Oregon Inlet: Nearshore
Spanish mackerel has been good in early July and it should continue. Besides the Spanish mackerel, there has been a good sign of small king mackerel.
Cobia are scattered, as the sharks are still around but not in the numbers of early summer and late spring.
Oregon Inlet: Offshore
Yellowfin and bigeye tuna have been the story so far this summer. The tuna bite is still great but slowing down and being replaced with more dolphin both bailers and a few gaffers.
“Bailer” is a local name for the size of the dolphin/mahi; small enough to grab the leader and swing in the boat. Bailers are often found in big schools and can be held behind the boat with chum so they can be bailed into the boat. Gaffer dolphin/mahi is bigger and need to be brought into the boat with a gaff.
There is always the chance at billfish and this will improve deeper into the summer.
Oregon Inlet: Sound Report
Speckled trout fishing has been very good this summer and should continue. If you are looking for speckled trout, mornings are much preferable before the water temps heat up with our summer sun.
The head boats are catching croakers, pigfish, and the occasional flounder. Head boats are a great way to take a kid on his first charter. Head boats trips are 4 hours and have cabins and shade to get out of the sun. Each head bait carries two to three mates to help you out and show you the ropes.
Hatteras Inlet: Nearshore
Bluefish and Spanish should be the main fare. Triggers and amberjack should be around the nearshore wrecks. Big redfish are always a possibility around the inlet and Cape Point.
Sharks should be willing and ready to give any angler a big pull.
The summer set up out of Hatteras is pretty much the same every year.
The dolphin tends to be more “bailers” but the occasional gaffer will be caught. Besides dolphin, blackfin tuna and scattered yellowfin tuna will be landed. Wahoo is a southern speedster and is in the mackerel family and there will be scattered catches of them. Wahoo fishing gets better as the summer moves on.
There is always a chance at a billfish with sailfish being the most common, but don’t be surprised if a blue marlin swims in and eats bait.
Hatteras Sound Report
Fisherman fishing the waters behind Hatteras Inlet have reported good puppy drum fishing most of the summer, and, hopefully, it will continue for the rest of the summer.
Besides puppy drum, sea mullet and bluefish are being caught. They have also found good numbers of speckled trout, but they have not been as consistent as the puppy drum.
On the piers on Hatteras Island, croakers, Spanish, spot and bluefish should all be available.
On the end of the piers, anglers live baiting for king mackerel should catch the occasional kingfish.
The action is much the same action on the piers on the northern Outer Banks. The action can slow if the water temperatures drop to below normal.
Bottom fish are taken on fresh shrimp and blood worms fished on a top and bottom rig.
Most piers sell fresh bait and tackle and help with the right rig section.
In the Sand: surf action
Surf fisherman on Hatteras are finding pompano, sea mullet, bluefish and the scattered flounder. All of these fish are taken with bottom rigs and fresh bait like shrimp, sand fleas or cut mullet.
Surf fisherman on the northern beaches are catching the much the same species as on the southern beaches, but like the piers on the northern beaches, fishing can be greatly effected by water temperatures.
North Carolina requires a Coastal Recreational Fishing License for freshwater and saltwater fishing.
Most charter boats have blanket fishing licenses that cover all of their anglers, but check in advance to be sure.
Annual or 10-day licenses are available at www.ncwildlife.org, at many local tackle shops (see the list online) or by calling (888) 248-6834 (8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday).
To see the most recent size and bag limits, go to http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/.
On the right side under Hot Topics click on “Recreational Size and Creel Limits.”
Tackle shops and marinas are super resources for information. They have all the current scoop and are more than happy to help you get rigged up or plan a charter fishing trip.
Get outside and enjoy the fishing, and remember that the supply is not endless — so only harvest what you need.
Capt. Brian Horsley is recognized as pioneer of salt water fly fishing in the Mid-Atlantic region. A published author and photographer, he and his wife, Capt. Sarah Gardner, own and operate Outer Banks Fly Fishing and Light Tackle Charters (outerbanksflyfishing.com).