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Ocracoke surf-fishing tournament still at top of its game

The 71 fishing teams were all in a good mood Friday evening, April 29, as the 33rd annual Ocracoke Invitational Surf Fishing Tournament came to an end.

Amidst the beer, good  food -- barbecue, black-eyed peas, potato salad and cole slaw -- supplied by Jack Edwards and the Carolina Boys and under the big tent at the Community Center’s awards party, groups were in a mood to talk. 
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State fisheries agency plans survey of commercial fishermen

Commercial fishermen who fish in the Atlantic Ocean off of North Carolina may receive a questionnaire in the mail or by phone call in the coming weeks and months for an N.C Division of Marine Fisheries survey. 
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UPDATE: Fisheries Councils plan public meeting and webinar on cobia closure

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, in conjunction with the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, will hold a Q-and-A public meeting in Kitty Hawk to address cobia management issues.

Stakeholders can attend in two ways -- in person on Monday, May 9, from 6 until 8 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks/Kitty Hawk at 5353 N. Virginia Dare Trail in Kitty Hawk or they can listen in via  a webinar. 
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Director of state coastal division named to lead state fisheries division

State environmental department Secretary Donald R. van der Vaart today named Braxton Davis, director of the state Division of Coastal Management, to lead the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries effective immediately.

For the immediate future, the divisions will remain separate entities housed under the state’s environmental agency, and Davis will lead both divisions as director. The department intends to examine ways in which the two divisions can achieve efficiencies in operations.
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Marine Fisheries certifies new state record false albacore

The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries has certified a new state record for false albacore. Michael Voytkowski of Waverly, Pa., reeled in the 32-pound fish in April 7, 2015, but only recently applied for the state record honor. 
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Outer Banks Angling: Getting there fast

After what can only be described as an amazing month of weather, inshore fishing is faring quite well for March.

The temps averaged mid-60s and higher most of the month with a dominant southwest wind the better part of it -- which is rare for March. March is generally unpredictable and brings as much foul weather as it does good weather, but March of 2016 broke the mold. 
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State seeking public comment on blue crab management

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is accepting public comment on management options for the blue crab fishery. The management measures are required under Amendment 2 to the N.C. Blue Crab Fishery Management Plan to improve the condition of the state’s blue crab stock.
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The Rodanthe Pier will open again – just in time for Easter

After months of battering storms, followed by lengthy repairs and public speculation on when – and even if – the Rodanthe Pier would reopen for the season, the word is out that the pier will be welcoming anglers once again starting Easter weekend.

The pier has had a long history of brushes with storms, but this past fall and winter have been especially brutal, with a section of the pier being damaged -- and later unceremoniously removed by heavy seas -- during two major weather events.
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Local angler’s knack for customizations goes global

If you’re a fishermen, and you’ve been to Rodanthe, then you probably already know Ryan White. Owner of Hatteras Jack -- a store that was started by his dad and grandfather in the 1980s -- Ryan has been a fixture on the local fishing scene for more than 20 years and has helped scores of tourists and locals buy, maintain, or customize their reels and rods since 1997.

But recently, Ryan’s ability to alter a fishing rod or reel to work best in local surf-casting conditions has developed into a major operation, and the reels and rods that Ryan once only created for his friends and frequent customers are now propelling him to national attention -- in fishing circles, anyways.
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UPDATE: Recreational harvest of cobia will close June 20

NOAA Fisheries announced this week that the recreational harvest of Atlantic migratory group cobia will close at 12:01 a.m. on June 20, 2016. Recreational harvest of cobia will reopen on January 1, 2017. 
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Fisheries Commission lowers cobia bag limit for recreational anglers

Recreational fishermen should expect to see a reduced cobia bag limit starting Saturday, Feb. 27, and a season closure this summer. The Marine Fisheries Commission voted at its meeting last week to lower the cobia daily recreational bag limit to one fish per person. The current recreational bag limit for cobia is two fish per person. 
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Embattled Marine Fisheries director steps down

The executive director of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries abruptly stepped down from his job on Monday.

Louis Daniel has led the agency since January 2007, through an occasionally tumultuous period that saw recreational and commercial fishing interests fighting. Last year Daniel was caught in the cross-fire over what steps should be taken to preserve the Southern flounder.

The announcement was made in an e-mail from the Department of Environmental Quality deputy secretary to all employees. John Evans said in the e-mail that Col. Jim Kelley will serve as acting director.

Kelley has been with the N.C. Marine Patrol for nearly 25 years and has been its leader since January 2014, according to the department.

Read the story in the Raleigh News & Observer.

Anglers Club members win awards for the year's biggest fish

Seven citation-size fish, including a 50-inch red drum and a 40-pound cobia were among the award-winning fish cited at the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club Members' Surf Fishing Contest Awards banquet on Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Anglers Club in Buxton. 
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Marine Fisheries certifies new state record white marlin

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has certified a new state record for white marlin. Neil Manning of Ashburn, Va., reeled in the 138-pound fish Nov. 16 while fishing off Hatteras. 
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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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