08/21/09 — Fishing report

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Fishing report

By From staff reports
Published in Sports on August 21, 2009 1:46 PM

Northern District

Ocean: Offshore fishing was good.

The high volume dolphin catches dropped off just a bit but more of the larger specimens were caught. Anglers caught yellow and blackfin tuna, wahoo, greater amberjack, king mackerel, Atlantic bonito, little tunny and barracuda. Billfish catches were very good, with sailfish and both blue and white marlin being released in high numbers. Hatteras/Ocracoke marinas caught snowy, red- and yellow-edge groupers, vermillion snappers and blackbelly rosefish.

Mid-range fishing finally improved. Anglers caught and released some large striped bass and red drum in the 12- to 15-mile range, and landed some very large king mackerel caught in the 6- to 8-mile range. Artificial reefs continued to provide good catches of spadefish, triggerfish, sheepshead, tautog and black seabass.

Nearshore anglers saw a modest improvement and reported catching and releasing some very large red drum, along with nice catches of Spanish mackerel.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Catches of flounder and spotted seatrout dropped off somewhat. Anglers reported improved catch rates, with the bulk of the spotted seatrout being caught in the early morning hours dropping and off abruptly at mid morning.

Anglers reported their best success with flounder in the dusk-overnight time frame. Bridge pilings offered nice black drum and sheepshead on a regular basis. Spanish mackerel catches improved in these waters with the bulk of them being caught out of the Swanquarter/Rose Bay area.

Piers/shore: Anglers caught a little bit of just about everything: plenty of croakers, spot, and kingfish, along with low to moderate amounts of pigfish, pinfish, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, pompano, puffers, burrfish, weakfish, spotted seatrout, flounder, red and black drum, spadefish, banded rudderfish, skates and assorted sharks and rays.

Cobia and king mackerel pier fisherman had some nice catches of both with most being caught in the night-early pre-dawn hours.

Central region

Ocean: It was another epic week for billfish in Morehead City.

Some of the charter boats had several sailfish releases in a single day, and on calm days smaller boats were able to get in on the action. The wahoo bite picked up suddenly and lots of offshore fishermen reported catching five or more in a day.

A few blackfin tuna and false albacore were caught as well.

Anglers bottom fishing out of New River had a mixed bag of grouper, triggers, red and vermilion snapper, and white grunts. Recreational anglers should be aware that new snapper/grouper regulations went into effect at the end of July.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Severe thunderstorms and heavy rain kept most people off the water last week. Most of Carteret County had about four inches of rain in three days and some areas had as much as 10 inches.

The inshore fishing doesn't appear to have slowed down though and this past weekend was one of the busiest we've had in weeks. Anglers fishing the Pamlico Sound and lower Neuse reported mixed success with the big red drum -- some caught several citations, and some caught nothing but stingrays. The Spanish are still around, though more anglers are targeting flounder and trout these days.

Piers/shore: The surf fishing has been slow lately. We've seen pinfish, hogfish and hogfish, and lots of anglers released small flounder. The piers are still seeing strong runs of Spanish, including large fish in the 3- to 5-pound range as well as an occasional king.

Southern District

Ocean: Offshore, there are some wahoo being caught. No real big numbers, but the fish are in the 40-pound range and bigger.

Bottom fishing for grouper seemed to slow last week. Reds, gags, and scamp groupers are always an option this time of year in the 30- to 50-mile range. King mackerel fishing in the 10- to 20-mile range also slowed some this week. The shark hole and light house rock had decent catches of king mackerel, dolphin, and some cobia.

Near/shore reefs have been giving up some decent flounder catches along with some big spadefish and a few big red drum. There were also some good king mackerel catches on the near/shore reef -- better it seems than what is coming from offshore. Lots of Spanish mackerel were reported along area beaches this week.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Flounder fishing in the Cape Fear River has been good over the last couple of weeks. Fish are being caught from Southport to downtown Wilmington, with a good many fish being over five pounds. Some big flounder are also being caught in Brunswick County around Tubbs Inlet and and Lockwood Folly Inlet.

Trout fishing seems to be improving in the southern part of the Cape Fear River and around Oak Island and Bald Head Island. Live shrimp fished under a float has been the ticket on the trout. Red drum are also showing up in good numbers for the trout fisherman as well.

Piers/shore: Not a lot of change over the last couple of weeks.

Spots, sea mullets and some pompano are being caught just behind the breakers on fresh shrimp and sand fleas. Spanish mackerel were caught in good number last week when water conditions were favorable. Trout are being caught on Topsail and Oak Island piers, mainly in the morning hours on live shrimp.

Oak Island, Wrightsville and Topsail Beach piers all saw a few king mackerel catches last week.