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 Aug. 17 - 23
Ocean: Dolphin continued to dominate the offshore catch, but there was an increase in yellowfin tuna and wahoo hitting the docks. Billfish releases increased in frequency, as well. They were mostly white marlin, but some blue marlin and sailfish were released, too. Midrange catches were good and offered amberjack, cobia and king mackerel for those returning to port from unsuccessful Gulf Stream trips. Artificial reef catches consistently producing spadefish, tautog, sheepshead and triggerfish.
Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Fishing improved compared to the previous week’s dismal catches. Fishermen caught their bag limits of Spanish mackerel and moderate amounts of bluefish just inside the Oregon Inlet Bridge. Anglers caught these fish at mid-depth as opposed to the usual surface feeding. Early risers fishing underneath of the Washington Baum Bridge in the Roanoke Sound were almost guaranteed to catch spotted seatrout. Nearly all of the catches were in the morning, though. Fishing dropped off as it got later. Anglers caught striped bass at Mann’s Harbor and Mashoes with increased regularity, but most of the fish were small.
Piers/Shore: Fishermen caught Spanish mackerel and bluefish in high volumes if they were fortunate enough to be there when the fish were blitzing. Like those at Oregon Inlet, these fish were caught at mid-depth. Kingfish (sea mullet) and pompano continued to be the most consistent shore catch, and sand fleas were the bait of choice. Red drum and citation-size pompano were caught off of the beach from Buxton southward on a regular basis. A few cobia and king mackerel were caught from piers. Most of the catches occurred at night and in the early morning. Other fish caught in this area included puffers, pigfish, spot, croaker, pinfish, black drum, cutlassfish, silver perch, banded rudderfish, weakfish, spotted seatrout, lizardfish, sheepshead, spiny and smooth dogfish, skates and rays.
Central District Fishing Report
For the week of Aug. 17 - 23
Ocean: Offshore anglers continued to have good catches of wahoo, with numerous citation sized fish being caught. Dolphin fishing slowed considerably, but anglers were still able to pick up a few bailers. The king mackerel bite was scattered. Anglers reported catching them from around Cape Lookout and the shipping channel. Spanish mackerel have been abundant along the coast. Bottom anglers reported a mixed bag of gag grouper, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, white grunt, triggerfish, and spottail pinfish. Flounder fishermen had good luck on the near-shore reefs using both live bait and jigs.
Inlets/Sounds/Bays: The large red drum bite was on fire in the Neuse River, with some boats reporting double digit numbers of fish. Cut menhaden and mullet fished on the bottom along a sharp drop-off produced the most action, but a few fish were caught on popping corks fished around bait balls, as well. Bottom anglers fishing the N. C. State Port turning basin reported catching good numbers of weakfish and bluefish, along with a scattering of sea mullet, croaker and pinfish. Flounder fishermen had decent luck fishing along the N.C. State Port wall and in area creeks. Live mullet or mud minnows were the go-to flounder bait, but some anglers had success throwing soft plastics.
Piers/Shore: Spanish mackerel fishing on area piers was strong and should only get better in the coming weeks. Those using live bait caught the largest fish, but anglers casting plugs weren’t left out of the fun. Early morning was the most productive time. Anglers targeting flounder reported good numbers, but most fish landed were undersized. Bottom anglers had solid catches of pompano, sea mullet and bluefish, as well as some black drum and sheepshead.
Southern District Fishing Report
For the week of Aug. 17 - 23
Ocean: Offshore boats making the long run did well on wahoo. Most boats caught around 5- to 10-fish per trip with fish running in the 35- to 45-pound range. Bottom fishing remained productive with boats catching limits of black sea bass and vermilion snapper, along with a wide assortment of reef fish such as triggerfish, hogfish, grunts, porgies, groupers, gags, scamps and red groupers. Anglers fishing in the 10- to 15-mile range saw an improvement in king mackerel fishing with boats catching fish in the 15- to 20-pound range. Near-shore reefs produced flounder and some gray trout.
Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Inshore fishing improved. Anglers targeting flounder had some luck fishing in the Cape Fear River from Wilmington to Southport. Sheepshead and black drum were caught by anglers around docks, bridges and rock jetties using fiddler crabs for bait. Tarpon fishing on the shoals just off of Bald Head Island produced a few fish, along with lots of blacktip and spinner sharks.
Pier/Shore: Overall, fishing has been a little slow. Anglers had the best luck fishing in the early morning hours on area piers and beaches. Pier fishermen using live shrimp and minnows caught red and black drum, flounder and trout. The northeast wind that blew last week got the mullet minnows moving along the area beaches and anglers had good catches of nice Spanish mackerel, along with some bluefish. Surf fishermen caught a few pompano, sea mullets and some red and black drum using mole crabs for bait.
|N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632