Shellfish Area Closures: There’s An App For That!

A new web application on the Division of Marine Fisheries website will help fishermen find what shellfishing waters are open or closed to harvest in real time.
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Heat Wave: Fishing is Hot in July on the Islands

On the news, all you hear these days is about how hot it is everywhere.  Oh, it has been hot indeed, but we are blessed to be surrounded by eighty-something degree water which keeps us a bit cooler in the summer than areas inland.  There are definitely pros and cons to living on a barrier island that sticks out in the Atlantic Ocean.  The same water that keeps us cooler in the summer helps keep us a bit warmer in the winter as well. 
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Funds from the BIG Grant Program Available for Transient Recreational Boating Facilities

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is accepting proposals for the Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program for federal fiscal year 2019.
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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Beware of Private Online Sites That Appear to Sell Fishing Licenses

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are reminding the public to beware of private online sites that appear to sell state fishing licenses. 
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Spotted Seatrout Season Reopens

The spotted seatrout fishing season reopened today in North Carolina waters.

The recreational bag limit will be four-fish per person per day, and the minimum size limit will be 14 inches total length. All undersized or over the daily harvest limit fish caught must be immediately returned to the waters where taken, regardless of the condition of the fish. 
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Fisheries Bills May Not Get Heard Before Legislature Adjourns

State legislators are getting a crash course in commercial fisheries due to the variety of fishing issues addressed in a pair of bills filed in the short session.

But time is running out for those proposals to be heard in the N.C. General Assembly, as lawmakers plan to wrap up their work as soon as the end of this week. 
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2017 Totals for Coastal Recreational Fishing Released by Division of Marine Fisheries

The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries announced the tallies of coastal recreational fishing landings for 2017 via a press release that was issued on Thursday, June 12. 
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Building Connections and Conversations - Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance Visits Hatteras Island

On the first weekend in June, members of the partnered Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance and the National Family Farm Coalition landed on Hatteras Island as one of the first stops on a two-month tour of the country.

Spending their time talking with locals from all corners of the seafood and fishing industry, the group was on a fact-finding mission of sorts, to discuss current problems that affect the fishing and farming industries on a local – and global – scale. 
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Don’t blink, Summer is Here!

For some reason, the transition from spring to summer happened in the blink of an eye this year.  It seems like Highway 12 instantly changed from a quiet rural road to a freeway of vehicles laden with fishing gear and kayaks.  Hatteras Island is a most popular vacation destination because of its great beaches and surf, awesome fishing, and lack of commercialization compared to the beaches on the mainland. 
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New Bycatch Reduction Devices to be Required in Shrimp Trawls in Pamlico Sound

Beginning in the summer of 2019, new gear configurations will be required in shrimp trawls used in some waters of the state, including the Pamlico Sound.  
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Hatteras Inlet’s Navigable Condition and Emergency Ferry Channel Covered at Waterways Commission Meeting

As the fishing tournament season kicked off this week in Hatteras, members of the Dare County Waterways Commission were relieved that conditions in Hatteras Inlet are finally in good shape. 
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Anglers Land More Fish This Year in the Ocracoke Island Surf Fishing Tournament...WITH SLIDE SHOW

Kevin Jacobs’ huge drum caught Friday during the 35th annual Ocracoke Invitational Surf Fishing Tournament was so large it broke the judges’ rulers.

Well, it didn’t exactly break the measuring tool, but the 42 3/4-inch fish exceeded the ruler’s length. 
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NCWU Asks Governor for Charter/Headboats Seats on Marine Fisheries Commission

The North Carolina Watermen United (NCWU) recently sent a letter to Governor Cooper requesting dedicated seats for Charter/Headboats in the re-organization of the Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC). 
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Fishing in May Can Be Memorable

As I drove back from Nags Head yesterday passing SUVs with kayaks on their roofs and motor homes with bicycles strapped on the back, the reality of summer being right around the corner became blatantly clear.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the thermometer in my truck displayed that it was a comfortable 74 degrees.  Joggers inhabited the bike paths in the Tri-villages, and 4x4s with full rod racks slacked their tires in preparation for a ride out on our beautiful beaches.
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Public Comments Requested for Limited Opening of Recreational and Commercial Red Snapper Fishery in South Atlantic Federal Waters

NOAA Fisheries has requested comments from the public on Amendment 43 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (which includes North Carolina to the Florida Keys). 
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North Carolina Fisheries Association Meetings with Local Fishermen Scheduled for April

The North Carolina Fisheries Association (NCFA) has scheduled some meetings along the coast for fishermen and supporters to discuss very important issues for the commercial fishing community and the upcoming Seafood Lobby Day in Raleigh. Scheduled for May 23rd, Seafood Lobby Day is less than six weeks away.
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St. Paddy’s Day Bluefin Catch Breaks State Record

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries confirmed that a massive bluefin tuna that was caught on St. Patrick’s Day off the coast of Oregon Inlet does indeed break the North Carolina State Record.
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Early Easter

I’ve been so busy doing boat work that I didn’t have a chance to do a fishing report for March, but it’s probably not a bad month to miss since April is really when things begin to warm up and change.
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NC Fisheries Association Files Lawsuit Against Marine Fisheries Commission

NC Fisheries Association has filed a lawsuit against the Marine Fisheries Commission for violating open meeting laws and an overall lack of transparency and openness.
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New Artificial Reef South of Oregon Inlet Receives CRFL Funding

 A new artificial reef to be constructed eight miles south of the Oregon Inlet sea buoy has been funded by a grant from the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries. Through the sale of Coastal Recreational Fishing Licenses, a two year grant in the amount of $882,000 has been awarded to the Oregon Inlet Artificial Reef Committee for the construction of AR-165. 
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Commercial Watermen Recover 3,496 Lost Crab Pots from Coastal Waters

This was the second year that the Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project took place along the entire North Carolina coast.

A total of 76 commercial watermen worked throughout the coast of North Carolina in January to collect 3,496 lost crab pots as part of a statewide marine debris removal effort to prevent hazards for people and wildlife. 
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Winners of Cape Hatteras Anglers Club 2017 Members Fishing Contest Announced

After a year competing for largest fish caught in 2017 by a member of the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club the winners were honored at the Surf Fishing Contest Awards Dinner Feb. 10 at the Anglers Club. 
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Hatteras Fishing in February

I probably jumped the gun when I wrote about bluefins in January.  Yes, that is when they typically make their appearance, but in February things really get rockin’.  Of course things are always subject to change, but for the last ten or more years, February and March have been the best of it. 
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Surprises and New Commercial Fishing Requirements surface at MFC Meeting

Several surprise motions were passed at the February 14-15 North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission’s (MFC) meeting in Wrightsville Beach. 
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New Buoys Going on Estuarine Artificial Reefs and Oyster Sanctuaries

Anglers who fish on artificial reefs and oyster sanctuaries in the rivers and sounds will notice some changes to the buoys this spring.  
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Three Appointments Made to Marine Fisheries Commission

Gov. Cooper has appointed three individuals to the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission. 
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North Carolina Watermen United Elect  New Board President and Vice Presidents

The Board of Directors of the North Carolina Watermen United (NCWU) elected a new President and two Co-Vice Presidents at a recent meeting to kick off 2018. 
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The Controversy Surrounding the Proposed Commercial Fishing License Changes

Watermen are up in arms about a proposal that could restrict commercial fishing licenses to people who earn half their income from fishing, fulfill at least three dozen trip tickets annually and provide $10,000 a year per crew.  Otherwise, they could be kicked into an inactive pool. 
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How Winter Temps Can Affect Spring Fishing

Cold winter weather can play a key role in what you’re allowed to fish for next spring. That point was driven home when low temperatures in early January led North Carolina to temporarily bar fishing for spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus), one of the most popular targets for recreational anglers. 
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Marine Fisheries Commission Accepting Public Comment on Proposed Changes to Commercial Fishing License

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission is accepting public comment on five recommended changes to the commercial fishing license structure it plans to further discuss at its February meeting. 

“Nothing here is etched in stone,” said commission Chairman Sammy Corbett. 
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Recreational Black Sea Bass Season North Of Cape Hatteras Opens Feb. 1

The recreational black sea bass fishing season will open Feb. 1 in federal and North Carolina waters north of Cape Hatteras.
The minimum size limit will be 12.5 inches total length (tip of the snout to the tip of the tail), and the bag limit will be 15 fish per person, per day. The season will close Feb. 28. 
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Council Seeks Input on Proposed Changes for Atlantic Cobia Management

Members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council are soliciting public input on proposed management changes for Atlantic cobia as they consider revising the current management system. Public hearings will be held via webinar with public listening stations beginning January 22, 2018. Information on the proposed changes is now available from the Council’s website at: Written comments are also being solicited using the online comment form available from the website page. 
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Annual Pot Closure Period Begins Jan. 15

The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries is reminding fishermen of the annual pot removal period beginning Jan. 15 and ending Feb. 7.
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Committee To Define ‘Commercial Fisherman’

A committee of North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission members will meet Thursday to develop a definition of a commercial fisherman.

The meeting starts at 1 p.m. in the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Central District Office, 5285 U.S. 70 West, Morehead City. 
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Happy New Year! An Inside Look at Wintertime Fishing

All the weather forecasters have predicted a cold winter.  We just survived a blizzard, and the temperatures are supposed to be below freezing for a week.  That’s enough for me, but just like the fall, you never know what you’re gonna get.  It seems like forever till spring, but three months will go by like a flash and I’ll switch back over to my preferred attire of shorts and a t-shirt. 
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Steve Murphey Named Fisheries Director

Steve Murphey will serve as the new director for the Division of Marine Fisheries or DMF, effective immediately, a spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality confirmed Thursday. 
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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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