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A school of colorful dolphin suspended behind a boat can wind up in the fish box if fishermen are careful when they pitch baits in their direction. Small dolphin can bail out a fishing trip
18 Views - Posted: Yesterday at 7:00 am

Sometimes, bluewater fishing is so slow that even a novice or child can become bored. Small, aggressive dolphin, aka bailers, can provide just the tonic.


Colorful and aggressive, a hungry dolphin will hit just about anything in front of its nose that even remotely resembles a meal. Dancing with the dolphins is a real possibility for North Carolina’s offshore fishermen in April
59 Views - Posted: April 01 at 7:00 am

Peanuts. Gaffers. Slingers. Bailers. Goats of the sea. These all reference the fish known as dolphin or Mahi-Mahi. They are the most plentiful of offshore sportfish, and though they primarily course the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, by late-summer, anglers can catch these fish in nearshore waters around wrecks and natural reefs. 


When boats out of Southport can get offshore, they've been greeted with excellent bottom-fishing. Find a nice day and catch plenty of Cape Fear bottomfish
605 Views - Posted: March 25 at 8:21 am

Capt. Butch Foster of Yeah Right Charters in Southport said he hasn’t been able to get to the bottomfish off Cape Fear until he caught a calm, warm day recently and found that the fish were where they were supposed to be – and hungry, too. He filled his cooler with a mixture of black sea bass, grunts and porgies, and he caught plenty of grouper and red snapper that he had to release because seasons are closed.


Tell a tuna to go fly a kite Tell a tuna to go fly a kite
210 Views - Posted: February 15 at 7:00 am

When the fish spread out and the bite slows down, which can happen later in the day, Capt. Brant McMullan has another trick to hook up. Brant, his brother Barrett, and his father Rube run a charter-fishing operation out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, but they make several trips each winter and spring to the Outer Banks to do battle with giants on their 32-foot center console. They will jig and pop in the morning but like to fly a kite to finish out their trips.


Anglers targeting bluefin tuna must make sure they know which size fish, if any, are legal to keep the day of their trip. Take care to know all tuna regs
173 Views - Posted: February 15 at 7:00 am

Anglers need to be aware that bluefin tuna are the most-highly regulated species of fish in the world. When targeting bluefin, it is mandatory that you have an HMS (Highly Migratory Species) permit for the vessel.

The regulations on keeping a bluefin change all the time, so it’s best to brush up on the current limits right before a trip. If a legal-sized fish is caught, there’s nothing wrong with taking one home for the grill, but it’s important to know what is legal the day you’re fishing, as ignorance of the limit carries very little weight with National Marine Fisheries.


Some fishermen who jig vertically for bluefin tuna prefer high-speed, conventional reels over spinning reels. Bluefin blitz - Bluefin tuna are the Outer Banks’ premier winter fishery
431 Views - Posted: February 01 at 7:00 am

Bluefin tuna is the species that has driven the largest paradigm shift in the recent history of North Carolina’s saltwater big-game fishing. When it was discovered that they spend a good portion of their winters in the waters off the Tarheel State, efforts to target them immediately extended the fishing season into the cold-weather months.  

First found by fisherman targeting striped bass off of the beaches on the Outer Banks, the giant tunas — vying for the same menhaden as the rockfish — would occasionally grab a plug launched on spinning or casting gear in the direction of a striper, then immediately destroy the angler’s tackle. It didn’t take long before boats were targeting them with gear more suited to handling their size and power.

In the early days of the fishery, the mid- to late-1990s, virtually all bluefins were targeted by chunking; they were drawn to the stern of large sportfishing boats by chunks of butterfish and herring turned into a chum slick. When the tuna showed, a hook was baited and allowed to float down through the slick.  It usually wasn’t long until a reel started screaming and the angler was hooked up. 


Reef balls will be added to expand three nearshore artificial reefs off the North Carolina coast thanks to a grant of funds from sales of the recreational saltwater fishing license. Three artificial reefs will be enhanced with CRFL money
1032 Views - Posted: January 22 at 9:41 pm

Fishermen in the southern part of Onslow Bay will soon be fishing on improved habitat courtesy of the Coastal Recreational Fishing License and the Onslow Bay Artificial Reef Association; the OBARA was awarded $637,500 in the most-recent round of grants funded by income from the saltwater fishing license.The money will be used to enhance the size and effectiveness of three artificial reefs off New Hanover County in Onslow Bay.


The SAFMC is considering reconfiguring some Marine Protection areas and adding others in an effort to protect two spawning bottomfish. Feds will consider adding Marine Protection Areas this week
1057 Views - Posted: December 02, 2013 at 6:00 am

At its scheduled meeting this month, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) will discuss adding additional Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) of the Carolinas as a means to help reduce the by-catch of speckled hind and warsaw grouper. These species, which are considered deepwater grouper, are listed as undergoing overfishing in the 2012 NOAA Fisheries Report to Congress. 


Rex Bunting Jr. of Frisco owns the N.C. record for this 46-pound golden tilefish, caught April 7 off Hatteras. State certifies new record golden tilefish
1153 Views - Posted: October 31, 2013 at 1:00 pm

A Frisco man has become the latest angler to catch a state-record fish with the announcement that the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has certified a new state-record golden tilefish.


Jason Cox of Ft. Bragg caught wrestled this hefty red grouper out of its underwater lair. Get ready for the long haul
470 Views - Posted: October 15, 2013 at 7:00 am

Fishing on extended trips, whether from a head boat like the Continental Shelf or from a smaller private vessel, is fun and cooler-filling, but doesn’t come without its challenges.


Tackle for pulling big grouper out of deep-water cover needs to be plenty stout. The right tools for the job
371 Views - Posted: October 15, 2013 at 7:00 am

As with any job, anglers need the right tools for bottom-fishing, especially when fish like amberjack and grouper are likely to bite. And on extended trips, where depths can reach the 600-foot range, you don’t want to be caught with undersized gear.


Mapping out success Mapping out success
358 Views - Posted: October 15, 2013 at 7:00 am

Capt. Davie Tilley of the Continental Shelf understands that many anglers opt to fish out of their own private vessels, but he is still willing to help them out through a service he offers called “Fish Here Maps.”


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