In the Sand-Surf Action

Warm waters are key to our surf fishing. Spot and croakers are being caught, but when the water is clear and warm the sea mullet fishing should improve greatly.

Southern Beaches

Much like the northern beaches, the surf fisherman had catches of sea mullet, pompano spots and croakers. South of Cape Hatteras, anglers also had small bluefish and more pompano.

The best natural baits for fishing the surf the north and south beaches are fresh shrimp, bloodworms or sand fleas. Most anglers fish these on a two-hook top and bottom rig.

Oregon Inlet Offshore

The yellowfin tuna are still being caught but not nearly the numbers they were earlier in the summer. There are still a few Bigeye Tuna are still be landed, as well. Bailer dolphin have replaced many of the gaffer dolphin and a wahoo or two are being landed. The billfish bite continues to get better as the summer goes along. The peak for the billfish is mid-August to mid-September.

Oregon Inlet Nearshore

Boats fishing the nearshore waters have been landing good catches of triggerfish. Triggers are tasty wreck dwellers. In the summer along the Outer Banks, they can move to inshore wrecks making them a target of the nearshore fleet. Spanish mackerel fishing has been slow, but everyone excepts their return. Cobia fishing is picking up. Cobia are usually a spring fish with the big bite happening in May. But as the summer progresses, more and more cobia are found on tide lines and other ocean structure. Besides trigger and scattered spanish and blues, the ribbonfish have been caught, as well.

Hatteras Inlet Nearshore

Boats fishing around Hatteras Inlet have been finding some Spanish mackerel, a few bluefish and some big red drum.

Pier Reports

The southern pier report is much the same all summer. Spot, croaker, sea mullet for the bottom fisherman and the occasional bluefish and Spanish bite on the end of the pier at sun up and sun down.

The piers on the northern beaches are reporting spot, croaker, and the occasional small speckle trout. Fresh shrimp and bloodworms are your best baits, if you are fishing the bottom. Jerk Jiggers are the go-to Spanish and bluefish lure.

Oregon Inlet/Northern Beaches Sound Report

Speckled trout fishing remains dismal after the big freeze last winter. But there are a few scattered specks being found. As the summer moves along, the puppy drum fishing should improve.

Hatteras Inlet Sound Report

The boats fishing inshore back in the Pamlico Sound behind Hatteras Inlet and been finding Bluefish, Red Drum, Gray Trout and Speckled Trout. The red drum have been both puppy drum and old drum as well. Anglers fishing boats behind Salvo have been finding speckled trout and puppy drum, as well.

The red drum, also known as channel bass, redfish or simply reds, is a popular game fish know for their hard fights. They are found in the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Northern Mexico. Along the North Carolina coast, they are called by their size. Puppy drum are smaller red drum from 0-to 27 inches, “yearling” drum are 27 inches to around 38 inches, and old drum are 40 inches and up. In North Carolina, anglers can keep fish from 18 inches to 27 inches, and one fish per person. The all tackle world record was taken in the surf at Avon North Carolina in 1984. This giant red drum weighed 94 pounds, 2 ounces. North Carolina has produced 10 out of 16 current world records for red drum. In North Carolina, red drum can be caught in the ocean, sounds, creeks and marshes.

Hatteras Offshore

The wahoo fishing has been excellent and the dolphin fishing fair with a few tunas thrown in.

This is typical summer fishing — one day there’s good dolphin, and the next day, good wahoo and slower dolphin. All summer long, there is always a good shot at a blue marlin or other billfish. If you do not have a full crew of six, call the marinas, and they can put you on a make up list.

Fishing licenses

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, at many local tackle shops or by calling (888) 248-6834 (Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.).

Size, bag limits

To see the most recent size and bag limits go to 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.Remember: When at the market or when dining out, ask for fresh local North Carolina seafood.


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