The forecast looks pretty good for the weekend except for the 40 percent chance of thunderstorms. This is pretty typical weather for summer and even though we haven’t quite reached it on the calendar, the weather is summer. High temperatures and high humidity are a breeding ground for thunderstorms, so listen to the weather on your VHF and keep an eye on the sky for quickly forming dark clouds.
Offshore fishing is good when the weather allows getting there. The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament is this week and fishermen have been guessing the weather and catching lots of fish. Dolphin are here in good numbers and with some big fish too. Dolphin are also breaking away from the Gulf Stream and following baitfish inshore. There are almost daily reports of dolphin being caught by king mackerel fishermen over structure 60 to 100 feet deep. They may move even closer as the water continues to warm and more bait arrives.
After four days the 754 pound blue marlin caught by Capt. Casey Wagner’s Inspiration continues to lead the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament. There are two days left. If you aren’t fishing, you can watch the Big Rock weigh-in live at www.thebigrock.com.
Offshore bottom fishing is really good. Grouper are hungry and gnawing. Beeliners, black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, porgys, amberjacks and occasionally an African pompano are also biting.
Drift a light line or two behind the boat while bottom fishing and add to your catch. The action of fish going up creates interest and draws other fish in. Just hook a small live bait or a frozen cigar minnow on a king mackerel rig and let it drift back in the current. A small balloon will hold one line near the surface and another can be fished bare or with a light egg sinker to get it to sink a little deeper.
King mackerel numbers might be increasing a little and they are mainly holding around structure in 60 to 100 feet of water. A roving school or two may show anywhere, but the consistent places to find kings with the warming water is that 60 feet and deeper area. King fishermen are also catching an occasional dolphin. Most king fishermen are slow trolling live menhaden, but some also do well trolling frozen cigar minnows.
Spanish macks and bluefish are biting from the beach out for a few miles. They are on the rips and color changes around the inlets and at many nearshore artificial reefs. Speaking of artificial reefs, fishermen at the nearshore ARs are catching a few flounder, lots of mostly undersize black sea bass and some scattered gray trout.
The action has slowed dramatically, but fishermen are still catching a few cobia at Cape Lookout and a few more between Hatteras and Oregon Inlet. Sight fishing and casting to bait balls are the most popular ways to locate them.
The kings have moved from the beach and vacated the piers, but pier fishermen at most N.C. piers are beginning to catch large bluefish and there have been lots of reports of tarpon seen and hooked, but only a few landed. Pluggers are catching Spanish macks and bluefish casting Got-Cha plugs and Clarkspoons with Clark Casters between the pier ends and about midway of the piers. Bottom fishermen working around the pier pilings and from the surf to about halfway out the piers are catching a mixed bag that includes flounder, sea mullet, gray trout, black drum, pompano and more.
The runoff from all the rain is muddying a lot of inshore waters, but puppy drum and flounder fishing is pretty good. The creeks and marshes off the Intracoastal Waterway and most coastal rivers have been the hot spots. In the upper tidal zones, the falling tides are sweeping bait out of the smaller creeks and into the larger creeks and channels and it is the prime time to fish. Closer to the inlets, the rising tide pushes some cleaner water back in with every change and it often stimulates the fish to feed.
Speckled trout season reopens on Sunday. They should readily respond to soft plastics and hard baits. There have been reports of some nice size trout whacking topwaters and soft plastics. Fishermen that prefer using live baits should do well fishing a squirming live shrimp, suspended under a float. If you aren’t catching trout with a live shrimp suspended under a float, there aren’t any trout where you are fishing.
Several of you readers who have missed other kayak fishing schools and seminars I have spoken at this spring asked me to let you know if there would be another one. On Tuesday, June 17, I will be doing a kayak fishing seminar for the Craven County Recreation and Parks Department. It will be in the meeting room of the Craven County Administration Building in downtown New Bern.
This will be a classroom session only that begins at 6:30 P.M. and runs to approximately 9:30 P.M. The seminar will cover safety, rigging and inshore saltwater fishing for puppy drum, flounder, stripers, speckled trout and more, with an introduction to launching through the surf to fish in the nearshore ocean for Spanish mackerel, bluefish, king mackerel, cobia and more.
Participants will receive a goody bag of fishing product samples and there will be door prizes. For more information or to register for the seminar, visit https://cravencounty.recdesk.com or call 252-636-6606
Upcoming Fishery Legislation
At the request of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) the Atlantic Coast States of Maryland through Georgia have scheduled public hearings on the Spot & Atlantic Croaker Draft Addendum to the Spot and Atlantic Croaker Fishery Management Plans. The meetings are seeking public input regarding using a Traffic Light Approach to assess stock condition and initiate management response.
The N.C. meeting will be at the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Central District Office in Morehead City on June 17 at 6:00 P.M.
Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Spot and Atlantic Croaker Draft Addendum, either by attending the public hearing or providing written comment. The Draft Addendum is available on the Commission website on the Public Input page at http://www.asmfc.org/uploads/file/538635a6DraftSpotCroaker_Addenda_PublicComment_May2014.pdf. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on July 2, 2014 and should be forwarded to Kirby Rootes-Murdy, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St., Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, VA 22201. Fax (703-842-0741) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) should be sent with the subject line; Croaker/Spot Draft Addendum.
NOAA Fisheries has announced new regulations for the dolphin and wahoo fishery of the Atlantic. The final rule for Amendment 5 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery of the Atlantic published in the Federal Register on June 9, 2014 (79 FR 32878). The new regulations, which will increase the annual catch limits for dolphin and wahoo, will become effective on July 9, 2014.
The annual commercial catch limit for dolphin will increase by 91,477 pounds (whole weight), from 1,065,524 pounds to 1,157,001 pounds. The annual commercial catch limit for wahoo will increase by 6,395 pounds (whole weight) from 64,147 pounds to 70,542 pounds.
The annual recreational catch limit for dolphin will increase by 657,153 pounds (whole weight) from 13,530,692 pounds to 14,187,845 pounds. The annual recreational catch limit for wahoo will increase by 296,780 pounds (whole weight) from 1,427,638 pounds to 1,724,418 pounds.
The revisions incorporate updates to the recreational data for these species, as per the Marine Recreational Information Program as well as revisions to commercial and for-hire landings. Accountability measures for dolphin and wahoo will include a pay-back provision when the total annual catch limit is exceeded and if the stock is overfished. Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 5 allows for modifications to catch limits in an efficient manner based on new information about the population.
More information, including a list of frequently asked questions, on the new regulations for dolphin and wahoo can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/s_atl/dw/2013/am5/index.html.
NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment on Amendment 8 to the Fishery Management Plan for Coral, Coral Reefs, and Live/Hardbottom Habitats of the South Atlantic Region (Coral Amendment 8). The Notice of Availability for Coral Amendment 8 published in the Federal Register on May 20, 2014 (79 FR 28880), and the comment period ends on July 21, 2014.
If approved, the amendment would extend protections for deepwater coral ecosystems by expanding the boundaries of the Oculina Bank Habitat Area of Particular Concern, and the Stetson-Miami Terrace and Cape Lookout Coral Habitat Areas of Particular Concern.
Within Habitat Areas of Particular Concern, the use of bottom longline, bottom trawl, dredge, pot or trap is prohibited. If aboard a fishing vessel, use of anchor, anchor and chain, and grapple and chain is prohibited. Mid-water trawls are also prohibited in Stetson-Miami Terrace and Cape Lookout Coral Habitat Areas of Particular Concern.
Coral Amendment 8 proposes a transit provision through Oculina Bank Habitat Area for Particular Concern for fishing vessels with rock shrimp onboard. When transiting through the area, vessels would be required to have gear appropriately stowed and maintain a minimum speed. Vessel speed would be determined by a vessel monitoring system registering a ping (signal) at a rate of 1 ping per 5 minutes.
Copies of Coral Amendment 8 may be obtained from the NOAA Fisheries Web site http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/s_atl/coral/2014/am8/index.html or the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's Web site at http://www.safmc.net.
Comments may be submitted by:
* Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2014-0065 click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
* Mail: NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office - Sustainable Fisheries Division –
c/o Karla Gore - 263 13th Avenue South - St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505.
June 17: Public Hearing on the Spot & Atlantic Croaker Draft Addendum to the ASFMC Spot and Atlantic Croaker Fishery Management Plans, 6:00 P.M., North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Central District Office, Morehead City, www.asfmc.org.
June 17: Public Meeting – Draft Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan/EIS for Cape Lookout National Seashore, 6:00 P.M., Duke Marine Lab, Beaufort, http://www.nps.gov/calo/index.htm.
June 18: Public Meeting – Draft Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan/EIS for Cape Lookout National Seashore, 6:00 P.M., McKimmon Conference and Training Center, Raleigh, http://www.nps.gov/calo/index.htm.
June 19: Public Meeting – Draft Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan/EIS for Cape Lookout National Seashore, 6:00 P.M., Hilton Charlotte University Place, Charlotte, http://www.nps.gov/calo/index.htm.
Tournaments, Seminars, Club Meetings and Events
April 19 to June 15, Third Annual Chasin’ Tails Outdoors Cobia Challenge, Chasin Tails Outdoors, Atlantic Beach, www.chasintailsoutdoors.com;
June 8 to 14: The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, Billfish and offshore game fish, Big Rock Landing, Morehead City, www.thebigrock.com.
June 14: Cape Fear Anglers Spanish Mackerel Tournament, Inlet Watch Yacht Club, Carolina Beach, 910-523-5226.
June 16 to 20: Hatteras Marlin Club Blue Marlin Release Tournament, Hatteras Marlin Club, Hatteras, www.hatterasmarlinclub.com.
June 17: Kayak Fishing Seminar, Craven County Administration Building, New Bern, Craven County Recreation and Parks Department, https://cravencounty.recdesk.com.
June 17: Take a Kid Fishing, Crystal Coast Civic Center, Morehead City, www.takf.org.
June 18: Jolly Mon Rock the Dock, Kids 12 and under dock fishing tournament, Ocean Isle Fishing Center, Ocean Isle Beach, www.oifc.com.
June 19: Junior Jolly Mon, Kids 16 and under king, Spanish, cobia and dolphin tournament, Ocean Isle Fishing Center, Ocean Isle Beach, www.oifc.com.
June 20: Cape Lookout FlyFishers, Monthly Meeting, Cox Family Restaurant, Dinner 6:00 P.M. and Meeting 7:00 P.M., Morehead City, www.capelookoutflyfishers.com.
June 20 to 22: Jolly Mon King Classic, King mackerel, Ocean Isle Fishing Center, Ocean Isle Beach, www.oifc.com.
June 21: Southport Inshore Challenge, Flounder and red drum, Southport Marina, www.fishermanspost.com.
To have your event listed here, send the information to email@example.com at least two weeks in advance.