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Outer Banks Angling: A wooden stake

The title of this column may imply that I am going to be talking about how to bring down a mythical creature of the night, but I am not.
Last week the Outer Banks experienced a typical winter nor’easter. It was cold, wet and very windy. The wind generated a large ocean swell, and that swell packed a punch. A few places saw the water punch through along the Banks, and other spots took some damage from it. One of those places was the Rodanthe Pier.
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Will increased bluefin tuna quota benefit local fishermen -- or not?

Outer Banks fishermen will have more bluefin tuna quota than ever to work with this winter.  That is, if the lucrative big fish show up here, and the fishermen can get out of the shoaled inlets to catch them.

A new management rule that went into effect Jan. 1 effectively gives twice the general quota for bluefin over previous years for North Carolina through March 31. 

“They took the December quota and moved it up to Jan. 1,” said Charley Pereira, president of the Southeast Bluefin Tuna Association. “We’ve got double the quota – yeah baby! - but we’ve got very, very little inlet, to the point of danger.”  
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State to close more coastal waters to shellfishing  to save money

The state closed more than 300,000 acres of water bottom to shellfish harvests today as a way to save tax dollars spent on water quality monitoring with little impact to fishermen.

The closures – the result of funding cuts approved in last year’s state budget – will have an impact on areas of the Albemarle Sound, Currituck Sound, the upper Pungo River and the upper Neuse River. These waters have long been considered non-productive shellfish waters. Environmental conditions, such as salinity levels, are not conducive to growing oysters and clams, and little or no shellfish harvest occurs in these waters.
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Outer Banks Angling: Striped gold...WITH VIDEO

Anyone who was around the Outer Banks from the turn of the century through 2008 would have seen an absolute melee every winter. Anglers came from all around to join the local crowd to chase striped bass.

The fishery was hot and so was the winter money that came with it. Rental companies, motels, restaurants, tackle shops, charter boats and others were making some extra coin during the off-season by catering to the many anglers who came to catch these fish.

But, for the past several years, the striped bass fishery has been all but nonexistent, though the fish made a brief showing in the winter of 2011.

Our columnist, Rob Alderman, took a couple fishing trips recently with state researchers who are trying to find out more about striped bass and when we might be catching them again.  
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Outer Banks Angling: Getting jiggy

Winter is finally in full swing on the Outer Banks. The air is cold, the water is cold, and the fishing is mostly slow. But, because the weather has turned, doesn’t mean the fishing has completely shut down. I had a chance to get offshore and chase some blackfin tuna on butterfly jigs, and it was a very good day.  
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Outer Banks Angling: A wicked good time

The end of another year is finally upon us and what a great year it was. Overall, 2014 provided some great fishing. A variety of species were caught and provided tons of entertainment for all.

In 2014, we also saw something new for the Outer Banks – a national TV show highlighting our area’s fishing.

"Wicked Tuna: North vs. South" was spawned as a spinoff to National Geographic’s highly popular original, "Wicked Tuna," which is based out of Gloucester, Mass., and follows local commercial captains who chase bluefin tuna.

"Wicked Tuna: North vs. South" was filmed off the Outer Banks last winter and made its television debut on Aug. 17. Now we are wondering if a second season is in our future.
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License fees will rise in 2015 for commercial and recreational fishermen and hunters

The North Carolina General Assembly devoted much of the 2013 and 2014 sessions to slashing income taxes and raising the standard deductions, while tossing out most personal income tax deductions. The move was heralded as a way to allow taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned money.

But what the General Assembly gives, it also has the power to take away.

In addition to expanding sales tax base, the legislature also zeroed in on other sources of revenues including raising taxes (aka fees) on both commercial and recreational fishermen and hunters. 
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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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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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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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