I’m baaaack, and like many of you hopefully, our family got through a very quiet holiday season unscathed.
We did “Zoom” with the kids in their far corners of the world, specifically son Paul in London, UK not Ontario, daughter Gretchen in San Francisco and eldest Noelle in Buin (pronounced bween), Chile where it’s of course summer!
Each year as the new year starts to mature, we often “make up” New Year’s resolutions to hopefully enhance or improve ourselves and maybe the world. This year, I also asked a few of our readers to submit some resolutions for 2021, so I will start off with some of their suggestions.
As we become more aware of the fragility of our piscatorial resources, several people made suggestions concerning fisheries conservation, encouraging more catch and release, particularly release of speckled trout over 20 inches, and in the same vein in general, catch and release of breeding stock fish. Over the years, we have seen more of these regulations, including slot limits for both red and black drum and finally some minimum size requirements for sheepshead. Several suggestions included flounder regulations to recover, especially our southern flounder stocks.
Interestingly, there were two suggestions to eliminate the Recreational Commercial Gear License (RCGL), particularly the recreational use of inshore small-mesh gillnets. I might be wrong, but I do not know of any other states that have the equivalent of our RCGL. Let me know what you think?
Next week, as we approach the Lunar New Year, 4719 year of the White Cow (Ox, 2/12/21), I will make some of my resolution suggestions.
As you might imagine, hard “catching” data is tough to come by, but if you are looking for fish, think areas inside and just outside of inlets that are holding fish, and as always, think structure.
There are trout, red and black drum in the creeks and marshes on the ocean side of the barrier islands and in the surf just outside the inlets. Think Browns to Bardens inlets, along Bear Island, to Shackleford Banks, and to the surf and shoals at Cape Lookout.
If you are fishing the Lookout jetty, Sam’s Gitter Rigs with shrimp will catch reds and blacks and sheepshead. With live bait or the usual artificials, Gulp!, MirrOlures and soft plastics, you will also find specks, and on jigs, there are still grays in the mix too. Inside, the black drum bite is also holding up well along the Morehead City docks with slot-and-above fish, as with the Lookout jetty. We are definitely reaping the fruits of slot and bag limits put on black drum a few years ago. It’s wooooorking!
By the way, I can attest to the fact that the trout action in the mainland Bogue Sound creeks, like Broad and Gales, is almost nonexistent, even as the bait is still plentiful. Last week, I did catch and release a 21.5-inch speck from one of those creeks, but that seems so long ago and far away. That fat fish took a Betts Halo Shrimp, my go-to bait this winter. Unfortunately, I caught that speck on my first cast, which is the kiss of death. Even releasing the trout to appease the piscatorial gods did not reverse my fortunes. They were NOT pleased or appeased. If it’s big trout you want, there are still some to be had in the New River where a 32-inch fish weighing nearly 10 pounds was caught.
As you can see, most of the current species are our favorite sciaenids, yes, the drum/croaker family of fish.
I mentioned the inlets. If you are interested in the only silent member of the sciaenids, the sea mullet, the bite is still on in Beaufort Inlet in 50 to 64 feet of water and is especially hot during the slack tide.
Here on Bogue Banks, local pier and surf fishing is as sparse as anglers giving it a shot. Enough said!
On the other hand, there are great bluefins still being caught. The giant tuna had moved a bit to our south but seem to be returning back to our nearshore waters. By the way, as we get close to February, it’s time to think shad…right?
Here are some notes:
Sadly, due to “you know what,” Emerald Isle’s yearly St. Patrick’s Day Festival has gone the way of many other events and cancelled this year.
Finally, phase III of Bogue Banks beach nourishment project is scheduled from the last week of January through April. For details and a map check out http://www.carteretcountync.gov/827/Florence-Renourishment-Project-2021.
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.