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.

October 12 - October 18

Ocean

Offshore anglers out of Hatteras experienced a noted increase in king mackerel catches with high numbers of very large ones being caught. Wahoo, black and yellowfin tuna and dolphin kept anglers busy, along with a few assorted billfish. Nearshore anglers caught Spanish mackerel to the exclusion of almost everything else. Timing was everything with short-term blitzes yielding the majority. Offshore fishing via Oregon Inlet also produced good catches. Citation-sized bigeye tuna, in excess of 200 pounds, were caught on a semi-regular basis.  Moderate amounts of wahoo, king mackerel, dolphin and both yellow and blackfin tuna made up a very satisfying fishing day. Nearshore action continued to be dominated by cutlassfish, (ribbonfish) with high volumes being caught on a daily basis. Spanish mackerel and little tunny (false albacore) were caught in moderation.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays

Fishing these waters from Hatteras northward to Oregon Inlet was good for the most part. Spanish mackerel were caught in moderate amounts on a short-term basis. Spotted seatrout and red drum were caught more consistently and larger bluefish were caught with improved regularity. Oregon Inlet northward anglers caught limits of both spotted seatrout and red drum with relative ease. Striped bass and bluefish were caught in moderation.

Pier/Shore

Fishing our beaches from north to south made a noted improvement with the arrival of very high numbers of red drum being caught, including plenty of over-slot giants. Moderate amounts of spot, kingfish (sea mullet) and pompano were also caught.

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.

October 12 - October 18

Ocean

As the temperatures begin to drop the wahoo action has picked up. Anglers trolling offshore experienced good catches of wahoo with king mackerel, dolphin and blackfin tuna in the mix. Anglers fishing the bottom offshore caught a typical fall mix of triggerfish, black sea bass, porgies and grunts. Anglers had a good week for nearshore trolling. Anglers found large Spanish mackerel schooling close to shore.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays

Red drum fishing was steady in the sounds and coastal rivers. Anglers found good numbers of slot-sized drum. The spotted seatrout bite picked up. Anglers using soft plastics or live shrimp had the most luck. Black drum and sheepshead were found around the submerged structures and walls.

Piers/Shore

Anglers fishing the surf had luck with the red drum and spotted seatrout. Both pompano and spot fishing picked up. Anglers fishing the bottom caught a mix of croaker, kingfish and pigfish. Anglers casting from the piers also caught good numbers of Spanish mackerel with a few bluefish in the mix.

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.

October 12 - October 18

Ocean

Offshore, the fall wahoo fishing was somewhat slow. There were some fish being caught, but no real numbers to report. Along with the wahoo there were some sailfish, dolphin and blackfin tuna being caught, as well. The bottom fishing picked up. Good catches of vermilion snapper, along with some scamp and red groupers, were caught in the 120- to 140-foot range. Good numbers of gag grouper were caught much closer to shore in the 75- to 80-foot range. King mackerel fishing was good along the area beaches with good numbers coming out of Topsail, Masonboro and Carolina Beach inlets over the last couple of weeks, as well as, along the beaches of Brunswick County. Large Spanish mackerel were caught on live bait with some fish in the 7- to 8-pound range being brought in.

Inlets/Sounds/Bays

Near shore the fishing picked up with the falling water temps. Spotted seatrout started to show up in the traditional trout hot spots. The marshes around Topsail Island, Greens Channel at Riches Inlet, and the Carolina Beach Inlet were just a few places trout started to show up at. Lots of slot-sized red drum were also caught in the same general locations by anglers targeting trout. Good numbers of large sheepshead were caught around the rock jetties at Masonboro and Little Rriver, as well as plenty of slot to over the slot red drum.

Piers/Shore

Good week of fishing being reported by all area piers. There were some spot starting to show up, along with increasing number of pompano and sea mullets. Good numbers of Spanish mackerel and bluefish were caught on plugs. Slot-sized red and black drum, along with some keeper sized trout were caught on live shrimp. A fair number of king mackerel were landed off the ends of the piers. Along the beaches, surf fishermen reeled in slot-sized red and black drum, good numbers of pompano and sea mullet using fresh shrimp, mole crabs and mullet for bait.