These later fall visitors are plentiful and powerful

They are more plentiful than the larger variety and can be found in most sloughs. In late October the bigger drum (40-70 pounds) return and remain until late November. Bait of choice is fresh mullet; rods are 9 to 11 feet with medium to heavy action tips. Size allowed is between 18″ and 27″ with a daily bag limit of 1 per person.Bluefish — Blues are available in a variety of sizes from April to December to surf fishermen and boaters as well. Large size blues (8-12 pounds) arrive in May and remain until November. Their departure is generally hastened by the arrival of the fall run of 15-20 pound giant blues. These later fall visitors are plentiful and powerful. They’ll take bait (mullet, spot, or menhaden) or almost any type of lure. Fishing rods 9 to 11 feet are preferred. Bag limit of 15 per day per person. Only 5 allowed over 24″ total length (from tip of snout to tip of compressed tail).Spanish mackerel –This fish is somewhat of a tourist, arriving in June and staying until later September.

The Spanish is delicious, averages 1 to 3 pounds and presents a real challenge to any angler. Spanish mackerel are usually taken on fast moving metal lures. Fishing rod of choice is a 9 foot light action. Minimum size allowed is 12″ fork length (from tip of snout to middle of fork in tail). Bag limit of 15 per day per personStriped bass –Recently during the winter months striped bass have returned to NC waters in great numbers. October, November and December are the best times for fishing, with fish still showing up as late as February. In Atlantic waters, size limit is over 27″ total length with bag limit of 2 per day. For sounds and other areas, consult the NC Marine Fisheries website.Flounder (summer, southern)–Flounder begin biting in May as the water warms. By June, the fishing is going strong, with both summer and southern flounder being caught. Southern flounder dominate the catch in inshore and southern NC waters, while summer flounder dominate the catch in offshore waters north of Cape Hatteras. Many flounder are caught using cut baits and some are caught using jigs.

When jigs are used, they work best when tipped with fish, shrimp or a mullet minnow.Other species available to North Carolina surf fishermen are pompano, croaker, trout, spot, hogfish and whiting (sea mullet).Be advised that there is a proposed recreational saltwater fishing license which is scheduled to take effect January 2006. The license is still being debated by the North Carolina General Assembly and you should check the NC Marine Fisheries website to determine if a license is required before fishing the NC coast after that date.Also, the size regulations and limits given above are accurate at the time of this writing (summer 2005) but are subject to change, so check the NC Marine Fisheries website to confirm these regulations before your fishing expedition.

Whether beginning angler or old salt, surf fishing is a popular and fun activity with minimal expense, no boat required, easy access to great fishing conditions and plenty of action. With a minimum of effort and expense, you can catch a variety of excellent eating fish, have a great time and start making your own memories.E. A. Edwards is a free-lance writer with a variety of professional and personal interests.

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