Let’s Try Fishing – Simple Rules

The next topic in the “Let’s Try Fishing” series is rules and regulations. Most anglers who fish in North Carolina waters will need a fishing license and follow a number of regulations. The North Carolina Department of Marine Fisheries ( http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/home ) and the NC Wildlife Resource Commission are responsible for the administration of both saltwater and freshwater fisheries in our region.  All anglers who fish in these waters need to comply with the requirements under these two agencies as well as many local town ordinances.

First is the fishing license. North Carolina requires a fishing license in both salt and freshwater. The saltwater license will cover you if you plan to fish on the ocean surf, along the sound side shoreline or on one of our many west side bridges or docks. Freshwater license allows you to fish in creeks, ponds, roadside ditches and many inland lakes. 

It is important to know exactly where you plan to fish because certain areas overlap and for example, you might need a saltwater license on one side of the bridge and a freshwater one on the other.

Fishing licenses can be purchased for a set period of a 10 day pass, annual license  or lifetime license. Most visitors find it best just to pick up a 10 day license. 

Fishing on an ocean pier is a little easier. All of the ocean piers carry a blanket license so everyone who fishes there is covered by their license. But to access the piers, there is an entry pass requirement. And like fishing licenses, anglers can purchase either a daily, weekly, multi-week, or annual pass. Just visit any pier and the staff can take care of you.

Next, in addition to your license, you need to obtain a copy of Marine Fisheries rules. These rules indicate what species can be harvested at each time of year. They include creel limits (sizes or length) and bag limits (how many) on each species you plan to harvest.

Finally, you may need a permit to drive off road on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore surf and sound areas and then seasonally on the surf north of Corolla (summer) and Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head (fall and winter). Again, our local tackle shops are prepared to assist you with these permits.

Keep in mind that even though all of this information on licenses and regulations can be obtained at all tackle shops, the most current rules should be obtained online at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/home website.

So the first phase is complete. Now it’s time to get rigged up. The next topic in this series is your rod and reel. 

Until next time – tightlines – Capt. Tony

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