August 1, 2008
Fish of All Sizes Now Hanging Around the Piers Catch
By DAMON TATUMDAMON TATEM
BEACH, PIER AND BRIDGE FISHING
Piers along the northern beaches of the Outer Banks should offer a mix of small and large fish this week.
Pier anglers should land quite a few small croaker, spot running 3 to 4 fish per pound, and some sand perch. Some pigfish, pinfish and sea mullet also should appear.
Most of these small bottom-feeding fish will be taken on small No. 4 to 6 hooks baited with bloodworms, fresh shrimp or artificial bloodworms. There is no size or creel limit on bottom fish such as spot, croaker and sea mullet, but anglers should keep what they intend to use.
Clear water inshore along the beach should produce early morning and late afternoon runs of tailor bluefish and Spanish mackerel. Most of these aggressive fish will be caught on Gotcha lures in a variety of colors. Steel leaders are a must for blues and also for Spanish mackerel, as these species have very sharp teeth and make quick work of monofilament leaders.
Anglers can keep 15 bluefish per person per day with no more than five greater than 24 inches in total length. There is no minimum size limit on bluefish. Fifteen Spanish mackerel can be kept per person per day, 12 inches or larger in fork length.
Total length is measured from the tip of the snout with the mouth closed to the top of the compressed tail. Fork length is measured from the tip of the snout to the middle of the fork in the tail.
When the water is clear, speckled trout should be landed off and on by anglers using soft plastic lures fished close to the shoreline. Early morning is the most productive time for speckled trout.
Quite a few small flounder will be hooked and released, and a fair number of keeper flounder should be taken. Most of the nice- sized flounder will be decked by anglers using live minnows fished close to the pier pilings near the surf line. Anglers can keep eight flounder 15 1/2 inches or larger in total length.
Pier jockeys using live bait such as bluefish and menhaden should see some big fish action when warm, clear Gulf Stream water is pushed inshore by easterly winds. Cobia, king mackerel, jack crevalle, and even barracuda and small dolphin could be caught from piers.
Surf fishing along the northern beaches should be fair with the usual summertime variety of small spot, pinhead croaker and small sand perch landed from deeper sloughs along the beach. The best time to fish is on the incoming and high tide. Action usually is better early mornings and late afternoons on hot, cloudless days.
Scattered sea mullet, including a few nice-sized fish, and an occasional pompano also should be beached by bottom-fishing surfcasters.
Small bluefish should be reasonably abundant. They will be taken on metal lures when the water is clear and on fresh cut bait on bottom rigs or fireball rigs when the water is dirty.
Speckled trout are a possibility for lure anglers early mornings when the water is calm and clear. Persistent trout anglers are rewarded with fair catches from deeper sloughs in August.
Anglers trying their luck from the Melvin Daniels Jr. Bridge on the Nags Head/Roanoke Island causeway should catch a few speckled trout and flounder just about every morning at first light.Small bottom fish, a few black drum, puppy drum and an occasional sheepshead should be taken from the bridge during the day.
Oregon Inlet area
Anglers fishing from the Bonner Bridge catwalk should catch nice sheepshead and a few black drum. Small bottom fish, a few bluefish and an occasional flounder also should appear in catches.
Some speckled trout, a few puppy drum and small bottom fish will be landed in the Off Island Channel west of the Bodie Island Lighthouse.
Pea Island to Buxton
Pier anglers in Rodanthe and Avon should have great luck catching plenty of small bottom fish. The best action should be when the water is a bit stirred up.
A few gray trout, an occasional speckled trout, pompano, spadefish, sheepshead and mixed-sized flounder should be reeled in when the weather is good. Anglers can keep 10 speckled trout 12 inches or larger in total length, and six gray trout 12 inches or larger in total length per person.
Fair numbers of bluefish should be taken on both lures and cut bait, and some nice-sized Spanish mackerel should be decked when the water is clear.
Landing a king mackerel, cobia or jack is a possibility at any time when light inshore winds push Gulf Stream water close along the oceanfront, but so far this season big fish have been scarce.
Surfcasters along the northern beaches of Hatteras Island should catch lots of pinhead croaker, quite a few small spot, sand perch, pigfish and sea mullet. Most of these small fish will be landed from deeper sloughs along the beach on the rising tide.
Pompano action should be improving, with some of the larger fish taken on sand fleas, sometimes called mole crabs. These small crustaceans inhabit the high energy surf zone amid the breaking waves and are the favorite food of pompano. Sea mullet also like sand fleas.
Fair numbers of bluefish and Spanish mackerel should be caught on Stingsilvers when the surf is clear.
Buxton to Hatteras Inlet
Frisco pier anglers should land quite a few small bottom fish. When the water is clear, fair numbers of bluefish and Spanish mackerel should be taken on Gotcha lures. Scattered sheepshead, spadefish and an occasional filefish should be decked by anglers fishing close to pier pilings.
Surfcasters in the Buxton area should catch some bottom fish. Anglers fishing near the Buxton jetties will likely beach some flounder and possibly a few speckled trout.
Some nice sea mullet, scattered bluefish, small croaker and spot should be taken in the Frisco surf. Surfcasters in the Hatteras Inlet area should land bluefish, sea mullet and some keeper puppy drum. Anglers can keep one puppy drum 18 to 27 inches in total length per person.
AND BOAT FISHING
Spanish mackerel and bluefish trolling should be good around Oregon and Hatteras inlets and along the beaches a short distance offshore .
Boaters fishing in the sounds west of the inlets should catch some nice speckled trout and puppy drum.
Boaters fishing offshore in deeper water off the Dare coast should land tilefish, sea bass and cobia. Additionally, Hatteras anglers should deck some snappers and grouper. Anglers can keep two cobia 33 inches or larger in fork length per person per day.
OFFSHORE, GULF STREAM
Blue water anglers off Oregon and Hatteras inlets should catch a mixture of dolphin and wahoo, along with a few yellowfin tuna.
Some big-eye tuna should be taken off Oregon Inlet, and scattered king mackerel landed by Hatteras anglers. Anglers can keep three king mackerel 24 inches or larger in fork length per person.
Billfish action should be fair overall in the Gulf Stream off the Outer Banks, but will improve dramatically with northerly winds.
Originally published by BY DAMON TATUMDAMON TATEM.
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