09/18/09 — Fishing report

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Fishing report

By From staff reports
Published in Sports on September 18, 2009 1:46 PM

Northern District

Ocean: Offshore fishing was slow due to rough seas.

Anglers had moderate-good success when they were able to access the Gulf stream with nice catches of wahoo, dolphin, amberjack, atlantic bonito, little tunny, along with yellowfin, blackfin and skipjack tuna. Billfish catches have slowed, but anglers are still catching sailfish, and both white and blue marlin on a fairly consistent basis.

Mid-range anglers saw one extreme or the other with some days yielding very little and other days bringing limits of very large king mackerel with a few red drum and striped bass mixed in. Artificial reefs provided consistent catches of tautog, triggerfish, spadefish, black drum and sheepshead.

Near-shore anglers had little success with very little to report except a few short-term catches of bluefish and Spanish mackerel.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Anglers experienced a modest improvement with flounder and spotted seatrout being the primary target. Flounder were most abundant at Oregon Inlet, and the bulk of the catches were caught near the shallow areas close to the islands and land masses. Spotted seatrout catches were recorded throughout the area with most anglers reporting early-mid morning yielding the bulk of the catches.

Bridge structures throughout the area continue to offer nice catches of sheepshead and black drum when little else is available.

Piers/shore: These anglers had results similar to the nearshore boaters with very little to report. Previously high volume catches of large spot and croaker dropped off, but a few small specimens were caught. Assorted others were caught, including weakfish, spotted seatrout, flounder, pigfish, pinfish, black seabass, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, sheepshead, spadefish, black and red drum, puffers, skates and assorted rays and sharks.

Central region

Ocean: The billfish bite has quieted down a little bit, but they are still out there. For those who were fishing inshore just off the beach, the Spanish are still around and most are weighing between 1 1/2 to 2 pounds. Anglers have been filling coolers with large blues.

Bottom fishing is still yielding large vermillion snapper and triggerfish with the occasional sea bass and grouper.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: There are still lots of good sized Spanish in and around Beaufort and Bogue inlets. Those trolling for Spanish also had good luck with large blues -- some as large as four pounds. There is a lot of bait just off the beaches. Grey trout are in the inlets on the outgoing tide.

The legal-size flounders have been difficult to find lately, but this past week many of the local rivers turned out to be great fishing holes. The Pamlico River not only produced keeper flounder, but also some very large red drum.

Piers/shore: The surf and pier fishermen had another good week and it should only improve over the next few weeks. Anglers on piers reeled in lots of Spanish, especially this past weekend, and most of them weighed close to two pounds or more.

People caught good numbers of pompano, whiting, spadefish, blues and a few spot here and there. The blues are still coming in big weighing between one and two pounds. A few of the piers had spectacular days with flounder fishing, with 8 to 10 keepers being caught in one day -- all of which were at least 16 inches.

Southern District

Ocean: Offshore, boats brought in some decent catches of wahoo along with some dolphin and blackfin tunas. There were a good many sailfish released as well. Closer to shore there are some good reports that the gags are biting well in the 25- to 35-mile range.

King mackerel fishing remains slow, but there were a few fish being caught last week at Light house rock and the Shark hole. The near/shore reefs produced good catches of flounder and some really nice Spanish mackerel.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays: Fishing has been good. With the water temperature cooling, the fishing has really taken off the last couple of weeks. Flounder, trout and drum fishing has been good. Most area inlets are holding some drum right now with fish up to 40 pounds being caught.

Along with the drum the speckled trout are also biting well at times. The creeks and bays behind Bald Head Island are giving up nice catches of trout and drum. Most of the nice trout are being caught on top water lures at first light. Flounder fishing in the river has been good over the last two weeks. Fish are being caught from downtown Wilmington to Southport.

A lot of fish in the five-pound range and bigger were seen this week.

Piers/shore: Fishing has really picked up over the last couple of weeks.

Bottom fishing seems to be a little slow with a few spots, sea mullets and pompano, but the Spanish mackerel and nice bluefish have been biting well all week. Flounder fishing also improved with more keepers being caught then undersize fish.

There were lots of mullet in the surf from small finger mullets to good size jumping mullets. There were a few kings caught this week on area piers, but fishing has been slow for them over the last month or so.

Fall is right around the corner and fishing should really improve in the coming weeks.