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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was just thinking how it seems over the last couple years that populations seem to have improved for a number of species. Obviously there are many factors that influence cycles in a fishery, but when everything comes together it's amazing how good the fishing can be.
Red drum fishing both for smalls and bigs has been phenominal. Speckled trout the last couple years have been readily available with lots of good size fish in the mix. Even the weakfish appear to be coming back to some degree. Flounder fishing appears to be on the upswing both inside and out. Spot, croaker, and whiting have been filling coolers along the surf and on the piers. For those that target King Mackerel it's been a good year. And of course the ever present spanish mackerel and bluefish have been in abundance.
It's a good time to be a coastal fisherman in NC.
 

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The anecdotal evidence does seem to indicate that this was a good year for rec fishing along our coast. Whether that translates into a true population increase is debatable, but I won't argue that point. I think it is good news. Inshore stocks seem to be pretty resilient; in other states where they were just about decimated, they bounced back a lot quicker than expected once they tightened up regs.
 

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I am curious how the moratorium earlier in the year has affected the catch rate for recs.
I wonder what the keep versus C&R rate is for specs in general - that would play into the answer for your query. Except for a couple of trips where it wasn't possible (due to amount of time before I could clean and cook or freeze fish) I always kept all the specs I legally could. I don't have much impact because I don't even fish for them every year and in no year has it been more than 3 times. This is going back 20 years or so. They do seem to be a commonly kept fish. So for all the keepers to be turned back for a while could make a big difference in perception - some keeper fish might have been caught 4 or 5 times this year where in normal years they would be lucky to be released more than once (or even once).
 

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Does anyone know the difference in breeding and early development habitat between spot/croaker/gray trout and sea mullet?
 

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I read something about gray trout early habitat a while back but I don't want to be quoted. Let me see if I can find it.

There is no doubt the moratorium helped with catch rates IMHO. I think it could be an option to be explored to aid with the speck population as early breeders had better than normal success due to not being kept.
 

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I personally didn't notice any increase or decrease in flounder fishing/catching this year. It was pretty good as usual. And as usual most of the fish that were not keepers were with in a half inch of 15.

I'll take fresh over frozen regardless of species.
 

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Don't forget about the insane spring dolphin fishing and the fall wahoo was off the charts!! And off of the north coast of NC, tuna fishing was really good.


Cobia from MS all the way around FL and up to us was awesome this year! In fact I have seen more cobia this year offshore than any other year before by far.


As far as flounder go, I'm not sure about inshore, but just off the beach and out to 30 miles has been crazy this year as well.


Of course this can't be though. Between boat motor fumes, mono made of a highly toxic chemical, gulp juice, suntan lotion, and quark off of fishing rod handles, the fish in the ocean are almost gone. And we have to immediately stop fishing in the ocean. Now everyone hug a tree. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

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Most of the reports I have seen are concerning the large predators - bluefin, billfish and large sharks. There is some concern about the effects on the rest of the populations because of their numbers dwindling, but I have not seen mainstream movements working to shut down fishing entirely. One I linked to recently was actually encouraging a shift to eating more of the prey fish instead of the predators to try to bring the numbers back into a better balance. Yeah, I am a bit of a tree hugger but once we have enough trees I want lumber. I support selective harvest that is sustainable. I need to get down to the coast and practice a little of that while the trout are so thick they are even cozying up to dit dotters like me...
 

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Yeah I guess most of the people I talk to are just not overly impressed with the fishing for spot and croaker recently. I am talking mostly about people who bottom fish in the turning basin and gallants channel area around Beaufort and MHC. I can remember a true spot run probably 12 years ago and haven't seen anything close to that in a long time. Haven't caught a real good mess of croaker in a while either. NC should be able to compete with the James River in VA for croaker but we just flat out don't. Just my 02 cents.

Check out commercial landings of spot and look at the trend: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/statistics/comstat/spot

and croaker: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/statistics/comstat/croaker

(Not trying to start another comm debate, simply using commercial poundage landings as a point of reference)
 

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Spot and croaker are the ones that one of the most vocal groups is always showing pictures of on shrimp trawlers and I have heard and to some small degree experienced the same. Last year we stayed at Beaufort for a few days and it was surprising difficult (compared to past years) to catch salty pan fish. This year I have not tried for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
ImageCroaker, Atlantic fish icon
Atlantic croaker is not experiencing overfishing. Estimates of spawning stock biomass were too uncertain to precisely determine overfished stock status. However, given that biomass has been increasing and the age structure of the population has been expanding since the late 1980s, it is unlikely the stock is in trouble.


Image Spot fish icon
Recreational and commercial landings increased in 2013 from historical lows in 2012. The juvenile abundance index increased in 2013. In 2011, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission approved the Omnibus Amendment for spot. Coupled with adaptive management measures, the Omnibus Amendment provides options to efficiently implement management measures should they be needed in the future.

The above info is from DMF stock status reports. Sounds somewhat positive.
 

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ImageCroaker, Atlantic fish icon
Atlantic croaker is not experiencing overfishing. Estimates of spawning stock biomass were too uncertain to precisely determine overfished stock status. However, given that biomass has been increasing and the age structure of the population has been expanding since the late 1980s, it is unlikely the stock is in trouble.


Image Spot fish icon
Recreational and commercial landings increased in 2013 from historical lows in 2012. The juvenile abundance index increased in 2013. In 2011, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission approved the Omnibus Amendment for spot. Coupled with adaptive management measures, the Omnibus Amendment provides options to efficiently implement management measures should they be needed in the future.

The above info is from DMF stock status reports. Sounds somewhat positive.
I have read what the dmf states just ready to see some results. I know I am a fisherman but I am impatient! :D

I agree though it has been a good year especially for kings.
 

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I think there is one thing we can all agree upon. The pinfish numbers ain't hurtin.

You can say that again! Which made me think about something else I haven't ever seen, until a few weeks a go. I've got a buoy just outside of the inlet infested with pin fish and cigar minnows. Well the last 3 times I've been out there, HUGE schools of jack's were coming up with the sibiki rigs of pin fish.

We even had one that come up by his self on one drop, that had to be 24" long. But when I say huge schools.....25-50 jack's would come up cruise the top and go back down. And that was happening on every drop for bait.

This has been an incredible year of fishing!
 
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