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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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NCBBA needs judges for red drum tourney

The North Carolina Beach Buggy Association badly needs judges for its ninth annual Red Drum Tournament on Oct. 22-25.If you are interested in being a judge, you will be compensated for your time with a free entry into the tournament for the times when you are not judging.
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  It's time to register for NCBBA Red Drum Tournament

The North Carolina Beach Buggy Association's sixth annual Red Drum Tournament will be Oct. 22-25 on the northern beaches of Hatteras Island, and time is running out to register.

If you register by Sept. 1, you will be guaranteed a T-shirt in the correct size. As an extra bonus, those registering by that date will also receive a 50th anniversary T-shirt, courtesy of Flying Fish Ink.
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Marine Fisheries chairman Paul Rose dies suddenly

Paul Rose, chairman of the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission, 52, of Moyock died on Wednesday, Sept. 24, of an apparent heart attack.

Rose was a commercial crabber, pound netter, and fish dealer who ran Paul Rose Seafood.
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Outer Banks Angling: Autumn

Monday was the first official day of fall, and it sure feels like it around here. Cooler temps and a northeast wind generally signify that summer is behind us. That's okay. Fall is just as much fun and can be just as entertaining on the Outer Banks.

If we are lucky, our weather pattern gradually shifts with an occasional, small northeaster in the mix. This allows the migrating fish a chance to move close to the shore nice and slow and will generally allow for a good, extended fall fishing season.

All the signs tell us that the fall fishing is just beginning.  
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Outer Banks Angling:  September brings signs of what's to come

Generally, September brings a little relief from the heat, a break in the traffic, and beaches reopen -- to some degree -- after seasonal resource closures. Residents relax a little and want to play more. And visitors can take advantage of smaller crowds, more beach access, and better deals on accommodations, along with some price cuts from local retailers looking to move overstocked items.

Most importantly, September means fall fishing could begin very soon. The crucial factor is the weather pattern over the next couple of weeks. What are the air temps?  What are the water temps? And, finally, what direction is the wind blowing?  All of these will affect fishing.
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Outer Banks Angling:  The wicked North vs. the glorious South

Fishing columnist Rob Alderman has believed for quite some time that the Outer Banks needs national exposure to promote its fishing. We need something to put our world-class fleets, marinas, and fishing grounds in the face of the masses -- and "Wicked Tuna: North vs. South" might just do that.

The program, he says, could potentially help drive fishermen to our waters -- anglers who wouldn't necessarily come this way.  
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Outer Banks Angling: Where has it gone?

I am relatively positive that I have started most of my columns this year talking about the weather. It's been hard not too. It's been difficult to circumvent this wild year of meteorological events when you're discussing fishing. Lately, we've had a lot of hard rain and thunderstorms -- not to mention Tropical Storm Bertha skirting us and stirring up the seas.

Weather like that can hamper beach and pier fishing, along with wading and kayaking.

Boats can generally outrun severe storms. However, as usual, we all have managed to make the best of it.  
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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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Marine Fisheries certifies new state record African pompano

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has certified a new state record African pompano. Toby Grantham, of Knightdale, N.C., reeled in the 46-pound fish on May 11 while fishing off Atlantic Beach.  
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Outer Banks Angling: The summer doldrums

The month of July has been quite interesting in the weather department.From hurricanes to mini-northeasters, hard southwest winds, and torrential downpours, we have seen it all.

But the weather is not responsible for the slower fishing. It's just summer.  
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Outer Banks Angling: Summer time....WITH VIDEO

We are just barely into the official start of summer and the heat has already found us, along with plenty of visitors. The highway has seen a mighty large influx of traffic as of late, accompanied by a mighty large influx of heat.

Some of these high heat days had very little wind and made inshore fishing slow, but for the most part fishing has remained fair all along the Outer Banks.

First and foremost, the offshore yellowfin tuna action has been red hot. You could ride by most local marinas and find almost every boat in the fleet absent from its dock slip in the early hours--only to be back most days before noon.  
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Outer Banks Angling: Almost there

It will not be much longer before the official start of summer. The days are getting longer and the temps are getting warmer--finally.

We are currently caught in a front that has brought some spring-like temperatures, which is nice, considering we had gone from cold weather to 90 degrees almost overnight. Getting a little milder weather with low humidity and cooler temps has been welcomed with open arms.

The fishing has been solid overall.  
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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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Ridge Anglers of Kitty Hawk take first place in Ocracoke tournament…WITH SLIDE SHOW

The Ridge Anglers of Kitty Hawk, first-place winners of the annual Ocracoke Invitational Surf Fishing Tournament last week, had a specific strategy for their top ranking. “Fish hard,” said team captain Brandon Phillips.

Their total points of 77 with 23 fish caught bested the other 69 teams in the 31st year of this springtime event on the island. Fishing days were Thursday and Friday, May 1-2.  
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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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