04/30/06 — Outdoors Ñ Bluefish showing up along central coast

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Outdoors Ñ Bluefish showing up along central coast

By Gene Price
Published in Sports on April 30, 2006 2:17 AM

Some "nice bluefish" have been taken by folks fishing in Beaufort Inlet -- trolling and fly-casting. And according to the Division of Marine Fisheries report, red drum fishing has been good around Bear Island.

The big thing on the Crystal Coast in recent weeks has been the presence of sea mullets. They have been being taken by bottom fishermen in the Turning Basin of the State Ports and from ocean piers.

But the catches seem confined to incoming tides. After that, the mullet seem not to be interested, according to DMF reports.

The area around Morehead seems to have a profusion of gray trout -- almost all of them undersized!

A couple of weeks ago, I caught plenty of nice sea mullets and several gray trout. But of about 10 trout, only one was a keeper. (They have to be 12 inches or more. And the creel limit is seven. Speckled trout also must be 12 inches, but the creel limit is 10 per day.)

With the time for blues and Spanish mackerel at hand, it might well to remember that Spanish often are mistaken for small kings. The best way to identify a Spanish is by the black markings on the front of the dorsal fin.

The size and creel limits for Spanish and kings are different. Spanish must be 12 inches or more, with a 15 per day creel limit. Kings must be 24 inches and only three are allowed per day.

Offshore report

Offshore anglers have been bringing in snappers, black seabass, triggerfish and grunts, according to the DMF. Some kings are being taken by charter boats and one -- the Frequent Flyer -- boated a 51-pound wahoo.

Tags required

Fishermen taking striped bass in the Atlantic from Ocracoke Inlet to the Virginia line must tag them before bringing them ashore. That's a new requirement by the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries effective until Nov. 1.

The data is needed as part of the recreational harvest of stripers during the Albemarle Sound Management Area's closed season. Tags are available from tackle shops and fishing piers in the northern Outer Banks area.

A key to

safer boating

Senior Chief Edward Spainhour says education is a key element in safer boating. And in providing that, Sail and Power Squadrons play a significant role in assisting the U.S. Coast Guard in its greatly increased role in public safety.

That role today includes the responsibility of protecting the nation's ports, harbors and waterways from terrorists.

The Coast Guard is responsible for 95,000 miles of shoreline which provide opportunities for 70 million recreational boaters.

Chief Spainhour was guest speaker at a recent meeting of the Goldsboro Sail and Power Squadron.

He praised the squadron for its efforts in offering boating safety courses and free vessel inspections.

The chief urged the squadron to encourage boaters to file float plans -- and to emphasize the importance of all aboard to wear their life jackets.

No one is likely to expect an emergency on the water. And when one does come, there might not be enough time to locate and strap on flotation devices.

The Sail and Power Squadron's free vessel inspections will be conducted on the morning of May 20 at Berkeley Mall. Among other things, examiners will check registrations, safety gear such as life jackets and fire extinguishers, lights, whistles or horns, anchors etc.

Boats meeting the requirements are issued decals and certificates.

Make stripers

game fish?

U.S. Congressmen from Maine and New Jersey want to declare the striped bass a federally designated game fish. That would prevent its being sold commercially.

Wild stripers already are designated as game fish in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and the District of Columbia, according to Brad Burnes, president of Stripers Forever.

His organization, composed largely of recreational fishermen, feels management of the stripers can be effective only through giving it gamefish status throughout its migratory range.

In North Carolina, restoration of the striped bass was achieved through careful monitoring and management of the species for both recreational and commercial fishermen.

It was regarded as a showcase example of cooperative good management by the Wildlife Resources Commission and the state's Division of Marine Fisheries which ministers primarily to commercial fishermen.

Record catfish

An Illinois angler, Tim Pruitt, has landed a new world's record blue catfish. The monster weighed 124 pounds and was caught on 36 pound test line. Pruitt was fishing in the Mississippi River.

Memory food?

A Rush University Medical Center study indicates that eating fish once a week could slow memory loss by 10 percent in elderly people. The loss was slowed to 13 percent among people eating fish more than once a week.

The study involved 6,156 senior citizens in the Chicago area.

It showed that individuals who had eaten fish each week over a six-year period were three to four years younger mentally than those who rarely ate fish.

Observers noted that fish contain Omega 3 fatty acid, regarded as an important constituent of brain cell membranes.