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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - Southern District

Marine Fisheries

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Southern District —
Pender, New Hanover and Brunswick Counties

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

For the fishing year, all owners/operators of vessels recreationally fishing for and/or retaining regulated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) (Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish) in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, must obtain an Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Angling permit. This permit has replaced the Atlantic tunas Angling category permit. In North Carolina, additional HMS harvest reporting requirements are also in place. To obtain a permit, go to: http://www.hmspermits.gov.

Report a tagged fish

Please Note: Anglers sometimes confuse small king mackerel with Spanish mackerel. King mackerel and spanish mackerel have different size and catch limits. Make SURE you properly identify the mackerel you are catching. (Tips here)

A recreational Recreational Fishing License went into effect Jan. 1, 2007 for all of the state's coastal and ocean waters.

Click here for the latest seasons, size and bag limits.

Please note: New reports are usually posted by early Monday afternoon.


Southern District Fishing Report:

For the week of May 16-22

Ocean: Offshore fishing was very limited due to windy and stormy conditions. A few boats made it out early in the week and had huge catches of gaffer dolphin, wahoo, blackfin tuna and some billfish releases. As weather improves and boats can get offshore, fishermen should expect to find scamp and red groupers in the 35- to 45-mile range, along with an assortment of reef fish, including vermilion snapper, gray triggerfish and black sea bass. Anglers also have been reporting good numbers of red snapper this spring; however, the season is closed. Nearshore fishing has been fantastic when the weather permits. There have been very good catches of king and Spanish mackerel, along with some cobia, along the beaches out to the 10-mile range.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Anglers brought back decent catches of spotted seatrout, flounder, black and red drum and some sheepshead. The best fishing spots have not changed much. Anglers caught good numbers of all the above fish at the Little River Rock Jetty. The ADM Dock in the lower Cape Fear River, the bays and creeks behind Bald Head Island and Carolina Beach Inlet produced some nice spotted seatrout in the early morning hours.

Piers/Shore: Rough surf conditions muddied the water along area beaches, impacting catches, but pier anglers have had a great spring with catches of Spanish mackerel, bluefish and king mackerel. Bottom fishing has been a bit slow, but anglers have reeled in low numbers of spot, croaker and sea mullets. On the other hand, there have been good numbers of both red and black drum caught from both the piers and the surf. Anglers on Brunswick County piers have caught good numbers of trout when weather conditions allowed. Fishing was best in the early morning hours using live shrimp for bait.


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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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