I’ve recently talked about fishing clubs and mid-winter fishing seminars to bump up your angling skills, but don’t forget reading material both books and magazines.

As far as magazines, there is the free Fisherman’s Post (http://fishermanspost.com), which covers the North Carolina Coast, as well as subscription magazines like the Carolina Sportsman (https://www.carolinasportsman.com/), which covers hunting and fishing in both North and South Carolina, and the more national oriented Saltwater Sportsman (https://www.saltwatersportsman.com/).

And then there is my not insignificant fishing book library housed in the International Corporate Headquarters of DrBogus.com. A full list can be found on my website, https://www.ncoif.com in the ARTICLES section, but today I would like to highlight just a few books that standout.

First are a few science-based books which give us a better view on what makes fish “tick,” what they see, feel and smell, how they react to stimuli. Remember, things are different under water, color is different, sounds are different. Do fish have binocular vision? How do they react to temperature and changes in weather?  Can they feel changes in air pressure?

Here are a few books that help us understand fish better. First, “What Fish See, Understanding the Optics and Color Shifts for Designing Lures and Flies” by Colin J Kageyama. If you think you know what colors work best, check out the photos of various-colored objects underwater and under various conditions.

The next book is the “Through The Fish’s Eye,” an angler’s guide to fish behavior by Mark Sosin and John Clark.

Finally, one of my favorites, The Fisherman’s Ocean, How Marine Science Can Help You Find and Catch More Fish” by David A. Ross. Ross is a biologist from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and has analyzed many aspects of how and what fish respond to. It’s a fascinating and practical read. Makes you think like a fish!

A few years ago, I interviewed H. Bruce Franklin on my radio show. Franklin wrote the book “The Most Important Fish in the Sea.” This book highlights the importance of the menhaden, a major forage fish for many important species, from bluefin tuna to red drum, cobia and king mackerel among others, and the plight of the menhaden stocks dealing with their rampant commercial harvest by Omega Protein.

North Carolina has had a rich history with its ocean fishing piers which at one time peaked at over 30 dotting our coast. Today, they have dwindled via wrecking ball and the likes of memorable hurricanes like Bertha and Fran, Dennis and Floyd, and more recently, Florence, to about 20 operating fishing piers. Al Baird, also head of the N.C. Fishing Pier Society, has written a great historical perspective, “North Carolina’s Ocean Fishing Piers: From Kitty Hawk to Sunset Beach.”

Have you ever walked the beach and thought why does it look like this, how did those periodic ridges get there, why is the sand stratified in layers? Orin Pilkey, emeritus professor at Duke University, is North Carolina’s expert on all things beach, and answers to these questions and more can be found in his book “How to Read a North Carolina Beach, Bubble holes, Barking Sands and Rippled Runnels.” Really a fascinating read.

Next week, I’ll go over a list of “how to” books which should perk up your catching for 2020.

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This time of year, fishing information is at a premium, but here is what I know as we approach late January.

The trout fishing is still historic, both in numbers and size and lots of big specks out there. Water temperatures have been moderate so far, leading to aggressive and hard-fighting trout. There have even been successes on topwater baits, and it’s late January as I have already pointed out. Fish are still in the creeks, the same ones I listed last week from the New to Neuse rivers and all areas in between.

I am still landing specks from county creeks in the 20-inch range, and they are pulling drag. One of the ones I released last week had funny tattoos on its sides, so feeling sorry, I released it. Turns out the markings were probably caused by an almost disastrous feeding encounter with a bottlenose dolphin. Thanks to Capt. George Beckwith Jr. for identifying the distinctive scratches for me.

By the way, also mixed in with the specks are both slot reds and a good number of keeper black drum. Last week, there were sea mullet and puffers in Beaufort Inlet, but I haven’t heard any reports this week.

In the Neuse, there have been more reports of shad being caught among speckled trout. A photo I saw looked like an American or white shad which was as big as the trout in the photo. Fish have been caught in the New Bern area, although there are reports from farther downriver too. Looks like an early start to the shad-spawning runs. Think Neuse, Tar, Cape Fear and Roanoke, among others.

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One day last week, I drove onto the beach at the point in Emerald Isle looking for some red drum action, only to be disappointed.

The beach was beautiful except for algae fouling my line. There was ever some sargassum weed somehow blown in from the Gulf Stream…hmmmm.

I fished the surf and worked my way around to the inlet side with the same lack of success. I did hear that there were a few slot reds boated from the inlet over the weekend. “Here fishy…fishy!”

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From small to giant, it looks like an outstanding bluefin tuna season with multiple catches almost daily.

Fish have ranged from the 300s to the 800s of pounds. Wow, I just can’t imagine fighting one of those giants…and surviving to tell about it.

Bogus notes

1) Check me out at www.Facebook.com/Dr.Bogus.) Log onto my web site at www.ncoif.com. It’s repaired and up and running and better than ever.

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.

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