Sometimes you just have to get it off your chest, so here is my First Day of Fall Rant!
First of all, no double dipping, when you have your limit of slot red drum (1), of speckled trout (4), flounder (now zero) and the like, remember (you already know!) that those limits are daily limits, not per outing or trip but PER DAY!
Don’t load up, drop your limit at home and go out for limit No. 2 or 3.
In spite of or because of Hurricane Florence, it looks like last year was an exceptional spawning year for red drum. How do we know? We have been invaded with hordes of so-called “rat reds,” those juvenile yearling under-slot reds. These fish are mostly 12 to 16 inches, give or take, and will be legal slot fish next year and a couple years after that.
Almost everyone is on board with releasing these juvenile reds, but last week, there were a few people fishing the surf around Bogue Inlet from the surf bagging the unbaggable and were caught by the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries police.
All I can say is great, pay the fine and use it as a learning experience. QED!
In rant number one, I mentioned the current flounder limit is zero. I know almost everyone is unhappy with this latest regulation shutting down flounder harvest. This is part due to 20-plus years of mismanagement of our southern flounder stocks. I know this year was unexpectedly a banner year for flounder, so why shut it down? One year is never representative of the health of a species.
Browsing social media, everyone is pointing fingers at other user group(s) as the cause(s) of the flounder stocks woes, when all the groups have contributed. What is also discouraging are the threats of circumventing the flounder harvest blackout because it’s unfair. I don’t like it, so it doesn’t apply to me attitude. It’s also a great attitude and learning lesson for the youth among us! Be an adult, throw all flounder back, and hopefully in a few years, we can improve our stocks of this important recreational and commercial species. Remember, almost all the flounder 15 inches and above are breeding females!
Sorry for my rants, I feel better!
So now for the fishing report. Dorian stirred things up, up close and personal, and so did Humberto, but at a distance.
This, along with a taste of fall last week, which dropped water temperatures into the 70s for the first time in quite a while, has fired up the fishing. If you noticed, the bait along the beach has exploded on the persistent northeast wind. Mullets big and small and silversides galore are luring the likes of drum, trout, flounder from our back waters and bringing in from nearshore Spanish, blues, false albacore and ladyfish.
The catching along the surf has gone from nearly nonexistent to exciting with live or cut mullet as the bait of choice. Well, I was certainly excited by landing my 29-inch red drum last week at the point in Emerald Isle. Big fat fish with big fat shoulders, it ate my Kastmaster. There were some slot reds and another over slot at 30 inches. I even heard of an angler’s very brief stint with a tarpon hooked from the surf at Bogue Inlet. It sucked up a live mullet bait. Then a brief … two exciting leaps ... and it was gone.
I also heard of trout in the channel along Bogue Inlet as you wrap around north behind that grassy like island-oid across from the Coast Guard Station. Remember bottle island?
The bottom fishing has also picked up, black drum a few sea mullet, some spots and pompano. Best locations are in Atlantic Beach from Forth Macon to the Double Tree Hotel, such as it is and around Bogue Inlet Pier and the Point in Emerald Isle.
Shrimp, Fishbites and sand fleas if you could find them were the hot baits. About the spots, there are good catches to our north along the OBX and to our south on Topsail, but here in the middle, we are only seeing the very early start of the spot run. Interestingly, the catches on Seaview Pier on Topsail are cooler filling. We should be spotted very soon here on Bogue Banks.
Inside, the bite for drum and trout is excellent. Mullet, live shrimp, MirrOlures and soft plastics and Gulp! will do the trick.
Of course, New River is still doing well with big fish, the Swansboro Marshes and around the bridges are producing specks, and in Emerald Isle, those usual areas are on the Emerald Isle side of the Langston Bridge in Banks Channel, and Three Finger marsh, and I assume Trout Creek too.
To our east, there are plenty of trout as you go up Core Creek to the Neuse River, including Harlow Creek, and to the south, the traditional Haystacks. I haven’t heard of action in Hancock and Slocum creeks around Cherry Point.
In addition, the area around the port is still hot, including the Atlantic Beach high-rise bridge, the train trestle and Radio Island. In the Neuse, the trout and drum bite is also going well, including the old drum bite, which is still hot on bait or popping corks with artificials.
Nearshore and over the reefs and rocks, Spanish, kings and false albies are biting well.
From the piers, Oceanana Pier reports a good week with specks, especially at night, Spanish and blues, sheepshead on the pilings, red and black drum and a few spots.
Bogue Inlet Pier released a tarpon last week and also had some big sea mullet, specks to 23 inches and rat reds. I also saw a palometa some few spots, and yes, pinfish. There are still sand fleas along the beach, but they are playing hide-and-seek, so good luck.
Seaview Pier reports lotsa of spotsa, black drum, trout and mullet.
Surf City Pier reports better fishing this week with spots, flounder, red and black drum and trout. Some of the reds were above slot.
Jolly Roger Pier had a slow week with blues, mullet and little bitty spots.
With the Humberto’s ground swell settled down, the offshore anglers finally got out and found a wahoo bite on fire.
Fish have been from the northeast Big Rock to the Swansboro Hole, but it seems like Jerry‘s swells are not coming ashore.
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.