a decent catch of dolphin, wahoo, barracuda, amberjack and yellowfin tuna. The yellowfin tuna were spread out, but a few boats managed to catchh upwards of 50 pounds. Bottom fishing anglers caught large vermilion snapper, black sea bass, gray triggerfish, whitebone porgy, scup, amberjack, gag grouper, scamp and sand tilefish. Near-shore fishing really started to heat up with king mackerel working throughout the shipping channel and out on the east side of Cape Lookout shoals. Large Spanish were also reported in the 5- to 10-pound range, mixed with some large schools of bluefish. Flounder fishermen saw great catches along the near-shore reefs using live mudminnows and bucktails for bait.
Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Red drum catches really picked up. Anglers reported catches from Stones Bay, on the New River, up to Oriental on the Neuse River. Some anglers started fishing for the big fall drum, but there weren’t been many of the monster fish yet. Flounder fishing was really good on the back side of Shackleford Banks, in Taylor's Creek and in the N.C. Port turning basin. Live mullet or mudminnows fished near structure produced the most fish. Shark anglers were still reporting great catches around Beaufort Inlet and Carrot Island. Sheepshead fishing was shaping up to be a banner year, with large fish continuing to come from the port wall and the Morehead City to Radio Island bridge.
Piers/Shore: Anglers plugging for Spanish mackerel reported a busy week, with a majority of catches coming in the evening hours. Fish were caught at any time, however; and plenty of 4 pound and larger fish were caught midday on plugs. Bluefish, pinfish, northern puffer, pigfish, flounder, pompano and sea mullet were in the mix as well.
Southern District Fishing Report
For the week of July 20-26
Ocean: Offshore anglers brought in good catches of reef fish consisting of vermilion snapper, triggerfish, black sea bass, hogfish and some groupers. Anglers fishing 10 to 20 miles from shore caught good numbers of king mackerel and plenty of dolphin and amberjacks. Near-shore reefs yielded very good catches of flounder.
Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Inshore fishing has been somewhat slow. Anglers have had their best luck fishing for sheepshead and flounder. Local hot spots, such as the ADM dock, the rock wall at Fort Fisher and the Little River rock jetty are yielding nice catches of sheepshead for anglers using fiddler crabs and sea urchins for bait. The best fishing for flounder has been in lower Brunswick County around the Ocean Isle/Sunset Beach area.
Piers/Shore: Anglers fishing the bottom at the local piers saw typical summertime catches of spots, croaker, sea mullets and pompano biting on blood worms or fresh shrimp. Those targeting flounders with live bait caught a few legal flounder and some drum. Fishermen using plugs caught Spanish mackerel and bluefish in the early morning hours. Surf fishermen caught much the same. Pompano, sea mullets and black and red drum were caught 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