North Carolina Saltwater Fishing Report – 8/3/2008

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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 activity was slow with only a modest increase in catch rates.  Dolphin made up the bulk of the catches with a few wahoo and king mackerel mixed in. Tuna were scarce, with only a few being caught this week.  Billfish anglers had moderate-good success on all species.  Midrange success improved somewhat with catches of triggerfish, black seabass, blueline tilefish, and both vermilion and red snappers being caught in the 8-10 mile offshore range.  King mackerel and striped bass were caught with increased regularity in the 5-6 mile range.  Inshore anglers caught some very nice flounder in the 0-2 mile range with most specimens being in the very near shore surf zone.  Sand fleas (mole crabs) were the bait that worked best.  Bluefish and Spanish mackerel were caught in this same region in short term/high volume blitzes.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Flounder catches were good throughout the area.  Shallow areas near the various islands at Oregon Inlet produced the bulk of them with a few citation-size ones being recorded this week.  Spotted seatrout and weakfish catches were very much improved. Most of them were caught in the Roanoke Sound underneath the Washington Baum Bridge opposite Pirates Cove Marina.  Croakers, kingfish, spot, pinfish, and others were also caught. 

Piers/Shore: Flounder in the near shore surf zone continued to be the primary target of these anglers with similar results to the inshore boaters.  Spanish mackerel and bluefish catches were good as well.  Unlike boaters, pier and shore anglers did not have to wait for calm seas to access them and catches were very good on a daily basis regardless of surf conditions.  Cobia catches from piers lessened somewhat, but a few nice specimens were caught at night.  Bell Island Pier, just west of Swanquarter, produced some very nice spotted seatrout and a few flounder. 

General Overview: Fishing success rates improved across the board with the exception of offshore ocean fishing.  Water temp in the surf (Kill Devil HIlls) the day of this report was 76 degrees with favorable conditions expected for the coming week.
 
Central District  Pamlico, Craven, Carteret, & Onslow Counties

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:  Anglers caught wahoo at the # 14 Buoy. Billfish and a few dolphin were caught offshore. The charterboat fishing was rather slow. Gags were caught at the 240 Rock.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: There were plenty of flounder at Drum Inlet  and there were also some nice black drum. At the Cee Bee Marina nice flounder, spotted seatrout and black drum were measured.  Sheepshead are still around all bridges in the county. Two anglers in Carteret county caught 12, four of which weighed five pounds or so. Spanish mackerel were caught around Beaufort and Bogue inlets and off the beaches. Bluefish are swimming with the Spanish. Redfish are still in the Newport River.

Piers/Shore:  Anglers reeled in a mixed bag of small bluefish, kingfish and Spanish.

Southern District  Pender, New Hanover, & Brunswick Counties

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: Very few reports from boats fishing offshore. Bottom fishing in the 35 to 55-mile range should be producing some grouper, mostly reds along with some scamps and gags. Closer to shore, there are some kings biting, nothing great but there are some fish around. Places that have been producing some fish are the shark hole and jungle down south, and the 23-mile rock area. There were a good many sailfish caught last week, with some fish coming as close as a couple miles off the beach. There are good numbers of tarpon being reported on the south end of Topsail Island. Near/shore reefs have been producing some decent flounder catches of late. John’s Creek has been a good spot to try.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Inshore, fishing has remained fairly good. Flounder are being caught in the river in decent numbers along some nice trout. Most trout are coming out of the southern part of the river. Sheepshead and black drum are biting well at places such as the ADM dock and Snow’s cut.

Piers/Shore: Fishing is somewhat slow. There are some keeper flounder being caught along with some sea mullets, pompano, and bluefish. Topsail Island piers saw a good many tarpon last week.