August 29, 2008

Labor Day Weekend is Harbinger of Good Fishing Catch of the Week



Corolla to Coquina Beach

Surf fishing will be on the upswing along the northern beaches as fall approaches.

Surfcasters should catch mixed sizes of spot, some nice sea mullet and scattered small croaker this week from deeper sloughs along the beach on the incoming and high tide.

Bloodworms and fresh shrimp should be the most effective baits. Small No. 4 to 6 hooks are a must because of the small size of these fish. There is no size or creel limit on small bottom fish such as spot, croaker and sea mullet, but anglers should keep only what they intend to use.

Quite a few bluefish weighing between 1/2 and 2 pounds and an occasional Spanish mackerel should be landed from the surf along the northern beaches by anglers using metal artificial lures when the water is clear.

Bluefish also will be taken on fresh cut spot, mullet or menhaden when the water is dirty. The baitfish cut in strips is placed on either a regular bottom rig or a fireball rig. Hook sizes vary on the rigs, from number 2 to number 3/0. Anglers using steel snelled hooks will have the best luck avoiding cut-off by sharp-toothed, aggressive bluefish.

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. Total length is measured from the tip of the snout with the mouth closed to the top of the compressed tail.

Fair numbers of pompano should be caught on shrimp and sand fleas. Sand fleas, also called mole crabs, are very effective baits for sea mullet and pompano. These small crustaceans live amid the breaking waves on the edge of the beach, and are a favorite food of sea mullet, pompano and other small fish that feed close to the surf line.

Scattered flounder, including some keepers, and a few puppy drum also will be beached by surfcasters in the area. The best puppy drum action should be when the seas are a bit choppy.

Some speckled trout will be landed from deeper sloughs by anglers tossing soft plastic lures. The best action should be early mornings when the water is cool.

Pier anglers along the northern beaches should deck plenty of spot, some small croaker, sand perch and pigfish when the water is somewhat murky. The best action should be on the rising or high tide when the wind is from the northeast.

Sea mullet, a few keeper flounder, an occasional puppy drum, some pompano, spadefish, and a few small black drum also should be taken by bottom fishing anglers.

Tailor bluefish and some mixed-sized Spanish mackerel will keep pier anglers busy just about every day when the water is clear. Most of these voracious fish will be caught on Gotcha lures.

Early morning trout anglers should have some luck landing 1- to 2- pound speckled trout and an occasional gray trout on soft lures when the water is clear. 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 per day.

A big king mackerel, cobia or jack could be decked at any time by live-bait anglers when winds are light onshore and the water is clear and warm. Light onshore winds push warm surface Gulf Stream water inshore close to the beach along with baitfish and some big fish from deeper water offshore.

Anglers on the Melvin R. Daniels Bridge on the Nags Head/Roanoke Island causeway should catch a few speckled trout and a few keeper flounder just about every morning at sunrise.Black drum, an occasional puppy drum and bottom fish should be taken from the bridge sporadically during the day. Action usually is better during the morning.

Oregon Inlet area

Anglers fishing from the catwalk on the south end of the Bonner Bridge across Oregon Inlet should land some sheepshead, small bottom fish and mixed-sized bluefish. Stripers have been scarce in the area all year.

Anglers wading on the south sound side of the inlet should catch a few speckled trout, flounder and an occasional puppy drum.

Pea Island to Buxton

Surf fishing should be good in this area with lots of small bottom fish, pompano and a few puppy drum taken from deeper sloughs by bottom fishing anglers.

Bluefish and Spanish mackerel action should be good early mornings and late afternoons when the water is clear. Most of these fish will be landed on Stingsilvers.

Feeding gulls usually are a good sign that bluefish are tearing through schools of small baitfish, leaving scraps of fish and many wounded small fish behind. The remains of their feeding frenzies attract lots of hungry gulls, whose presence gives away the location of the feeding fish.

Pier anglers in Rodanthe and Avon should keep busy catching small spot, croaker, sea mullet, sand perch, pigfish, sheepshead and some spadefish. A few puppy drum should be taken on cut bait when the water is somewhat choppy. Anglers can keep one drum 18 to 27 inches in total length per person per day.

A few keeper flounder should be decked and quite a few small flounder should be released. Most of the keeper flounder will be caught either on live minnows or on bait strips fished on or near the bottom inshore close to a pier piling.

Bluefish and Spanish mackerel fishing should be good on the ends of piers when the water is clear. Early mornings and just before dark are the most productive times to fish, but sometimes runs can last all day when the weather is overcast.

Buxton to Hatteras Inlet

Fishing should be great at Cape Point with Spanish mackerel and bluefish landed on Stingsilvers just about every day when the water is clear. Anglers can keep 15 Spanish mackerel 12 inches or larger in fork length per person per day. Fork length is measured from the tip of the snout to the middle of the fork in the tail.

Small bottom fish, fair numbers of puppy drum and some keeper flounder also should be taken regularly in the Cape Point area.

Flounder, sheepshead and an occasional trout should be caught near the Buxton jetties. Surfcasters along the beach just south of the cape will land small bottom fish, blues, pompano and flounder.

Small bottom fish, bluefish and Spanish mackerel should be taken in the Frisco surf. Hatteras Inlet surf action should be good with puppy drum, bluefish and Spanish mackerel beached regularly along with small bottom fish.

Frisco pier anglers should deck small bottom fish when the water is somewhat dirty, and bluefish and Spanish mackerel when winds are light and the water is clear. A few nice flounder also will be caught on live bait. Anglers can keep eight flounder 15 1/2 inches or larger in total length per person per day.


Headboats fishing in the Oregon Inlet area should land small bottom fish and flounder.

Boaters trolling in the Oregon Inlet and Hatteras Inlet areas should deck lots of bluefish, some nice Spanish mackerel, albacore and some small king mackerel.

A few cobia will be taken in deeper water off Oregon Inlet.Anglers can keep two cobia 33 inches or larger in fork length per person per day.

Quite a few speckled trout and puppy drum should be caught by boaters fishing in the sounds west of Oregon and Hatteras inlets.


Blue water anglers off Oregon Inlet should land fair numbers of dolphin, tilefish and wahoo along with a few yellowfin tuna. An occasional big-eye tuna also may be taken. Billfish action should be good when winds are from a northerly direction.

Hatteras Gulf Stream anglers should hook and release fair numbers of billfish. Lots of mixed-sized dolphin, quite a few wahoo, some king mackerel and an occasional tuna should be decked. Anglers can keep three king mackerel 24 inches or larger in fork length per person per day.

Originally published by BY DAMON TATUMDAMON TATEM.

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