North Carolina Regional Saltwater Fishing Reports – 5/25/2008

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Northern District  Dare, Hyde, Currituck, & Beaufort Counties

For the 2008 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.

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. Tagged Red Drum: Download PDF with reward details.
 
Ocean: Offshore anglers are pleased with much-improved catches of dolphin – specimens of 40lbs were not uncommon.  A few wahoo, little tunny, Atlantic bonito, assorted sharks, and both yellow and blackfin tuna were also caught.  Billfish catches increased slightly.  Midrange anglers are still catching some very nice specimens of striped bass and red drum about 1.5-2 miles offshore in a very concentrated area from Duck southward to the Oregon Inlet area.  Anglers that encountered these fish were almost guaranteed a good catch of both, regardless of bait or tackle.  Inshore success rates remain constant with spotted seatrout and bluefish making up the bulk of the catches.  Anglers that were able to access the near shore surf zone when seas were calm caught limits of both, along with moderate amounts of kingfish and spot mixed in.  

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Spotted seatrout and red drum have been the primary target of most anglers in these waters, with the bulk of both species being caught off of the Melvin Daniels Bridge and underneath the Washington Baum Bridge opposite of Pirates Cove Marina.  Catches of striped bass have made a modest improvement throughout the area with Manns Harbor yielding the bulk of them.  Black drum, croaker, spot, and kingfish were caught everywhere.  Sheepshead and triggerfish catches near the bridge pilings at Oregon Inlet have been very good, especially at night. 

Piers/Shore: Anglers have been catching plenty of 2 to 3-lb. bluefish with very little effort most of the time.  Limits were caught very quickly due to short term, high volume catches.  Spotted seatrout took more patience and persistence to catch, but when they were biting all anglers with a line in the water caught at least a few, with most of them being of legal keeping size.  Dawn & dusk yielded most of the catches but nice specimens were had throughout the day.  A few others were caught,  including silver perch, spot, kingfish, puffers, skates, cownose rays, burrfish, and assorted sharks. Cobia have been caught with increased regularity off of all the local piers. 

General Overview: Water temps in the surf are finally on an upward trend with lower-mid 60s throughout the northern district area.  Favorable weather conditions have allowed anglers to access most sites on a regular basis with moderate-good success rates in all modes of fishing.   Weather conditions are predicted favorable for the coming week. 
 
Central District  Pamlico, Craven, Carteret, & Onslow Counties

For the 2008 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.

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.

Tagged Red Drum: Download PDF with reward details.
 
Ocean:  Fishing has finally taken off.  Dolphin were found at the 90’ Drop which also happens to be the best place for king fishing. Blue marlin are thick.  Big 10, Little 10 also has dolphin and kings as does Northwest places. Charter boats are bringing in nice catches of dolphin and wahoo – they range from peanuts to bulls. The smaller guide boats are catching cobia and Atlantic bonito. Spanish are in 30’ of water off the beach and anglers are catching them from the Cape Lookout area to Topsail Beach. Most are still pretty skinny. Bluefish  can still be found around the Cape Lookout Shoals in early morning. Headboats are doing great with snapper and grouper. A 23-pound red grouper was boated Sunday and lots of vermillion snapper in the 2 to 2.5-pound range.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Fishing is slower. We are still seeing nice red drum coming from the creeks and marshes of Swansboro. There are a few weakfish and spotted seatrout caught at the mouths of creeks..

Piers/Shore:  Nice sea mullet can still be found on piers and along beaches. We are also seeing fair-sized croaker, spot and pigfish. Spanish and bluefish can be hooked early morning from the ends of the piers. Black drum and sheepshead are small, but anglers are keeping just about everything they hook except skates and rays.  Small shark are everywhere.

Southern District  Pender, New Hanover, & Brunswick Counties

For the 2008 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.

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.

Tagged Red Drum: Download PDF with reward details.
 
Ocean: Offshore, fishing has been world class of late, with lots of big dolphin and a very good number of wahoo. This fishing should last a couple more weeks or so. Boats fishing a little deeper report a good week for marlin. Closer to shore the red grouper are biting well in the 35 to 50-mile range along with some gags and scamps. King mackerel fishing remains good on most ledges in the 10 to 20-mile range that is holding bait. Most fish are on the small side with some bigger fish mixed in. Along the area beaches, Spanish mackerel have been biting well. Didn’t really hear of any cobias being reported last week, but there should be some around.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Fishing was fair last week. There are some nice flounder starting to show up. Lockwood Folly Inlet and the Cape Fear River have been producing some fish of late. The trout bite is good right now, with the Little River rock jetties producing the best right now. The bays and creeks around Bald Head are producing some nice fish as well. Drum are also being reported in good numbers at both locations

Piers/Shore: Fishing has been good. Brunswick County piers are starting to really get into the trout. Live shrimp in the early morning hours are pretty much a sure thing right now. Other area piers are reporting Spanish, blues of all sizes, sea mullets and some very nice pompanos. Surf fisherman are catching blues, sea mullets, pompano, and some black drum.