Report Cold Stunned Trout

MOREHEAD CITY – Dec 21, 2020

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is reminding the public to report any cold stunned spotted seatrout they may see in North Carolina coastal waters.

During the winter, spotted seatrout move to relatively shallow creeks and rivers, where they can be vulnerable to cold stun events. Cold stun events have the potential to occur when there is a sudden drop in temperature or during prolonged periods of cold weather, making fish so sluggish that they can be harvested by hand.

Many fish that are stunned die from the cold or fall prey to birds and other predators. Studies suggest that cold stun events can have a significant negative impact on spotted seatrout populations.

No cold stun events have been reported so far this winter, but if there are concerning weather conditions in the upcoming weeks as described above then a cold stun event could occur in coastal rivers and creeks.

Spotted seatrout cold stun events can be reported at any time to the N.C. Marine Patrol at 1-800-682-2632 or during regular business hours to the division spotted seatrout biologist Tracey Bauer at 252-808-8159 or Tracey.Bauer@ncdenr.gov. If reporting a spotted seatrout cold stun event, please provide where (the specific location) and when (date and time) the cold stun was observed, along with your contact information.

Under the N.C. Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan, if a significant cold stun event occurs, the Division of Marine Fisheries will close all spotted seatrout harvest within a management area until the following spring. A significant cold stun event within a management area is determined by 1) assessing the size and scope, and 2) evaluating water temperatures to determine if triggers of 5 C (41 F) at eight consecutive days and 3 C (37.4 F) during a consecutive 24-hour period are met.  Data loggers are deployed statewide to continuously measure water temperatures in the coastal rivers and creeks prone to cold stuns. Closing harvest allows fish that survive the cold stun event the chance to spawn in the spring before harvest reopens. Peak spotted seatrout spawning occurs from May to June.

Under N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission rules, the spotted seatrout season automatically closes in inland waters when it closes in adjacent coastal waters.

Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Rockfish Season Extended

This week the North Carolina Department of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF) announced the re-opening of the Striped Bass Recreational Season effective Friday, January 1, 2021 at 12:01 A.M. in the Albemarle Sound Management Area.

During the spring season, striped bass maybe caught by hook and line or recreational commercial gear for recreational purposes all seven (7) days per week.

These fish must be at least 18 total inches and each angler may keep no more than one (1) fish in any one day.

The recreational spring fishing season will close when allowable landings are predicted to be reached or on April 30, 2021, whichever comes first.

Also, the Atlantic Ocean Striped Bass fishery remains open to all anglers at one (1) fish per day at greater than twenty-eight (28) inches and less than thirty-five (35) inches total inches.

Effective, January 1, 2021, non-stainless steel, non-offset circle hooks are required when using natural bait for the recreational fishery regardless of the tackle and lure configuration.

For more information on these new ocean fishery regulations, please check with your local tackle shop or North Carolina Dept. of Marine Fisheries.

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Coming to a Close

Well it’s that time of year. Most of the Outer Banks Fishing Piers have closed for the season. Leaving only two to fish – Avalon and Jennette’s.

Fishing on an Outer Banks pier over the past eight months has provided much excitement, a learning experience for many and in some cases recorded some trophy catches.  

Although, it’s been a great year, the weather hasn’t always been kind to our fishery.

Occasional storms and hurricanes chased many anglers off the surf and piers. But on the same note, these fronts always relented quickly only to an improved catch days later.

The Thanksgiving weekend signals the un-official closure of some of my favorite places to fish.

But all is not lost though with two local piers, Avalon and Jennette’s, will remain open throughout the entire winter season.

The remaining piers, Nags Head, Outer Banks, Rodanthe, and Avon all closed just after the thanksgiving weekend. There may be staff in the tackle shops but access has stopped.

All is not lost, the Outer Banks surf should hold fish throughout the entire winter. Special gear will be needed but those dedicated enough to brave the elements can be rewarded.

The best bet for our winter anglers is to head south on the Hatteras or Ocracoke island beaches. There they will find slightly warmer water temperatures and fish should be around most of the winter season.

So if the sight of bright sunshine, sounds of crashing waves, and a brisk cool breeze against your face doesn’t chase you away, there are miles of surf to fish on or a railing on a pier waiting for you to hoist a fish over.

As we charge into the off seasons, there is much to do and learn for the coming season. 

Stay tuned!!

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Throw Back – Big Drum

Fishing in the fall season on the Outer Banks produces citation type catches of Speckled trout, Sea Mullet, Pompano, puppy drum and huge Big Drum. Come make a memory.

From the IGFA web site

It was 36 years ago today –

Did you know that the IGFA’s two largest red drum records were both caught on November 7th? On this day in 1973, Elvin Hooper caught this 40.82-kilogram (90-pound) red drum to set the IGFA Men’s 15-kg (30 lb) Line Class World Record. He was casting cut mullet from Ocean Pier, Rodanthe, North Carolina, and landed the record redfish after a one hour fight. At the time it was the IGFA All-Tackle Record and Line Class Record, until exactly 11 years later when David Deuel broke that record. 47 years later, it still stands as the Men’s 15-kg (30 lb) Line Class World Record. #fishIGFA

Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Striped Bass Season 2020

This week the North Carolina Department of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF) announced the opening of the Striped Bass Recreational Season effective Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 12:01 A.M. in the Albemarle Sound Management Area.

Striped bass maybe caught by hook and line or recreational commercial gear for recreational purposes all seven (7) days per week.

These fish must be at least 18 total inches and each angler may keep no more than two (2) fish in any one day.

The season is scheduled to close at 1159 P.M. on Thursday, December 31, 2020 unless closed by the NCDMF proclamation.

Additionally, the Atlantic Ocean Striped Bass fishery remains open to all anglers at one (1) fish per day at a minimum of twenty-eight (28) inches. For more information on the ocean fishery, please check with your local tackle shop.

It’s been a long time since we had a good striped bass fishery. Only take what you can use. All others should be safely returned to the water.

And only you and I can preserve this important Outer Banks fishery.

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Fall Fishing Tournament

Attention all interested Anglers!!

BREAKING NEWS!!

Frank and Frans will be holding the “RED, WHITE & BLUE FREEDOM TOURNAMENT” surf fishing tournament on October 22-24, 2020!!

This a “feet in the sand” event. What better way to enjoy the outdoors then with a fishing rod and the waves washing onto your feet on a crisp fall week?

For more information and to register for this tournament, go Frank and Fran’s website at www.hatteras-island.com

Tight lines – Capt. Tony


Who Does Structure

What does having structure have to do with being successful?  Plenty!!

An angler can significantly improve their catch rate if they are able to recognize the presence of structure and how to use it to their advantage. This knowledge along with several other scouting skill sets can give both the novice and experienced angler that competitive edge.

Structure can be defined as anything having an unusual characteristic found either horizontally under water or standing vertically in the water column. Many structures are created by nature or installed to either support another structure or another purpose. Regardless of the types of structures, they can also be found at various locations and water depths.  Either way, structure is beneficial for both anglers and many saltwater species

Vertical structure could be pilings, bulkheads, tree stumps, root systems or jetties that extend above the surface. Horizontal structures are submerged and may include depressions, holes, drop-offs, ledges, rocks, tree roots or sunken logs. The most common horizontal structure are small holes or depressions and the change where sand bottom meets a grass flat.

Structure provides safety and food source for many species. The fish’s ability to move around this formation provides their ability to avoid another predator. Also, many small bait fish and crustaceans remain close to structure adding to the larger species food source.

When fishing a vertical structure, the angler should focus on the leeward side. Fish typically remain in the calm leeward side waiting for a bait fish or other species pass by.  When fishing a horizontal structure such as a depression or grass flat, let your bait pass as close as possible, changing speeds and action of the retrieve.

When fishing structures, anglers should mimic the action of a bait fish or crustacean. They must provide a natural retrieve. Bait or lure presentation here is extremely important as not to spook or chase the fish out of that zone. The bait or lure should be retrieved slowly both in the current and static areas. Then repeated.

Proficient anglers have the ability to use various retrieval or twitching actions that cause the fish to either sense anger, fear or instill their interest to increase to attack.  But it is imperative that the action must be natural and lifelike.

Some structure is easily located but others are not.  Vertical structures are obvious – they stick out f the water. But horizontal must be discovered. One way to locate a bottom structures is to take either a bank sinker or a lead jig head with the hook removed attached to a break-away light test leader and cast out in various locations. Feel and resistance during the retrieve can reveal uneven bottoms and structure created components.

Ability to recognize and use structure is the easiest way for an anglers to improve their catch rate.

And although it’s an important part of finding fish, its only one tool in the angler’s catch box. The ability to recognize structure and use it to catch fish can be a game changer.

Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony