Recreational Guide May 1 2016 in Word


  1. Albemarle Sound Management Area: contact DMF for seasons, areas or other limits; Atlantic Ocean year-round: 1 per person per day at 28” TL minimum; Other Coastal                                                             Fishing Waters; 2 per person per day at 18” TL minimum except unlawful to possess between 22” – 27” TL in Joint Fishing Waters. This Includes hybrid bass.                                                                     Season: October through April, statewide by Proclamation. Moratorium in Cape Fear River system.
  2.           Limit of 10/person/day or 60/trip, whichever is less. On headboats, limit is 10/person/day. No sale of recreational bag limit on vessels operating as charter or headboats.
  3.           Unlawful to possess red drum greater than 27 inches total length. Unlawful to gig, spear, or gaff red drum.One black drum per person per day over 25” TL is allowed.

(D) Black sea bass NORTH of Cape Hatteras, open in TWO harvest seasons: 12:01 A.M. May 15 through midnight September 21, 2016 AND 12:01 A.M. October 22 through midnight December 31, 2016.

(E) See prohibited species list above; Legal sharks include: tiger, blacktip, spinner, lemon, bull, nurse, smooth and scalloped and great hammerhead, blacknose, finetooth, bonnethead, shortfin mako, blue, thresher, porbeagle, and oceanic whitetip. One (1) Atlantic sharpnose (no minimum size) and one bonnethead (no minimum size) per person per day may be landed in addition to allowable bag limits for other sharks.  Spiny dogfish and smoothhound sharks (smooth dogfish) are exempt from harvest and size restrictions See most recent Proclamation.

(F) Mature female crabs are exempt from minimum size.

(G) In state or federal waters, federal permit required for Highly Migratory Species, excluding Atlantic bonito, little tunny (albacore), and blackfin tuna: 978-281-9370. Prior to removal from vessel, all billfishes, swordfish and bluefin tuna must be reported at NC HMS reporting stations. DMF website for more details.

(H) Snapper grouper complex species: whitebone porgy, jolthead porgy, knobbed porgy,  saucereye porgy, gray triggerfish,  bar jack, almaco jack, lesser amberjack, banded rudderfish, white grunt, margate, sailor’s choice, spadefish and scup (south of Hatteras). 20 per person per day in combination when the species are open to harvest. (see note I below).

(I) For seasons, bag limits, size limits or closures for tunas, billfishes, and sharks contact NMFS Highly Migratory Species Division 800-894-5528. For snapper, grouper, and mackerels contact the South Atlantic Council 843-571-4366 or, and see the most recent FF-Snapper Grouper recreational proclamation. Possession of red snapper is prohibited.

(J) Shallow water grouper species (gag, black, red, scamp, rock hind, red hind, coney, graysby, yellowfin, and yellowmouth grouper) harvest is prohibited January 1–April 30.

(K) Grouper in the management unit include: snowy, red, yellowfin, yellowmouth, black, yellowedge, misty, gag, scamp, red hind, rock hind, graysby, and coney. The three (3) grouper bag limit also includes blueline, golden and sand tilefish. Maximum of one golden tilefish per person per day and maximum of one blueline tilefish and one snowy grouper per vessel per day (when season is open). New regulations establish a May 1 through August 31 season of one snowy grouper and one blueline tilefish per vessel per day. No possession of Nassau, goliath and warsaw groupers and speckled hind.

(L) It is unlawful to possess blacknose, finetooth, blacktip, bull, lemon, nurse, spinner, tiger, blue, oceanic whitetip, porbeagle, shortfin mako and common thresher less than 54 inches (FL). It is unlawful to possess great, scalloped and smooth hammerhead sharks less than 78 inches (FL). It is unlawful to possess a great, scalloped or smooth hammerhead or oceanic whitetip shark while in possession of tunas, billfish or swordfish.

(M) One crab pot may be used from private property or private pier, without a license – Reference 15A NCAC 3J .0302.

(N) Contact DMF or visit for seasons, areas, or other restrictions. Bay Scallop and Oyster harvest are closed.

(O) It is unlawful to take or possess American Shad from the Atlantic Ocean. For aggregate creel limits for American shad and hickory shad, see most recent Proclamation.

(P) Season open July 1 – August 31.

(Q) Season open January 1 – August 31, except year round when taken by baited pots.

(R) Season open January 1 – October 15.

▲ Size and creel limits for spotted seatrout, flounder, red drum and gray trout taken in inland waters are the same as the recreational limits for those species in adjacent joint and coastal waters.

Total length (TL) is measured from tip of snout with mouth closed to top of compressed tail. Fork length (FL) is measured from tip of snout to middle of fork in tail. Lower jaw fork length (LJFL) is measured from lower jaw to middle of fork in tail. Curved fork length (CFL) is the measurement of the length taken in a line tracing the contour of the body from the tip of the upper jaw to the fork of the tail. Anglers cannot catch both a federal and state bag limit for the same species on the same trip.

Ocean boundary is defined as water seaward of the COLREGS Demarcation Lines as indicated on National Ocean Service navigation charts.

No one may possess aboard a vessel or while engaged in fishing any fish subject to limits without head and tail attached, except for alewife and blueback herring used for bait provided not more than two fish per boat/operation may be cut at any one time – Reference 15A NCAC 3M .0101

THIS FLYER IS EFFECTIVE May 1, 2016 AND IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES AND HAS NO LEGAL FORCE OR EFFECT. FISHERY RULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. THESE RESTRICTIONS APPLY TO FISH TAKEN FOR RECREATIONAL PURPOSES AND INCLUDE HOOK AND LINE. Updated State regulations can be found at and updated Recreational Commercial Gear License information can be found at Issued 05/1/16.This document is printed on recycled paper.