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Outer Banks Angling: 'Tis the season

Fishing remained mighty fair through the end of November and the beginning of this month. Now we are well into December, and we have begun to hit that point where the fishing tends to slow down. In the first week or so of this month, the Outer Banks saw a northeaster and a dwindling number of visitors and fishermen overall.

Red drum of all sizes continue to be picked at along the beaches, and some nice speckled trout have made a couple of appearances. If you search for a decent slough from the Buxton jetties down towards Frisco, you may have a chance at a speck or two.  
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Dispute leaves Oregon Inlet Fishing Center lease up in the air

Oregon Inlet Fishing Center will be operated under an extended contract for another year while the National Park Service reevaluates terms that were rejected in October by the center’s board.

Neither the Park Service nor representatives of Oregon Inlet Fishing Center Inc. would elaborate on details of the disagreement, but both parties profess to want to find a solution.  
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Outer Banks Angling: Deep Freeze

In true Outer Banks fashion, someone threw a switch and the weather took a hard turn to cold. Any local resident or frequent visitor can tell you that the weather around here can go from one extreme to another in the blink of an eye—and that’s exactly what has happened.

After having had a mild fall, winter has found us overnight and has made for some bone-chilling temperatures. Most of the country has been hit by severe winter weather  in the past week.

But, the cooler temps don’t  mean that the area fishing will crash—just yet.  
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Weather and fish cooperated in 57th annual Anglers Club tournament...WITH SLIDE SHOW

The Cape Hatteras Anglers Club Invitational Surf Fishing Tournament bills itself as the largest in the world, and with 120 six-person teams, it would be hard to deny the claim.

The annual tournament— this was the 57th competition—is a two-day affair almost always scheduled the Thursday and Friday before the first full weekend of November. There is an exception based on when Halloween falls, but that doesn’t happen very often.

The fishing was good this year; not record-setting like it was nine or ten years ago, but certainly better than it has been for the past two or three years. With a calm ocean and mild temperatures, Thursday was the better day, but teams were finding fish on Friday as well.  
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Outer Banks Angling: The drum keeps on beating...WITH VIDEO

2014 has been an absolutely stellar year for red drum fishing. Red drum of all sizes have been caught all year.

Whether it was cold and snowing or it was sunny and beautiful, finding a red drum in a fishing report has not been hard. Everyone has noticed the overwhelming puppy drum population in the Outer Banks waters.  
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State certifies new skipjack tuna record caught south of Hatteras Inlet

The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries has certified a new skipjack tuna state record. Matthew Charles K caught south of Hatteras Inlet
elly of Chesapeake, Va., reeled in the 32-pound fish on Aug. 31 while fishing in the Gulf Stream south of Hatteras Inlet.  
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52-inch red drum takes first in annual NCBBA tournament...WITH SLIDE SHOW

The drum fishing was really hot as the sixth annual North Carolina Beach Buggy Association Red Drum Tournament got underway in the early morning hours of Thursday, Oct. 23, on Hatteras Island's northern beaches. A cold front had just passed through the area, temperatures were cool, and the wind was blowing at 25 to 30 mph from the northwest -- apparently great weather for catching the fish.

In the last session on the first day, Jamie Fajardo of Fuquay Varina, N.C., reeled in a 52-inch red drum, which turned out to be the tournament winner.
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An optimistic outlook for oyster season

The oyster season opened in North Carolina on Oct.. 15, and officials with the state Division of Marine Fisheries believe the harvest will be a good one in most areas.

The relatively small daily commercial limit in southern waters of five bushels per person or 10 bushels per operation in some waters has some fishermen griping, but it will be just fine with waterman Sammy Corbett of Hampstead.

“It’s plenty,” said Corbett, a member of the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission, the policy-making arm of the division. “Some people would like to raise it to 10, but I’m dead set against it. We’ve got a decent population of oysters, but there are just so many people who will be out there down in this area. We haven’t been able to get any shell planted the last couple of years, and we can’t just keep taking without putting something back.”
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Jeff Oden talks about the pressures on commercial fishermen on 'To the Point'...WITH AUDIO

Jeff Oden of Hatteras village, who has been a commercial fisherman for 37 years, was the guest on Sunday, Oct. 19, on the new Radio Hatteras interview show, "To the Point."

On the show, Oden talked about his life as a waterman the increasing pressures on his industry from federal and state regulators, the recreational fishing lobby, and environmental groups, just to name a few.
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Outer Banks Angling: Catch them while you can

Fall is in full swing, and the fishing is quite good. October is known for its cooler temps, less traffic, and fishing tournaments. It only makes sense that the fishing gets better also.

The drum bite has been really good of late from one end of the Outer Banks to the other.
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Lawsuit would force agencies to manage recreational turtle bycatch

Two commercial fishing organizations yesterday filed litigation in U.S. District Court in Raleigh alleging that several agencies and their representatives have failed to abide by the Endangered Species Act  in the protection of sea turtles.

The fishing groups ask that state and federal agencies be ordered to implement regulations to manage the incidental take of threatened and endangered sea turtles by recreational fishermen.  
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2013 commercial and recreational fish and shellfish harvests released

The state’s commercial fishing harvest continued in a three-year decreasing trend in 2013; while the dockside value of that harvest increased for the third straight year.

Commercial fishermen sold 50 million pounds of fish and shellfish at North Carolina docks in 2013, a 12 percent decrease from 2012 and 21 percent less than the five-year average, according to the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Trip Ticket Program. However, the dockside value of the catch rose to $79 million, 9 percent higher than in 2012 and 4 percent higher than the five-year average.  
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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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