Dolphin fishing should remain good for a week or so. Bailers will the most prevalent with a few gaffer size dolphin, as well. Bottom fishing for grouper, tilefish and triggers will continue to be good for those wanting to deep drop baits. Wahoo, yellowfin and blackfin tuna will be caught, but not in the numbers we saw early in the summer. Wahoo fishing gets better as the summer moves on. There is always a chance at a billfish with sailfish being the most common, but blue marlin and white will be seen.
Oregon Inlet: Offshore
The tuna bite is slowing but still very good. Bailer dolphin and wahoo will help fill the box as well. Late July is the start to some great bill fishing. Sailfish will the most common. Blue marlin are the top dogs of the billfish world, and releasing one is highly prized. White marlin are showing up mixed in the with the other billfish. If a boat catches all three species of billfish — blue marlin, sailfish, white marlin — in a day, it is called a grand slam. Grand slams are not rare, but they are not a weekly occurrence
Oregon Inlet: Nearshore
King mackerel fishing has been good, but they do move around and some day have been hard to fine. Spanish mackerel are providing anglers with great eats. Small false albacore are starting to show and bite Spanish mackerel gear. The big red drum continue to make their sporadic appearances around Oregon Inlet.
Hatteras Inlet: NearShore
Bluefish and Spanish continue to be the main fare for trollers along the beaches outside of Hatteras Inlet. Big redfish are always a possibility around the inlet and Cape Point.
On all of the piers on the northern beaches and Hatteras Island, croakers, Spanish, spot and bluefish should all be available. Strong southwest winds can make the ocean water cold and this will slow the action. 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, such as 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. Anglers afoot on the northern beaches should check out the little bridge on the causeway to Manteo. This water is in the Roanoke Sound, so the temperature will remain normal, even during strong southwesters.
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. Speckled trout fishing has heated up with some great catches being made.
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 boat carries two to three mates to help you out and show you the ropes.
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 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.”
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).