North Carolina is blessed to have an excellent winter time fishery. We reap the benefits of two worlds with the Gulf Stream from the south and the Labrador Current from the north converging right off the point of Hatteras. Each unique water system brings with it its own particular brand of fish. Mix that in with the resident North Carolina population of species and you have the makings of world class fishing and catching!
King mackerel and wahoo will dominate the inshore and offshore fishing along the Crystal Coast. As a rule of thumb, water temperatures of 65 degrees and up start out around the 15 fathom mark. Gulf Stream temperatures are still ranging in the mid to upper 70’s. King mackerel generally hang out in the 64-70 degree waters while wahoo can be caught just about anywhere. Some popular king spots will be 90 foot drop out to the Big Rock.
Let’s see how the tuna fishery goes this year. Blackfin and big eye tuna have been caught. Up until very recently I was hearing of yellowfin tuna as well as dolphin and sailfish, but no reports in the past few days. I’m still waiting for the jumbo bluefin tuna to arrive.
Crystal Coast Speckled trout are up in the shallows around the feeder creeks and marshes. Ocean side surf is still producing them too. Look for structure such as a jetty or even a fishing pier. Just because the piers have closed down for the season doesn’t mean the fish have gone away!
Fishing Tip For Trout
Here’s a friendly tip to the speckled trout fishermen. As the water temperature continue to drop, respond by slowing down the retrieval of your lure or soft plastic. Cold water makes fish lethargic and less aggressive. Some of the biggest wintertime trout caught are first thought of to be a snag or stump when first hooked.
The offshore wreck fishing for red snapper and grouper will be in full swing this winter. Both are heavily regulated fish so be sure to check with the NC Division of Marine Fisheries before you head out.
Margaret Hitchcock is a Realtor and owner/operator of Hitchcock Realty in Morehead City along the Crystal Coast of North Carolina. Whether it is a home or condo, on the beach or mainland be sure to contact Margaret today. Visit her online at www.HitchcockRealty.net or call (252) 269-2893.