The very best guide to charter fishing on the islands….WITH SLIDE SHOW

If you’ve never been fishing off Hatteras or Ocracoke, it’s definitely worth looking into.  The variety of trips, boats, captains, and species of fish available is quite impressive, and there are options that can accommodate almost any budget or interest.

That said, with so many options available, choosing the right charter can be a daunting task, especially for first-timers. To make it a little bit easier, The Island Free Press has compiled a guide to Hatteras and Ocracoke charter fishing.  With answers to frequently asked questions, information on everything from choosing a boat to cleaning your fish, advice on making your trip more enjoyable, and pictures to rouse your inner angler, this guide is designed help get you off the docks and on the water. 
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Marine Fisheries Continues Red Snapper Carcass Collection Through Extended Mini-Season

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will continue to collect red snapper carcasses from recreational fishermen through an extension of this year’s mini-season to help federal officials better assess the population and health of red snapper. 
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Peer Review Workshop For Regional Southern Flounder Stock Assessment Set

Staff with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will hold a three-day, in-person workshop Dec. 12-14 with scientists who are peer reviewing a draft assessment of the southeast regional southern flounder stock. 
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The Big Flounder

In August of 2011, Hurricane Irene battered the coast of North Carolina and created a breech in highway 12, in the Pea Island area.  As time was wasted, the breech grew larger and the only solution seemed to be building a bridge.  Access to Hatteras Island via Highway 12 was cut off for two months.  Week after week I canceled my offshore charters and refunded deposits.  Moral was low, and I really needed something to do. 
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Avon Pier Extends Season Through the Weekend Due to Historic Fishing Conditions...WITH SLIDE SHOW

The Avon Fishing Pier typically closes for the season on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but this year, historic fishing conditions have led to a week-long extension – and some very happy anglers.

For the first couple of days after the annual wintertime closure, the longtime manager of the pier, Keith Matthews, typically lets some of the locals fish while he is cleaning up and preparing the pier house for the winter. 
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Marine Fisheries Commission seeks advisers

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission is looking for commercial and recreational fishermen, scientists and other interested parties to sit on various fisheries advisory committees.

Two regional advisory committees – Northern and Southern – and three standing advisory committees – Finfish, Habitat and Water Quality, and Shellfish/Crustacean – review matters referred to them by the commission, such as draft fishery management plans. Committees may also bring fisheries issues pertaining to their region or subject matter to the commission’s attention. 
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Recreational Reopening of Red Snapper set for December 8, 9, & 10, 2017       

The recreational harvest of red snapper in South Atlantic federal waters will reopen for three days in December 2017, per a press release from the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.  Read more






Marine Fisheries Commission Goes Forward with Plan for No Recreational Cobia Season Closure

North Carolina will put forward a three-year plan for recreational vessel limits for cobia that does not include a closed season. 
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November Fishing Report - it’s King Mackerel Season

Walking around the docks in November, you’ll quickly notice that things have changed in the fishing fleet of Hatteras Village.  A number of the charter boats have removed their fighting chairs, which were used daily for anglers to battle their “fish of a lifetime.”  In their place, “kill boxes” have been positioned, which is the first place a commercially caught king mackerel lands after being brought aboard. 
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Results Of The 60th Annual Surf Fishing Tournament

Team Advanced Fishing took first place in the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club 60th Annual Invitational Fishing Tournament with 49 fish totaling 168 points. This is the second year in a row that the Advanced Fishing team has taken first place in the tournament. 
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2017 Bob Bernard Tournament Winners

A seven--pound, two- ounce Red Drum was the largest fish caught in the annual Bob Bernard Open Individual Surf Fishing Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 4. The large fish was caught by Timothy Taheri of Herndon, Virginia. 
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Cape Hatteras Anglers Club will Celebrate its 60th year of its Annual Invitation Surf Fishing Tournament

According to a history of the Anglers Club, the first tournament took place Oct. 23, 24 and 25, 1958 under the auspices of the Surf Anglers Clubs Association and only member clubs of the association could fish the tournament. The tournament also was open to organized teams of the U.S. Military. Nineteen teams from six states fished the first tournament, with headquarters at Bert’s Seafood Market, now the location of Diamond Shoals Restaurant. 
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NCBBA’s 9th Annual Red Drum Tournament Final Results

The NCBBA’s 9th annual Red Drum Fishing Tournament wrapped up on Saturday, October 28, after a nice run of great weather and exceptional fishing.

There were 263 participants in this year’s tournament, (which included 36 participant judges), who were angling for more than $8,500.00 in cash and prizes.
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Albatross Fall Female Classic Raises $3,300 for Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation...WITH SLIDE SHOW

This year marked the Albatross Fleet’s 80th anniversary, and while the famed local fleet has held big celebrations for prior anniversaries, this year they decided that they wanted to celebrate the milestone occasion by giving back to the community. 
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October Fishing “Change is a good thing”!

While September lets you know that change is in the air, October IS the change.

Northeasters and cooler temperatures become more frequent, the air conditioner gets a break as the windows open more often, and sweatshirts are pulled out of the closet for the chilly mornings that can sometimes start out in the high 50s. 
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The Albatross Fleet Celebrating 80 Years of Endurance

It is early morning, and just over the horizon and rising with the sun come the notable red and white striped outriggers of the Albatross Fleet.

80 years ago in 1937, the Albatross was the first boat built in North Carolina for the express purpose of Offshore charter boat fishing. All these years later, this fleet proudly maintains its unique round stern design, which has been meticulously updated and taken care of since first being launched. 
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Free Month-Long Fishing Tournament Offers Big Prizes while Collecting Essential Data

Anglers throughout Hatteras Island and the Outer Banks are invited to join a free October fishing tournament that not only offers some enticing prizes, but also helps to collect imperative data on coastal North Carolina spot and croaker catches. 
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Fishing Photos Bring Insight to Local Industry’s Past and Future

For as long as there has been an ocean, there have been brave fishermen to harvest the treasure from its shores. Indeed, there is a rich history of fishing along the Atlantic coast, and especially on Hatteras Island.

However, as government regulations increase and long-standing traditions cease, it has become more and more imperative to preserve this way of life. Though not always an easy group to get a hold of, one photographer chose to enter into this foreign world and learn something new about his fellow islanders.    Read more




Net Changes: 20 Years Since Fisheries Reform

A summit recognizing the 20th anniversary this year of the Fisheries Reform Act is set to revisit the creation of North Carolina’s first comprehensive fisheries management law.

Hosted by the nonprofit Outer Banks Catch, the summit is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27, at the Washington Civic Center in Beaufort County. Coffee and donuts will be served at 9:30 a.m. and a light lunch will be provided. Registration is required. The fee is $10. 
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Fishing Offshore In The Fall … My Favorite!

After 30+ years at the helm of an offshore charter boat out of Hatteras, I’d love to have a dollar for every time somebody asked me “When’s the best time to fish?”

The truth is, you can have that banner day just about any time of the year.  I’ve watched cycles and transitions.  I’ve seen summers with hardly any grass and consequently very few dolphin.  I’ve been booked every day in April, where all you had to do was get out there to fill the box with yellowfin.  
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New oyster regulations lower commercial trip limit for some license holders

New oyster harvest regulations going into effect this year lower the daily commercial trip limit for Shellfish License holders.

Harvest of oysters by hand methods from public water bottom will open at sunrise Oct. 15. Those who hold appropriate commercial fishing licenses may harvest oysters between sunrise and sunset, Monday through Friday each week. 
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Federation Receives $1.088 Million NOAA Grant for Oyster Restoration

The North Carolina Coastal Federation received $1.088 million in funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to continue its oyster restoration work in Pamlico Sound. Construction on the second phase of the project is slated to begin next January.

This is the second year the federation has received funding from NOAA’s Community-based Restoration Program for its oyster restoration work. Last year, it was awarded a $1.275 million grant. By the end of the three-year period, the federation could receive up to $3.8 million for oyster reef construction. This funding supports the federation’s goal to build 50 acres of oyster reef statewide through its 50 Million Oyster Initiative. 
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NCBBA’s 9th Annual Red Drum Tournament

It is time to register for this year’s NCBBA Annual Red Drum Tournament.

This year’s event will be held October 25, 26, 27 and 28, 2017 on the northern beaches of Hatteras Island. The four-day event will once again be hosted by and headquartered at Frank and Fran’s in Avon, with registration beginning at 10 a.m. on October 25.
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Marine Fisheries Commission seeks advisers for southern flounder committee

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission is looking for commercial and recreational fishermen and scientists to serve on the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan Advisory Committee.
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Hatteras boat wins Alice Kelly billfish tourney

The fishing wasn’t exactly on fire for the 28th annual Alice Kelly Memorial Ladies Only Billfish Tournament. The record 97 boats competing had to search hard in their efforts to find fish. 
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Grant money available for transient recreational boating facilities

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is accepting proposals for the Boating Infrastructure Grant, or BIG, Program for federal fiscal year 2018.

BIG is a grant program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that reimburses up to 75 percent of costs for projects that construct, renovate or maintain tie-up facilities and related amenities for recreational transient vessels that are at least 26 feet long. The grant program was authorized by Congress in 1998 and is funded by excise taxes on fishing equipment and motorboat fuel.  
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33-Inch Dolphin Reeled in at Avon Pier

A 33-inch long dolphin was caught of the Avon Pier on Tuesday morning, June 27. Reeled in by J.R., a regular to the Avon Pier, the catch has been making waves on social media, and was followed with a comparable dolphin catch off of Nags Head’s Jennette’s Pier the following day.  
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State urges fishermen to learn the difference between king mackerel and Spanish mackerel

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is asking anglers to make sure they know how to distinguish between king mackerel and Spanish mackerel before keeping one of the fish. 
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Anglers may receive a survey from the Division of Marine Fisheries

North Carolina recreational anglers holding a current Coastal Recreational Fishing License may receive a survey conducted by the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries in the coming months. 
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State expands nationwide search for head of N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries 

State environmental officials are reopening and expanding their nationwide search for a director for the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries.  
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Commercial fishermen reminded to renew their licenses

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is reminding watermen they need to renew their commercial fishing licenses and permits by June 30 to continue fishing, or in some cases, keep their licenses.

All commercial fishing licenses expire on June 30 each year.
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Coastal recreational fishermen hooked fewer fish in 2016

Coastal recreational fishermen hooked fewer fish in 2016 than they did in 2015.

Anglers brought an estimated 8.5 million fish to the docks in 2016, a decrease of 18 percent from 2015. 
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Shrimp catches and sales soared, but overall commercial landings lower in 2016

A warm autumn kept commercial fishermen catching and selling shrimp up to New Year’s Eve last year, boosting 2016 shrimp landings to the highest since the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Trip Ticket Program began in 1994.

But overall, the 60 million pounds of finfish and shellfish commercial fishermen caught and sold at the docks was a 9 percent decrease from 2015. The total estimated dockside value of $94 million was about $700,000 short of the 2015 value. 
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Outer Banks Chamber Adopts Resolution Opposing NC House Bill 867

On May 15, 2017, the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce adopted a resolution to oppose North Carolina House Bill 867, also known as the Coastal Fisheries Conservation and Economic Development Act. The resolution was announced via a press release from Angie Brady-Daniels, Vice President of Events & Communications for the Chamber.
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New bluefish release category added to N.C. Saltwater Fishing Tournament

Anglers can soon be recognized for releasing large bluefish.

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Saltwater Fishing Tournament, known commonly as the Citation Program, will add a bluefish release category beginning May 15. Anglers can receive a citation (certificate) for the release of a bluefish that measures 34 inches or longer. 
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New marine fisheries rules take effect May 1

Several marine fisheries rule changes will take effect May 1. They include six rule changes to implement amendments to the Oyster and Hard Clam fishery management plans and rule changes establishing a new permit for weekend trawling for live shrimp

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission approved the rules and the amendments to the Oyster and Hard Clam fishery management plans at its February meeting.
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New recreational cobia regulations take effect May 1

New size and bag limits will go into effect May 1 for the recreational cobia fishery in North Carolina waters.

The minimum size limit will increase to 36 inches fork length (measured from the tip of snout to the fork in the tail). The possession limit will decrease to one fish per-person per-day, with a maximum of four fish per-vessel per-day, if four or more people are on board a vessel.    Read more



Outer Banks Angling: Spring is upon us

It’s very surreal sitting here and typing an article for the first time for the Island Free Press, since the passing of Irene Nolan.

If someone was to ask any of my teachers if I would've been writing for any reason in my later years, they probably would have chuckled… and so would I. Irene got me motivated to write about fishing, and it is something that I will never forget. 
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Sens. Cook, Sanderson File Resolution for Revisions to Federal Shellfish Regs

Senator Bill Cook (R-District 1) and Senator Norman W. Sanderson (R-District 2) recently filed Senate Joint Resolution 205, which encourages the Wilmington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to allow shellfish cultivation and aquaculture activities in North Carolina waters containing submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). 
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Study: Seismic Testing Disrupts Fish Behavior

Almost anyone who’s thrown a hook in the water to catch a fish in a quiet atmosphere probably knows intuitively that loud noises spook them: you don’t scream at fish to bite, after all, you wait patiently.

But intuition isn’t science, and seismic airguns don’t make just any loud noise, so when University of North Carolina Institute of Marine Sciences doctoral student Avery Paxton and some colleagues got the opportunity to do some real science on an issue that’s germane to the hot topic of oil and gas exploration by seismic surveys, they jumped at the chance. 
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