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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

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

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:

For the week of Sept. 15-21

Ocean: Offshore fishing was very limited due to weather. Boats that did get out found some very nice catches of wahoo and blackfin tuna. Anglers targeting bottom fish caught gag and scamp groupers, along with a wide range of other reef fish. Near-shore reefs produced good catches of flounder, gray trout, Spanish mackerel and some large red drum. Topsail Beach and Carolina Beach inlets were good spots for good king mackerel catches.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Anglers caught a wide variety of fish, such as red and black drum, sheepshead, spotted sea trout and flounder. The hot spots of late continued to be down south around the Ocean Isle and Sunset Beach area, as well as at the Little River rock jetty and in the lower Cape Fear River.

Piers /Shore: Fishing really picked up on area piers. The gusty northerly winds had schools of mullets of all sizes moving down the beaches, which brought in good numbers of Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Fishermen also racked up the king mackerel catches from the ends of the piers in Onslow, Pender, and New Hanover counties. Bottom-fishing anglers started to catch spots –Topsail Island piers got a decent run of fish over the weekend. Surf casters caught lots of bluefish, along with sea mullet, pompano and drum, when weather conditions allowed.


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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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