07/31/09 — Fishing report

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Fishing report

By From staff reports
Published in Sports on July 31, 2009 1:46 PM

Northern District

Ocean: Offshore anglers caught diverse species, with limits of dolphin being landed by most anglers who targeted them. Anglers had good catches of yellowfin, blackfin and bigeye tuna along with wahoo, king mackerel, atlantic bonito, little tunny and blueline tilefish.

Hatteras and Ocracoke marinas saw catches of snowy and yellowedge groupers along with vermillion snapper, barrelfish, and blackbelly rosefish. Billfish catches were nothing short of fantastic with marinas reporting 50-60 releases per day.

Midrange fishing primarily consisted of catch and release size striped bass and red drum in the 12- to 15-mile range. Artificial reefs continued to produce moderate amounts of tautog, sheepshead and triggerfish.

Nearshore fishing made a modest improvement, with some very nice Spanish mackerel being caught out to one mile range. Most were caught by anglers fishing the surface with assorted lures and spoons. A few bluefish were mixed in.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Flounder and spotted seatrout continued to be the primary target of these anglers with good catches throughout the area. Oregon Inlet continued to yield most of the flounder caught with the bulk of them caught near the shallow waters next to the islands and land masses.

Spotted seatrout catches continued to be concentrated in the same area as previously, with anglers fishing the Roanoke Sound off the "Little Bridge" and underneath the Washington Baum bridge catching high volume amounts on a consistent basis. Anglers fishing the local bridge pilings caught some nice sheepshead and black drum.

Piers/Shore: Anglers caught nice Spanish mackerel and bluefish on a few occasions for some short term/high volume action. Assorted others were caught in low/moderate amounts including weakfish, flounder, spadefish, kingfish, puffers, pompano, needlefish, sheepshead, spot, croaker, skates, rays and sharks.

Central region

Ocean: Dolphin numbers are dwindling a little bit from previous weeks but they are still being caught from near shore to offshore. 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.

Northwest Place and the Southeast Bottom outside of Bogue Inlet have been good for large kings. Spanish are still just off the beach and in the sounds, being caught early in the morning on live bait. Larger Spanish have been coming in from a bit further offshore. Bottom fishing turned out red and gag grouper, black sea bass, vermillion snapper, triggerfish and lots of amberjack.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Black drum and red drum were caught in the White Oak River, Newport River and New River -- mainly on live bait. Smaller Spanish were biting in the inlets and sounds but the numbers are dwindling from weeks past.

Anglers caught sheepshead in large numbers around the high rise bridges in the Morehead City area. There were a few reports of speckled trout around the Harkers Island Bridge, but other than that they have been few and far between.

Piers/Shore: The pier and shore fishing areas continue to see the typical mixed bag of croaker, blues, whiting, sheepshead, skate and flounder. However, most of the flounder have not been legal size.

Spanish made their runs through at the piers and the beach early each morning, but most of them were under the legal size.

Southern District

Ocean: King mackerel and dolphin fishing was good the first part of the week, but slowed toward the end of the week. Most ledges in the 10- to 20-mile range that are holding bait had good fishing for kings, dolphin and sailfish.

Grouper fishing in the 30-to 50-mile range was fair with catches consisting of red, gag and scamp groupers. The African pompano are showing up around the tower, ledges and nearby wrecks. Most fish are being caught by anglers using live bait such as menhaden and cigar minnows.

King mackerel fishing slowed along area beaches this week. Near/shore reefs produced some flounder and spadefish. Gray trout are starting to show up.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Very little change over the last couple of weeks.

Flounder fishing has been consistent. No real big numbers being caught anywhere, but some nice fish are being seen. The best catches continue to come out of the river around Southport and on up the river towards Wilmington. Trout fishing has been good in the early morning hours around Bald Head Island. Fish are being caught on top water early then it seems live shrimp is needed to catch them.

Oak Island Bridge is another spot that has been holding some trout of late as well as the ADM dock. The ADM dock is also giving up some nice catches of black drum and sheepshead. Red drum fishing around the Stump Sound area has been good with over-the-slot fish being caught as well as the bays behind Bald Head Island.

Piers/Shore: Fishing is pretty typical for this time of year.

Spots, sea mullets and a few pompano are being caught. Flounder fishing seems to be slow with a few keepers being caught. There are some trout starting to show up on the Topsail Island piers.

Area piers saw nice king mackerel caught earlier in the week, but fishing for them slowed towards the weekend. There was a 104-pound tarpon caught on Jolly Rodgers Pier last week. Surf fisherman are having good luck on the drum on Lee's Island. Pompano, sea mullets and blues are being caught out of the surf throughout the area on mole crabs and fresh shrimp.