The hammer came down from the Marine Fisheries Commission, which adopted the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2 on Friday, giving the director of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF) flexibility with the commercial and recreational seasons, so long as they meet the statutorily required harvest reductions.
The word on the beach is that the flounder season will be closed Wednesday, Sept. 4. We should get the details and specifics in a proclamation from NCDMF Director Stephen W. Murphey sometime this week, and this will affect both recreational and commercial harvest of flounder here in North Carolina. The southern flounder are overfished, and overfishing is still occurring. Hopefully we can now get a handle on the southern flounder stocks, so important here in North Carolina.
Please note that these regulations are designed to drop the harvest of flounder by around 70 percent. The flounder committee back in the early 2000s proposed that a 20-percent drop in harvest would restore our stocks, and in the mid-2000s that 35 percent would do the trick. Those restrictions, however, never saw the light of day, and so we are at the Draconian point where we need 70-percent reduction to restore our stocks.
Interestingly, this year has been one of the best flounder seasons in recent years, but it’s likely that the current uptick in flounder is a temporary fluke possibly related to the washout of the late flounder season caused by Hurricane Florence. The spawners got out in the ocean to their winter-spawning grounds and returned in good numbers.
Here is some good news, also Florence related: The ferry dock at Hammocks Beach State Park that was severely damaged during Florence is set to reopen Saturday in time for the Labor Day holiday.
Amenities on Bear Island still remain limited.
For info and ferry schedules and on the park status, log onto https://www.ncparks.gov/hammocks-beach-state-park/park-news/hammocks-beach-updates.
More Florence stuff: As we have observed, we lost quite a bit of sand from Bogue Banks beaches as a result of Florence.
Some of the beaches were restored, including the dunes, and in fact, the project included grass plantings on the rebuilt dunes.
Carteret County officials hope to begin a beach re-nourishment project on Bogue Banks by mid-November for western Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, the far western end of Emerald Isle and a portion of Salter Path left out of the last project completed this spring.
Last year, our sea turtle season got abruptly truncated by … you guessed it, Hurricane Florence, with the cost of many of the nests being washed away prior to their hatching.
This year so far has proven to be a real comeback, not only here along the North Carolina coast, but the entire area from the Outer Banks to the Florida coast, reminiscent of the record year of 2016.
In Emerald Isle alone, we have had 42 nests, nearly half of which have already hatched out.
It should be noted from recent DNA studies that it appears that females nest around every two to three years, and it looks like this year is on a nice, three-year nesting cycle.
Our volunteers are having an active and rewarding year. Thanks!
How is fishing?
Well, my fall season has started, and I’m certain you have noticed the brisk, cooling northeast winds, and you know what that means as we approach September – MULLET BLOW!
After my show Monday on WTKF 1-7.1 FM radio, I stopped at Oceanana and Bogue Inlet piers and saw growing swarms of mullet in the surf, right on time. Over the next few days, we should see the numbers grow into a full and frantic mullet infestation and resulting predator feeding frenzy. Think, trout, drum, flounder, Spanish and blues … you get the picture.
As we proceed in to September and October, there will be other surges of mullet baits and anchovies filling the surf and predators on their tails. My favorite time of year for fishing! And don’t forget, with the great and wide-spread summer speckled trout catches, we are set up for an historic speckled trout season this fall.
The northeast winds and chill have also spiked the old drum fishing too.
After a bit of a slow start, the bite in the Neuse River (and I assume the New River) has fired up for both cut bait (mullet and menhaden) fishing and popping corks and on the Capt. Gary Dubiel’s Pop-N-Fly rigs too.
Remember, if you use bait, you need to use approved circle-hook rigs like the Owen Lupton, and as always, remember the water is still warm and the fish are in spawning mode, so land them quickly, keep them in the water and release them quickly to ensure their healthy survival.
These are our state fish. Treat them well.
The flounder fishing continues to be a big story.
It’s great, and the fish are big from the nearshore reefs to the marshes and the Intracoastal Waterway docks, the Morehead City Port wall and bridges and train trestle. There have also been good catches along the Atlantic Beach surf and from our fishing piers.
But you have to go to the dark side, that is, live mullet is the killer bait right now, especially for citation fish.
Speaking of surf, the surf in Emerald Isle has been dead, but there are Spanish, blues, flounder drum and sea mullet toward Fort Macon and Atlantic Beach.
I also fished Schoolhouse Creek and Pettiford Creek last week without any success. My surf streak at least – one lizard fish – has continued. I’m so excited. At least the surf has cleaned up after days of mud, mud and more mud with blistering southwest winds.
How about pier fishing?
Oceanana Pier Reports decent fishing this week with croakers, Spanish and blues, mullet and keeper flounder.
Bogue Inlet Pier has had a slow week with croakers and spots, some very nice meaty Spanish and keeper, as well as throwback, flounder between the cleaning table and the king mackerel gate on live mullet. They also lost a king to a shark Sunday. It happens!
Seaview Pier reports a few croaker, sea mullet and black drum, and that’s it.
Surf City Pier reports a slow week with a few slot reds, some Spanish and blues, short flounder and spots.
Jolly Roger Pier reports the best fishing in the dark for mullet and croaker, daytime for flounder and black drum and a number of over slot-reds.
Offshore was southwest bumpy last week and now northeast bumpy since the weekend.
2) “Ask Dr. Bogus” is on the radio every Monday at 7:30 a.m. WTKF 107.1 FM and 1240 AM. The show is also replayed on Sunday morning at 6 a.m. Callers may reach me at 800-818-2255.
3) I’m located at 118 Conch Ct. in Sea Dunes, just off Coast Guard Road, Emerald Isle, NC 28594. The mailing address is P.O. Box 5225, Emerald Isle, NC 28594. Don’t forget a gift certificate for your favorite angler for fishing lessons or my totally Bogus Fishing Report subscription. Please stop by at any time and say “Hi” or call 252-354-4905.