07/24/09 — N.C. fishing report

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N.C. fishing report

By From staff reports
Published in Sports on July 24, 2009 1:46 PM

Northern District

Dare, Hyde, Currituck

& Beaufort Counties

Ocean: Offshore catches were good with plenty of diversity.

Anglers caught moderate numbers of yellowfin, blackfin and bigeye tuna; along with wahoo, king mackerel, blueline tilefish, atlantic bonito, little tunny and dolphin. Billfish catches were very good with sailfish, and both blue and white marlin being released on a consistent basis. Grouper and snapper catches out of the Hatteras/Ocracoke marinas slowed somewhat.

Anglers fishing in the midrange caught and released large specimens of striped bass in the 12- to 15-mile range along with a few large red drum. Artificial reefs provided anglers with some nice specimens of triggerfish, sheepshead and tautog. Anglers returning from their gulfstream trips caught king mackerel in the 8- to 10-mile range.

Nearshore fishing remained poor and uneventful with very little to report except a few croakers and spot.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Flounder catches have been good throughout the area with favorable keeper ratios. Anglers at Oregon Inlet had good catches in the very shallow areas near the various islands and land masses. Spotted seatrout catches were very good in the early morning hours and then again at dusk.

Anglers fishing the Roanoke sound off the "little bridge" and underneath the Washington Baum bridge caught most of them, but catches have improved throughout the area. Anglers fishing all of the local bridge structures caught moderate amounts of spadefish, sheepshead, and black drum with mole crabs being the bait of choice.

Piers/Shore: Fishing patterns were similar to those of the nearshore ocean anglers with very little to report. Pier anglers caught some nice spadefish and sheepshead around the pier pilings. Spot, croaker, kingfish, bluefish, spanish mackerel, weakfish, burrfish, puffers, needlefish, pompano, skates, rays, sharks, and a host of others were caught in low to moderate amounts.

Central District

Pamlico, Craven, Carteret

& Onslow Counties

Ocean: Dolphin numbers are dwindling a little bit from previous weeks but are still being caught from near shore to offshore. They seem to get larger the further anglers go offshore. Offshore fisherman brought back a number of gaffers mixed in with smaller "peanuts."

King mackerel are also still being caught within just a few miles of shore but the larger fish have been caught offshore on live bait. Spanish are still being caught in high numbers just outside the inlets, and up and down the beaches. Bottom fishing turned out red and gag grouper, black sea bass, vermillion snapper, triggerfish and lots of amberjack.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Speckled trout, black drum and red drum were caught in the White Oak River, Newport River and New River -- mainly on live bait. Smaller Spanish have been biting in the inlets and sounds, but still in good numbers. The Pamlico River area is a good place to fish for speckled trout.

Piers/Shore: The pier and shore fishing areas continue to see the typical mixed bag of croaker, blues, whiting, sheepshead, pompano, skate, puffers and flounder. The Spanish at the piers showed up in larger numbers, yielding more keepers than previous weeks.

Sea View pier in Onslow County brought in a few 3- to 4-pound Spanish and a good number of smaller ones. Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier saw a lot of large kings up to 22 pounds, 4- to 5-plus pound Spanish, chopper blues, flounder and speckled trout.

Southern District

Pender, New Hanover

& Brunswick Counties

Ocean: Offshore, bottom fishing has improved over the last couple of weeks. Red, gag and scamp groupers are being caught in the 30- to 50-mile range along with an assortment of other bottom fish.

Closer to shore, the king mackerel bite has been good in the 10- to 20-mile range. Along with the king mackerel there are some dolphin still being caught along with an increasing amount of sailfish.

Near/shore reefs are seeing improved flounder catches from previous weeks. The reefs offshore Brunswick County are producing the best right now. Along with the flounder there is good fishing for spadefish. There was also a good king mackerel bite last week just off of Wrightsville Beach.

Large schools of menhaden are all along area beaches right now. Several reports of tarpon being caught and seen in these schools have been made. The shoals off of Bald Head Island are good place to try to catch a tarpon right now.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Flounder catches seem to be increasing. The est catches are coming out of the southern part of the Cape Fear River. There were also some decent catches coming from the Carolina Beach area and Topsail Sound. Southern Brunswick County around Tubbs Inlet also saw some good catches with fish up to 9 pounds caught. Live mullet or menhaden fished on a Carolina rig has been the ticket for the flounder.

Trout fishing has slow, but there still are some fish being caught. The ADM dock has been the hot spot of late, and has given up some impressive sheepshead and black drum catches as well. Boats bottom fishing in the mouth of the river are catching sea mullets, a few spots and some nice gray trout.

Red drum fishing has been good in the stump sound area as well as in the bays and creeks behind Bald Head Island with over-the-slot fish being caught.

Piers/Shore: Mixed summer bag of sea mullets, pompano and some spots are being caught by the bottom fisherman. The flounder fishing is still a little slow, but improving over the last couple of weeks. Lots of undersize fish are being caught on the Pender County piers.

Brunswick County piers are not catching as many, but most flounder are legal size fish.