North Carolina Saltwater Fishing Report – 7/20/2008

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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: Catches slowed this week, with offshore anglers catching small amounts of dolphin, wahoo and various tunas.  Billfish catches have been the exception, with sailfish, blue and white marlin being caught most of the time by anglers targeting them.  Midrange catches have been light, with only a few triggerfish, black seabass, and an occasional striped bass being caught   King mackerel and a few cobia continue to be caught about 8 to10-miles offshore.  Inshore anglers had the best success rates in the ocean with some very nice flounder being caught in the 0 to 2-mile range. Most were legal keeping size and a few were in the 4 lb range.  Bluefish and Spanish mackerel were also caught in this same range, but were tough to access in the near shore surf zone due to rough seas.  Atlantic sharpnose sharks, assorted skates and rays, and kingfish were also caught.  

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Flounder catch rates were the best news for anglers in these waters, with success rates similar to those fishing the inshore ocean range.  Weakfish and spotted seatrout were caught by early morning anglers at Oregon Inlet’s Green Island Slough.  Plenty of large croaker were caught throughout the area with kingfish and  spot mixed in. 

Piers/Shore: Flounder catches improved for these anglers also with results similar to those listed above.  Spanish mackerel were caught in the very near-shore surf zone by anglers working the surface with assorted spoons and lures.  Bluefish, kingfish, croaker, spot, weakfish, skates, sharks, and a host of others were also caught.  Red drum catches from Avon southward have improved on a steady basis.  Cobia catches from piers were moderate to good most of the time, especially at night.

General Overview: Tropical storm Cristobal will keep waters stirred up in the early part of the week but will depart quickly and should have a positive effect on fishing. 
Central District  Pamlico, Craven, Carteret, & Onslow Counties

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:  King mackerel were caught around  the 14 buoy, the sea buoys and Atlas tanker. Nice wahoo were caught at the Atlas tanker. Dolphin were the main catch on the charterboats. Anglers caught Spanish mackerel around both Beaufort and Bogue Inlets  and down the beaches in 10 feet of water. They also caught them around the Cape.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Reports from New River showed very good catches of spotted seatrout. Sheepshead were around all the bridge pilings in the county, and anglers did great catching them.  Several 6-pound flounder were hooked in the turning basin at the port. Anglers were using mullet minnows.

Piers/Shore:  The pier beside the Morehead-Beaufort high-rise bridge surprised and pleased anglers who landed some very nice sea mullet. Fishermen were catching more than four per person and they were all 12 inches or longer. Those fishing from shore were also hooking kingfish.

Southern District  Pender, New Hanover, & Brunswick Counties

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: Typical summer time fishing. Bottom fishing in the 30 to 55-mile range has been producing lots of red groupers along with some gags, and scamps. King mackerel fishing has been a little slow over the last couple of weeks. The shark hole has been the most consistent place to fish of late. Sailfish have moved close to the beach and boats targeting king mackerel typically catch them this time of year. Flounder fishing on the near/shore reefs has been good. The reefs off Brunswick County are a good place to fish this time of year, with anglers often landing large red drum and spadefish.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Fishing has been good. The trout are biting well around the Southport/Oak Island area. There are also a decent numbers of flounder being landed, with some up to 8 pounds. Sheepshead and black drum are biting well. The rock jetties at Little River and Masonboro Inlet are good places to try as well as the ADM dock and Snow’s Cut. I haven’t heard anybody fishing for them, but tarpon fishing on the shoals is another option this time of year.

Piers/Shore: Fishing was a little slow. The tropical system that passed through the area slowed fishing. Area piers are seeing pompano, sea mullet, bluefish, and some flounder. Shore anglers using sand fleas are catching some nice pompano.