OCEAN: Offshore fishing out of Hatteras & Ocracoke was fair-good on most outings, moderate amounts of dolphin and blackfin tuna made up most of the catches along with a few wahoo and little tunny. Billfish catches were moderate with mostly sailfish reported. Bottom fishing trips brought the best results with plenty of triggerfish and amberjack along with moderate amounts of vermillion snapper, blackbelly rosefish, and assorted groupers. Nearshore action was dominated by very high numbers of over-slot/ citation size red drum along with decent catches of both spanish mackerel and bluefish on most trips. Offshore success out of Oregon Inlet was very good indeed, limits of yellowfin tuna by most anglers with most specimens in the 50lb range along with a few exceeding the 70lb+ mark! Limits of small dolphin and a few gaffers as well along with a few bigeye tuna and wahoo made anglers very pleased. Nearshore fishing was fair-good with bluefish and spanish mackerel making up the bulk of the catches which varied from day to day with some yielding limits and other’s only offering a few of both. Assorted other species were also caught in low-moderate amounts including king mackerel, amberjack, barracuda, remora, and assorted sharks.
INLETS/SOUNDS/BAYS: Anglers out of Hatteras had moderate success with some spanish mackeral being caught on most trips along with much improved catches of both spot and sea mullet. Northern area fishing continues to improve with flounder being the primary target of most anglers-and for very good reason, much improved keeper ratios with well over 50% of them being legal specimens as opposed to the previous weeks mostly undersize one’s, shallow water areas near islands & land masses yielded the best results. High numbers of croakers and undersize striped bass along with a mixed bag of species in low-moderate amounts were also caught including kingfish, pigfish, pinfish, puffer, searobin, striped burrfish, weakfish, and spotted seatrout.
PIERS/SHORE: Fishing has been slow-moderate at best, South beach anglers have had a few short term bluefish blitzes yielding plenty of 1-2lb specimens if you are lucky to be their at the right time, sea mullet, Spanish mackerel, flounder, and very large pompano are still being caught on given occasions. North beach success has been similar, kingfish (sea mullet) have been most plentiful with citation size specimens being caught on a daily basis. Croaker, pompano, spot, spotted seatrout, bluefish, spanish mackerel, cownose rays, skate, stingrays, and assorted sharks were also caught in low amounts.
Brian A Melott
Recreational Port Agent
Division of Marine Fisheries
NC Department of Environmental Quality
OCEAN: Offshore fishing remains good in most cases/locations. Anglers fishing out of the north beach marinas had limits of dolphin on most outings along with moderate amounts of both yellowfin & blackfin tuna. Billfish catches have remained consistent with white marlin constituting most of them, a few sailfish, blue marlin, and spearfish were also reported. Hatteras marinas have had plenty of nice size wahoo hitting the docks making up the bulk of the offshore catches, assorted tuna’s, dolphin, and amberjack were caught in low-moderate amounts. Bottom fishing was good yielding plenty of triggerfish and vermillion snapper along with a few tripletail, porgy, almaco jack, and blackbelly rosefish. Midrange/nearshore action continues to be moderate-good throughout the region with high numbers of bluefish and spanish mackerel being caught by those lucky enough to be there for their short-term blitzing. Little tunny (false albacore), triggerfish, and black seabass were also caught in much lesser amounts. Hatteras marinas had decent red drum catches this previous week but most were over-slot one’s.
INLETS/SOUNDS/BAYS: This fishing is finally starting to improve with some nice catches of both weakfish and spotted seatrout. Roanoke Sound anglers have experienced the best success rates off of the causeway- “Little Bridge” and underneath of the “Washington Baum Bridge with early morning hours producing the most fish. Shallow water areas at Oregon Inlet did yield a few nice keeper flounder- the bridge pilings produced some nice sheepshead, black drum and spadefish. Bluefish, spanish mackerel, black seabass , searobin, and croaker were caught in moderation throughout the area along with assorted others in low amounts.
PIERS/SHORE: Success rates have been poor-moderate in most cases, the bluefish/spanish mackerel blitzes experienced by the nearshore boaters have also offered P/S anglers some nice catches on a few occasions. Water temps remain in the upper 70’s keeping the pompano in the surf zone later in the season than normally with some moderate catches using sand fleas as the preferred bait. Kingfish (sea mullet), croaker, black & red drum, silver perch, sea robin, flounder, pinfish, pigfish, striped burrfish, smooth & spiny dogfish, skates and stingrays were also caught in varied amounts.
Brian A. Melott
Marine Fisheries Tech II
OCEAN: Offshore anglers struggled this past week, very few tunas of any sort were caught -a bright spot was limits of dolphin caught around 15 miles offshore making for some early returns to the docks. Billfish catches made a slight increase in frequency. Midrange success rates have made a marked improvement with high volume catches of both atlantic cutlassfish (ribbonfish) and sharpnose sharks-anglers report both of these as good eating. King & spanish mackerel, little tunny, and cobia were caught in these same waters.
INLETS/SOUNDS/BAYS: Improving flounder catches have been experienced by anglers fishing the shallow water areas at Oregon Inlet this previous week with much improved keeper ratios . spoons but this has lessened somewhat. Bluefish and Spanish mackerel are still being caught by anglers trolling the surface water with spoons and assorted lures, catches have been short term and limited to anglers being at thr right spot at the right time. Anglers fishing the Roanoke Sound are still catching spotted seatrout in the early morning hours and then again just before dark along with a few red drum, croaker, and kingfish mixed in. The pilings of Oregon Inlet bridge continue to offer sheepshead, black drum, spadefish, and atlantic needlefish.
PIERS/SHORE: Fishing for cobia/king mackerel off of piers has been excellent this past week by anglers fishing over night into the wee hours of the morning. Citation size kingfish (sea mullet) are still being caught in the near shore surf zone with sand fleas being the bait of choice. Pompano, spot, croaker, black and red drum, atlantic cutlassfish, puffers, pigfish, pinfish, striped burrfish, bluefish, skates, rays, sharks, and a host of others were also caught in lesser amounts.
Brian A. Melott
Marine Fisheries Tech II
OCEAN: The offshore catch for the most part has consisted of limits of bailer dolphin with a few gaffers mixed in. Wahoo & king mackerel hit the docks with increased regularity this past week along with a full spectrum of tuna’s including blackfin, yellowfin, bigeye, skipjack, little tunny, & atlantic bonito. A few billfish were caught & released also. Midrange anglers are still targeting cobia with moderate success rates-with Hatteras anglers catching the bulk of them, greater amberjack have been caught around three miles offshore on a regular basis with a few triggerfish mixed in.
INLETS/SOUNDS/BAYS: Unfortunately fishing in these waters has been inconsistent with low-moderate success on most outings this previous week, anglers targeting spanish mackerel & bluefish were the exception with metal spoons trolling on the surface yielding almost 100% of the catches. A low amount of flounder were caught in the shallow areas near land masses -but at least keeper ratios were favorable in most cases. Oregon Inlet Bridge pilings still offer black drum, spadefish, sheepshead, needlefish, and a few other species in much lesser amounts when little else was available.
PIERS/SHORE: Anglers were very happy catching some of the largest kingfish- (sea mullet) I have seen in many years with citation size specimens caught by almost everyone targeting them, molecrabs- (sand fleas) were the bait of choice with the near shore surf zone yielding most of the catch. Cobia & king mackerel catches off of the piers have made a notable increase in regularity with large specimens of both reported. A host of others were caught in low-moderate amounts including pompano, black drum, red drum, croaker, spot, pinfish, pinfish, spotted seatrout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, atlantic cuttlassfish, smooth & spiny dogfish, skates & rays.
Brian A. Melott
Marine Fisheries Tech II