Recreational Fishing Reports

The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries interviews anglers throughout coastal areas to estimate the marine recreational fishing catch. The following regional fishing reports are updated weekly and compiled by DMF port agents as they observe and interview fishermen at access sites along the coast — more than 500 anglers are interviewed each week.

Please note: New fishing reports are posted each week during the height of fishing season.

Interested in fisheries statistics, including updated recreational tuna and billfish landings? Learn more on the Fisheries Statistics page.

Regional Reports

Northern: Dare, Hyde, Currituck, and Beaufort Counties

Northern: Dare, Hyde, Currituck, and Beaufort Counties

For more information regarding the Northen District Fishing Reports, please contact Brian Melott.

July 19 - July 25

Ocean

Offshore fishing out of Hatteras provided a variety of species, but catch numbers were low. Bailer dolphin were caught in moderation, along with low-moderate amounts of wahoo, including a few citation-sized ones. Low amounts of king mackerel, barracuda and a few other assorted species made up the catch. The previously uneventful nearshore action made a modest improvement with Spanish mackerel showing up for some short-term high-volume action for anglers fortunate enough to be there at the time of opportunity. Offshore action via Oregon Inlet saw a variety of species, including dolphin, both bigeye and yellowfin tuna, and blueline tilefish being caught in moderation offering some good table fare when little else was available. Nearshore anglers had their catch dominated by cutlassfish (ribbonfish), little tunny (false albacore) and Spanish mackerel.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays

Red drum and spotted seatrout continued to dominate the harvest but catch rates were noticeably down. A few scattered bluefish were also caught. Oregon Inlet north anglers had even lower success rates with red drum and spotted seatrout being most prevalent. Cutlassfish (ribbonfish) were very plentiful and offered some action when nothing else was biting.

Pier/Shore

South beach anglers had moderate success on some days with kingfish (sea mullet), and very large pompano were caught in the near shore surf zone using mole crabs (sand fleas). North beach anglers struggled to catch much of anything. A few anglers managed to catch spot in moderation, along with a few kingfish. Spanish mackerel and bluefish were caught on a short-term basis.

Central: Pamlico, Craven, Carteret, and Onslow Counties

Central: Pamlico, Craven, Carteret, and Onslow Counties

For more information regarding the Central District Fishing Reports, please contact Andrew Valmassoi or Amanda Mullikin.

July 19 - July 25

Ocean

Offshore trolling trips were slower, but anglers brought home king mackerel, amberjack and a few dolphin and wahoo. Some billfish were released, as well. Anglers fishing the bottom offshore caught a mix of gray triggerfish, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, amberjack and white grunt. Nearshore trolling produced good numbers of Spanish mackerel with a few bluefish in the mix. Anglers found a few cobia out there, but the bite was inconsistent.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays

So far, we have experienced a great summer for red drum and this week was no exception. Plenty of keeper red drum were brought home, and some of the larger "old" drum are beginning to show up. Spotted seatrout showed up in greater numbers than in previous weeks. Anglers found black drum and sheepshead around the submerged structures, bridges and walls.

Piers/Shore

Surf fishing produced a mix of kingfish (sea mullet), Atlantic croaker, gray trout and red drum. Spot are beginning to show up in greater numbers. Anglers fishing the piers caught quite a few Spanish mackerel and king mackerel, alongside the usual bag of bottom fish.

Southern: Pender, New Hanover, and Brunswick Counties

Southern: Pender, New Hanover, and Brunswick Counties

For more information regarding the Southern District Fishing Report, please contact Dennis Trowell.

July 19 - July 25

Ocean

Offshore, the gulf stream fishing has been better than normal for this time of year. Boats caught decent numbers of wahoo, along with some scattered catches of dolphin and a few yellowfin tuna. Bottom fishing has been typical for late July with scamp, red and gag grouper in the 35- to 45-mile range, along with a wide range of other reef fish such as hogfish, vermilion snapper and gray triggerfish. Closer to shore, in the 10- to 15-mile range boats brought in good amounts of amberjack, barracuda, king mackerel and gag grouper. There was a very good king mackerel bite just off the beaches along Wrightsville and Masonboro Island in 25 to 35 feet of water. Lots of fish in the 25- to 35-pound range with some even bigger were caught. Anglers targeting tarpon had some luck with them off the tip of Bald Head Island fishing the deeper cuts on the shoals right on the beach.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays

There were some spotted sea trout around with early morning hours and even nighttime fishing your best bet in catching them. The grass islands in the lower Cape Fear River were good places to fish topwater baits at the crack of dawn to catch trout. Any lighted dock or bridge can hold trout, along with red drum, ladyfish and bluefish. The ADM dock in the lower Cape Fear River is a good place to try night fishing. Red and black drum were caught through out the area from the bays and creeks, along area docks and around the jetties. Anglers reported lots of flounder releases.

Piers/Shore

Johnnie Mercers pier on Wrightsville Beach had an outstanding week on the big king mackerels and Spanish mackerel with new pier records being set for both. Lots of kings in the 25- to 35-pound range were caught with one king coming in at 53 pounds. Big Spanish mackerel were in the mix with some fish pushing the 9-pound range. Other area piers reported typical summer catches consisting of slot-sized red and black drum, sheepshead, and low amounts of pan fish, such as small croaker, spot and some nice sea mullet. Surf catches were much the same with a few slot-sized red and black drum, along with some sea mullet and a few pompano.