Free Fishing Day in North Carolina

Wildlife Commission Announces July 4 as Free Fishing Day

RALEIGH, N.C. (June 20, 2018) — On July 4, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission invites anglers and would-be anglers of all ages to go fishing — for free. From 12 a.m. until 11:59 p.m., everyone in North Carolina — resident and non-residents alike — can fish in any public body of water, including coastal waters, without purchasing a fishing license or additional trout fishing privilege. 

Although no fishing license is required, all other fishing regulations apply, such as length and daily possession limits, as well as bait and tackle restrictions.

To give anglers a better chance of catching fish, the Commission stocks a variety of fish in waters across the state — including trout and channel catfish. The agency also provides access to fishing sites across the state, including public fishing areas and boating access areas. The interactive fishing and boatingmaps on the Commission’s website list more than 500 fishing and boating areas, many of which are free, that are open to the public.

Started in 1994, free fishing day is an annual tradition, sponsored by the Commission and authorized by the N.C. General Assembly. It always falls on July 4.

On all other days of the year, a fishing license is not required for anglers 15 years and younger, but anyone age 16 and older must have a fishing license to fish in any public water in North Carolina, including coastal waters.

Purchasing a license online is quick and easy. Other ways to purchase a license are:

  • Call the Commission at 1-888-248-6834. Hours of operation are 8 a.m.-5 p.m.;
  • Visit a local Wildlife Service Agent.

For more information on fishing in public, inland waters, visit their Fishing page.

There is no better opportunity to introduce a “Kid to Fishing” and maybe yourself. Enjoy this free day compliments of the North Carolina Wildlife Commission.

 

Until Next Time – Tightlines. Capt. Tony

Which Bait is Best

Which Fish bait is the best to use when fishing in saltwater? This question is probably the second most asked question after where should I fish today. So what’s the answer? It depends.

Just like the number of species, there are dozens of types of bait to use.

Each type of bait attracts certain species. Some baits are good for all species but then there particular baits that work on just certain species.

Today we are only going to discuss three basic types of baits: Live bait, fresh or natural bait and artificial or synthetic baits. Each type of bait has its place in your arsenal. 

Live baits – these baits are the most productive. A saltwater species is likely to choose a live bait over any other. Examples of live baits are shrimp, sand fleas, small bait fish, clams, and many types of worms. Most fish species will chase and consume another species regardless whether it’s their own species or different one. A living bait creates vibration, special sound and a scent that attracts the predator. This feeding could be as a result of aggressiveness, protection, or simple self-sustaining. Live baits are typically the most productive and should be the preferred bait of choice.

Natural or fresh baits also work very well. Examples of these baits are bagged shrimp, squid, and cut mullet or other species. Some natural baits will be found frozen in individual packages. These baits work well because they appear an easy food source. Occasionally, presentation can increase the attractiveness of the baits. The one exception is when the baits are frozen. Once frozen, the baits have a tendency to lose much of its scent.

Artificial baits will also catch fish. These baits include synthetic materials such as “Fish Bites”, soft plastic worms or imitation or fake fish-like lures.  These baits and lures are also very productive in most settings. The advantage of artificial baits is their longevity and staying power. When using artificial soft plastics, always select the pre-scented types.

Most saltwater species have sharp teeth or a mechanism to separate the baits from the hooks, and using a tough soft plastic or synthetic material sometimes makes it difficult for the fish to steal it before being hooked.

So we go back to the question of “which bait works best”? Well, all of them under different conditions. And as the angler, your ability to find the correct bait when targeting a certain species can increase your success rate.

A good rule to follow is to always check with the local tackle shop professionals before heading out. They can help determine which will provide you with the best opportunity for success.

Also, don’t be afraid to change to a fresher piece of bait frequently or even a different bait all together.

Final tip – there is an old saying for maximum success, always try to use a bait that will “Match the Hatch”.

We left hard baits for another article – so check back for this at a later date.

Until next time – Tightlines Capt. Tony

Spotted Seatrout Season

SPOTTED SEATROUT – RECREATIONAL- SEASON OPEN

 

This proclamation supersedes proclamation FF-1-2018, dated January 3, 2018. This proclamation opens the recreational spotted seatrout fishery as outlined in the N.C. Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan Supplement A, following a closure implemented due to a cold stun event in January 2018.

 

Stephen W. Murphey, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries, hereby announces that effective at 12:01 A.M., Friday, June 15, 2018, the following restrictions will apply to the spotted seatrout recreational fishery:

      I.    MINIMUM SIZE LIMIT

      It is unlawful to possess spotted seatrout (speckled trout) less than 14 inches total length.

    II.    RECREATIONAL BAG LIMIT

It is unlawful to possess more than four (4) spotted seatrout (speckled trout) per person per day taken by hook and line or for recreational purposes.

   III.    GENERAL INFORMATION

A.    This proclamation is issued under the authority of North Carolina G.S. 113-170.4; 113-170.5; 113-182; 113-221.1; 143B-289.52 and North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission Rules 15A NCAC 03H .0103, 03M .0522.

B.    It is unlawful to violate the provisions of any proclamation issued by the Fisheries Director under his delegated authority pursuant to N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Rule 15A NCAC 03H .0103.

C.   All undersized or over the daily harvest limit spotted seatrout shall be immediately returned to the waters where taken, regardless of the condition of the fish.

D.   The intent of this proclamation is to manage the Spotted Seatrout fishery in accordance with the Supplement A to the N.C. Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan.

E.    Contact the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, NC 28557 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632 for more information or visit the division website at www.ncmarinefisheries.net.

F.    In accordance with N.C.G.S. 113-221.1(c) all persons who may be affected by proclamations issued by the Fisheries Director are under a duty to keep themselves informed of current proclamations.

G.   This proclamation supersedes proclamation FF-1-2018, dated January 3, 2018. This proclamation opens the recreational spotted seatrout fishery as outlined in the N.C. Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan Supplement A, following a closure implemented due to a cold stun event in January 2018.

Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Investment in Time

Joining a fishing club can be the best way for a new angler to learn about a local fishery. Many regions have similar types of species in their waters but most times it comes down to the techniques, different methods and possibly the gear that separates them. But basically joining a club is about making friends and catching fish.

Typically, anglers will walk into a store, pick up a standard rod and reel set up, package of bait and hit the surf. There is a good chance they will catch something and possibly enough for a meal. But once they get past that stage or the initial phase, they may ask themselves, now what?

Well, that’s where a fishing club comes into play. A fishing club can take that new or even experienced angler to the next level. As with anything else, there are certain techniques that if utilized properly will make the activity more successful and even a lot of fun. And this works the same way with fishing.

The membership with a fishing club will give those anglers that competitive edge. And with the access to knowledgeable members and the support and camaraderie found there, the angler will find it to be a win-win proposition.

Membership is not just one sided affair. This commitment in a fishing club takes work. Each member is required to participate in a number of club activities.

There are monthly meetings, assorted duty assignments, picnics, awards dinners and of course tournaments. These all take volunteers to make it happen.  But the rewards are worth the effort.

Most fishing clubs meet monthly for approximately two hours. Typically, there several parts of each meeting: Club business, speaker, committee reports and open forum.

Fishing clubs are the best opportunity for an angler to expand their skill level. It can open many doors typically not usually available to the casual angler.

If you looking for something new and exciting, joining a local fishing club is time worth spent and is definitely worth your effort.

The Outer Banks Anglers Club is seeking new members. If you are looking for new friendships and a place learn new techniques, then check them out.

Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

A Keys Destination

Many anglers seek warm weather angling destinations when they find themselves struggling to find fish during these colder seasons. And fishing the Florida Keys maybe the answer to that interruption for many of these anglers. That hundred mile string of islands has always been a huge draw because of the mild winter climates and abundance of species.

Regardless whether its structure, shallow water, or reef fishing, the experiences in the Florida Keys is one for the memory books. Structure fishing has become very popular in the keys even for the typical novice angler. And with over forty bridges and well over hundred miles of shorelines, there is no shortage of places for either the casual or passionate angler to try their luck or secure an enough for a meal.

The standard skill sets used elsewhere for successful fishing should continue to apply here regardless of type of fishing. These will always include: know when to fish, where to fish, how to fish, what to use, how fish respond under certain conditions. But the most important and an angler’s best friend is know the tides and structure.

Gear and equipment are also crucial to a successful outing. Most local “keys” species are toothy and are considered predator. Any gear weakness will be exposed. Use only the top of the line gear – this is not the place for the angler to skimp.

Fishing a Florida Keys bridge is a unique experience. Conditions can change frequently under these structures. It can take weeks or longer to master these channels and the water flows. Trial and error, exchanging ideas with other anglers on the bridges and tackle shops, and even sacrificing a few rigs jig just to locate a couple of bottom snags is worth the cost most anglers pay for this indoctrination.

But many times, it’s that five pound sheepshead or mangrove snapper or even that eighteen Spanish mackerel that make spending the afternoon experimenting and learning all worthwhile.

Look in future entries on various gear and equipment techniques that have made my many bridge fishing trips successful.

Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Buy It Local

Have you noticed? It seems every day we find that we can buy more items on the internet. Cars, college degrees, and now even pizza. And even more surprising, I read the other day that even the big box stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club are being squeezed out by other online wholesalers. And the future is un-predicable for many more.

How about our fishing industry? Yup, there are now dozens of online tackle suppliers selling every type of tackle and gear on the market at discount prices. Even the very manufacturers have gotten in line with the parade. Seems everyone wants a piece of the angler’s dollar.

What most anglers are finding is that the online retailer’s prices are either equal or even cheaper than that of the local tackle shops plus as a bonus they receive free shipping.

So now what does a local tackle shop do in this killer market to survive?

It’s called provide customer service. It’s the same customer service they have been providing long before the online marketers started wowing the angler away for their business.

Local tackle shops employ many local professional anglers. And for good reason. These local anglers know the waters, fish and what is takes to catch them. What equipment and lure work best? Best times, tides and locations. This is stuff you can’t find on any web site. And the best part – all of this information is free to anyone who either walks in the door or calls.

Fresh bait and fresh fishing reports are the news of the day. Try finding these on the web sites.

Finally, we all know online suppliers can sell us the same tackle and gear that we buy from a local guys a lot cheaper but the online guys can’t supply us with the advice we need to go with it.

If we continue to buy on line at a discount and only go to the tackle shop for advice, the tackle shops will disappear.

Let’s support our local tackle shops every chance we get. They have a lot to offer, all you have to do is ask them.

But only you can make that choice.

Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

Call them New Year Plans

The January cold is beginning to set in and most anglers are wishing for warm weather or at least a chance to cast a line. January is also a great time to make those plans for the New Year. In the past, we used to call them “resolutions”. But I like you, they lasted only a few weeks. Now, if we call them a “plan” there is a possibility that they may work most of the year.

First resolution should be to learn more. There are many seminars available for both the new and seasoned angler. If you can’t find one close to home, there is always one within a nice drive. Check the internet for these.  If all else fails, dozens of professional anglers post instructional how-to videos online on both their web pages and on the internet for free – no excuse for not learning something new.

Next, log it. I created a log in which I log each trip I take regardless if I catch something or not. I not only log the day, time and place but also document every weather condition, gear, technique, the environment in the area. I use every sense – I listen for particular sounds, look for something different, feel the wind or vibration or something effecting your gear or bait as it glides through the water. Do not discount your ability to recognize your surroundings. Want a copy, email me.

Organize your gear – there is no better time than the winter season to organize your gear. The tackle shops are loading up with new products from manufactures daily. Empty your bags and start over. Only carry what you need for the day. Replace old and rusty and corroded gear and equipment.

Take a kid fishing. Most seasoned anglers started somewhere. I started fishing with my dad when I was probably five. These days, we are losing young children to other interests other than outdoor activities. There is an old saying, “give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach him to fish and feed him for a lifetime,” I believe if we teach our kids to fish at a young age, they will develop that passion that will last a lifetime. Take that kid, he or she will thank you one day.

One Final Note – And I can’t stress this enough – we need to support our local tackle shops. The online suppliers can sell us the same tackle and gear that we buy from a local guys a lot cheaper but the online guys can’t supply us with the advice we need to go with it. If we continue to buy on line at a discount and only go to the tackle shop for advice, the tackle shops will disappear. Only you can make that choice.

Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony