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.

September 7 - September 13

Ocean

Rough seas from Hurricane Larry limited anglers’ access to offshore waters, but pre-storm catches out of Hatteras included blackfin tuna, dolphin, amberjack, and wahoo, all caught in low to moderate amounts. Billfish catches made a noted improvement after a previously slow period with sailfish, blue marlin, and white marlin catch and release action. Nearshore activity was slow and uneventful due to better fishing in inshore and offshore waters. Offshore fishing via Oregon Inlet was limited by the effects of the storm and catches were similar to that of anglers fishing out of Hatteras -- the same species in low to moderate amounts. Nearshore anglers did catch a variety of species before the seas got rough. Cutlassfish (ribbonfish) in very high numbers, low to moderate amounts of moonfish, little tunny (false albacore), cobia, red drum, bluefish, king mackerel and Spanish mackerel kept anglers busy on most outings.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays

Anglers fishing in these waters were not affected by the rough seas offshore, and catches were good on most days. Those fishing between Hatteras and Oregon Inlet caught high volumes of giant, over-slot red drum and a larger size category of bluefish on a consistent basis. They also caught moderate amounts of spotted seatrout, flounder, Spanish mackerel, and kingfish (sea mullet). Fishing from Oregon Inlet northward yielded more variety of species with red drum and spotted seatrout dominating the catches. Anglers caught their limits of both on a daily basis. They also caught low to moderate amounts of searobin, black seabass, bluefish, flounder, kingfish, Spanish mackerel, croaker, pigfish, oyster toadfish, and striped burrfish.

Pier/Shore

Giant waves and rough surf from the storm limited pier and beach fishing across the area. Those fishing along the south beach most commonly caught red drum along with a few scattered bluefish, pompano, flounder, and kingfish (sea mullet). Catches along the north beach mirrored those of the south beach with anglers mostly pulling in red drum (including some over-slot giants) off the piers, and low amounts of bluefish, pompano, croaker, and a mixed bag of other species.

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.

September 7 - September 13

Ocean

A couple days of rough winds and high seas slowed down offshore activity. When boats did go out, offshore trolling produced catches of king mackerel and wahoo, with a few dolphin in the mix. Anglers fishing the bottom offshore caught good numbers of porgies with some grunts, black sea bass, grouper, and amberjacks. The Spanish mackerel bite has remained consistent all summer. Flounder, gray trout, and sheepshead were caught around artificial reefs.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays

With flounder season coming to a close, the catch was strong. A good number of the flounder caught weighed over 5 pounds. The red drum bite also remained strong. It's been a great year for the "old" drum bite in the sounds and mouth of the Neuse River. Plenty of slot-sized drum were caught in the marshes, flats, and coastal tributaries. Speckled trout fishing was spotty in the coastal waters, but the brackish creeks produced some good catches.

Piers/Shore

The red drum and flounder bite remained consistent in the surf. A few speckled trout also showed up. Bottom fishing produced a typical mix of sea mullet, Atlantic croaker, and pompano. Some king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and bluefish were caught at the ends of the local piers. 

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.

September 7 - September 13

Ocean

Offshore, the fall Wahoo fishing hadn't kicked off. Lots of boats tried it over the weekend and there wasn't much caught. The fishing should get better over the next couple of weeks. Anglers targeting reef fish caught fair numbers of vermilion snapper and gray triggerfish in the 35- to 40-mile range. They also caught a few groupers. Closer to shore, anglers caught good numbers of school size king mackerel in the 20-mile range along with lots of amberjacks and some gag groupers. Nearshore, lots of anglers targeted flounder on rock ledges and wrecks in the 1- to 5-mile range with most catching limits in a short timeframe. Anglers caught good numbers of Spanish mackerel along the beaches throughout the area along with a few big king mackerel, as well.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays

Fishing was good overall. Anglers targeting flounder did very well. A good number of flounder caught weighed over 5 pounds, and some weighed in the double digits. Along with the flounder some nice spotted seatrout started to show up with the best catches coming out of the New River around Sneads Ferry. The lower Cape fear River and the bays and creeks around Bald Head Island produced some nice trout catches, too. Red drum, black drum, and sheepshead fishing was good, as well.

Piers/Shore

It was a fantastic week of fishing on area piers! Anglers caught lots of legal-size flounder along with some keeper size red drum and black drum and even some nice spotted seatrout. Bottom fishing picked up, as well, and catches of sea mullets, spot, and croaker improved. Spanish mackerel fishing was good all week on the piers and there was a 37-pound king mackerel caught at Wrightsville Beach. Catches out of the surf started to pick up with good numbers of keeper flounder along with some slot size drum and sea mullets caught using mole crabs as bait.