What’s on the line? It’s a bird, it’s a plane — it’s a sea robin

The sea robin is one weird-looking fish. They have some of the largest pectoral fins of any bottom dweller I have ever seen in the Atlantic. When fully extended, they look like a single-engine Cessna’s wing, except underwater and on the bottom. These fish also have adapted pectoral fin rays just below their gills that […]

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What’s on the line? Spotted seatrout, aka ‘speckled trout’

The spotted seatrout’s name gets me a bit confused. One of the common nicknames for this species is “speckled trout.” To me, the term “speckled trout” is another name for the eastern brook trout, which is found in the freshwater reaches of the mountainous region of North Carolina. Though these two share a nickname, it […]

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What’s on the line: Atlantic wahoo

The Atlantic wahoo is prized by recreational fishermen, with recreational landings totaling more than 2.4 million pounds in 2019, but it’s also sometimes mistaken for another well-known gamefish, and there are a number of challenges related to management of the species. Frequently confused with king mackerel, wahoo are found in tropical and subtropical waters around […]

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What’s on the line: Atlantic tarpon, the ‘silver king’

The word “Tarpon” conjures images from fishing lore of large, silvery fish making spectacular leaps out of the water when hooked. Atlantic tarpon are actually closely related to eels. They may not look at all like their cousins when adults, but their larval stages are considerably more similar. Also known as “the silver king,” tarpon […]

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Though it’s Shark Week on TV, sharks are year-round in NC

While “shark attack” is an often-used term, it’s not really accurate because sharks don’t seek out humans to “attack,” they’re just doing what comes naturally in the wild. Sharks are opportunistic feeders and occasionally bite a surfer or swimmer if they venture into murky waters and splash a lot at the surface. This splashing action […]

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Stubborn greater amberjack live up to ‘reef donkey’ name

Greater amberjack are often called “reef donkeys” by fishermen because of their strength and stubbornness. These powerful fighters can test any anglers’ tackle and ability to land them. Greater amberjack are commonly caught while anglers are pursuing king mackerel. They have a deeply forked tail like that of tuna. Fishermen catch this species by drifting […]

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Piggish behavior when feeding earned hogfish their name

Hogfish are strange-looking members of the wrasse family. Their first three dorsal spines are long and trailing, extending several inches off their dorsal fin. This species is more laterally compressed, or flattened from side to side, and more oval-shaped when compared to other marine fish in the wrasse family. They have cool, red irises in […]

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