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Fishing

  • A whiting by any other name is still a wonderfully tasty panfish

    Now is the time to go fishing for whiting. You can call them whiting, or you can call them sea mullet, Virginia mullet or even kingfish (though I've never actually heard that one used around here).

    Whatever you call them, they are the best thing going in inshore bottom-fishing until the water gets decently warm. Whiting are an early season pier-fishing and surf favorite, and what they lack in size they make up for on the dinner table.

  • Calabash captain and crew win tournament

    Fishermen finally got a reprieve from Mother Nature toward the end of last week as the winds and seas settled. Many of the area’s offshore fishermen, registered for the Martini’s Wahoo Tournament, headed offshore to the edge of the Gulf Stream in search of big wahoo as well as tuna and dolphin.

    Wednesday and Thursday provided fair weather with winds from the Northeast at 10 to 20 knots, and Friday was by far the best weather with flat, calm seas, sunny skies and warm temperatures.

  • Hook A Hoo and Family Day offer fishing enthusiasts entertainment venues

    I feel like I’ve been writing about the great things to come forever. The wind hasn’t stopped blowing in two weeks, and my thermostat switch is worn out from changing between heat and AC.

    I often look back at my fishing report archives I keep online at www.OIFC.com on the fishing report page to see what was going on this time last year.

  • Red drum are fun to catch and eat, but limits must be obeyed

    Last week the state closed all commercial harvest of red drum, a move that will probably last until September when the cap on commercial catches of the fish resets. The way North Carolina tries to manage this very important fish continues to change, and a lot of folks are currently debating the issues surrounding red drum in the state’s committee structure.

    Red drum are the state’s official saltwater fish, and they have always been a symbol of inshore fishing here even though a lot of other Southern states also can claim large red-drum populations.

  • Tandem rig increases your chances, helps identify size of your prey

    Spring anglers often have to contend with instability, from the weather, to which fish will bite on a given day. That is one reason people talk about “runs” of fish, though in all my years I have never seen a fish run. The fish are like the changing weather: here one day, gone the next.

  • Oak Island fisherman sets state record for red grouper

    Not many people can say they caught the state record the first time they ever went out for a certain kind of fish.

    But that’s what happened to Chuck Deeter.

    The Oak Island resident set the North Carolina record for red grouper when he reeled in the 33-pound 8-ounce fish, according to a press release last week from the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries.

    The grouper, which was weighed in at Anchorage Marina in Atlantic Beach, measured 35 inches in length and had a 25.5-inch girth.

  • Warmer temperatures, great fishing around the corner

    It has been a long winter, but spring officially starts this weekend, and I, for one, am looking forward to warmer temperatures and great fishing.

    In just a couple of short weeks, the offshore Gulf Stream waters will explode with life. Trolling in these productive waters will yield yellowfin tuna and wahoo, and bottom fishing will yield snapper and grouper.

    Closer inshore, the Atlantic Bonito will migrate into the area and hold over structure in the 45- to 60-foot depth range while the water temperatures are in the 60- to 66-degree range.

  • Redfish and trout provide good action in area creeks

    Usually, anglers get the too-quick start on the fishing season, running around in early March trying to find fish that aren’t quite yet motivated to feed much in the cold. This year, however, the fish are responding nicely, with eager anglers being greeted with some eager fish. Redfish and speckled trout continue to hit in the shallows, great news for fishermen working out in water that hasn’t yet hit 60 degrees.

  • Increasing size limit on flounder makes no sense

    I wrote last week about the idea of decreasing the size limit on flounder in hopes of targeting less of the big females that produce baby fish. The current limit is 14 inches inshore and 14 inches in the ocean.

    The state must have read my article, because it promptly went against what I suggested and raised the ocean flounder limit in the northern part of the state to 15 inches. In my next article, I will ask the government of North Carolina not to give me a million dollars.

    That is a big flounder size limit. When I catch a 15 -inch flounder, I do a silly little dance.

  • Time to dust off rods and reels

    March is the “official” beginning of the spring fishing season. It is time to dust off the rod and reels, clean the boat and start thinking about the first trip of the season.

    It seems like February gets longer every year and I, for one, am tired of fixing and getting ready.

    Last Friday, the weather broke and I had the chance to head offshore with local fishermen Daniel and Laura Russ and some of their friends who were in town from Iowa.