Sunday, August 7, 2016

North Carolina State Record Scamp

A recently caught scamp set a North Carolina state record and is a pending IGFA world record.

Teddy Wingfield, a 9-year-old from Lookout Mountain, Tenn., reeled in the enormous scamp on June 2 while fishing in waters off of Atlantic Beach.

The scamp weighed in at 32 pounds, topping the former state record by nearly 5 pounds and the world record by 2 pounds, 6 ounces.

Wingfield has applied for the all-tackle world record title through the International Game Fish Association. The application is pending approval.

The former state record, a 27-pound, 1-ounce fish, was also caught off Atlantic Beach in 2012. The current all-tackle world record scamp is 29 pounds, 10 ounces and was caught off Dauphin Island, Ala. in 2000.

Wingfield’s fish spanned 43 inches total length (tip of the nose to the tip of the tail) and measured 28 inches around the girth.

He caught the scamp while fishing on the Sunrise II charter boat.

source: North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries

Saturday, June 25, 2016

2015 North Carolina Recreational Saltwater Fishing Statistics

According to recent statistics from the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries (NC DMF), recreational saltwater catches increased in 2015. 

Anglers in North Carolina brought an estimated 10.2 million fish to the docks in 2015, an increase of 6.8 percent over 2014. The estimated weight of these landings rose by 32 percent to 11.6 million pounds. Anglers released 6 percent more fish, compared to 2014.

In terms of pounds landed dockside, the top five recreational species for 2015 were dolphin, bluefish, yellowfin tuna, cobia and wahoo.

The number of dolphin taken increased by 132 percent over the previous year to 430,296 fish (3.2 million pounds), the highest since 2011.

Anglers landed 19,284 wahoo weighing 534,787 pounds, a 66 percent increase.

Cobia harvests totaled 15,875 fish weighing 675,859 pounds, the highest since 2013. The average weight of the cobia nearly doubled from 2014.

Anglers brought 10.7 percent fewer yellowfin tuna to the docks; 24,205 fish weighing approximately 723,127 pounds.

NC DMF speculates that dolphin, wahoo and cobia harvests may have increased as a result of an absence of yellowfin tuna.

Recreational harvests of bluefish decreased by 16 percent to 911,983 fish (769,262 pounds).

Spotted seatrout harvests for 2015 were estimated to be the lowest on record. The low catches follow back to back cold stuns in 2013 and 2014.

NC DMF closed spotted seatrout harvest Feb. 5 to June 15 in 2014 to allow the fish that survive the cold stun event the maximum chance to spawn in the spring.

Another possible factor may have been the abnormal amount of rainfall in eastern North Carolina in the fall and winter of 2015 that flushed the creeks with freshwater, causing fish to move to higher salinities.

Despite low spotted seatrout harvests in 2015, estimates of recreational released catch (undersized) were at near record levels.

For a full landings report, visit

source: North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Are Barbless Circle Hooks Effective?

The effectiveness of barbless circle hooks was a popular topic during the 2016 Tokunaga Ulua Challenge Fishing Tournament in Hawaii.

A leader in the effort to learn more about circle hooks is Kurt Kawamoto, a fisheries biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center.

Each time a fish caught with a barbless circle hook was weighed in, Kawamoto stepped forward to slap a special sticker on it, and hopefully to see a new record.

Kawamoto's work is part of a NOAA and Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Barbless Circle Hook Project.

The Tokunaga tournament has grown from 136 entrants in 2003 to 637 this year. It’s estimated more than 50% of the contestants catch their fish using barbless circle hooks.

In 2015, the winning ulua was caught with a barbless hook. This year, the winning omilu was caught by a woman fishing barbless.

Making a barbless hook is really simple. You use a pair of pliers to smash down the barb. Kawamoto explains, “Once you smash down the barbs on these hooks they become self-shedding, so that was the main idea behind it. It’s easy for a fish, or a seal or a turtle to get rid of the hook themselves.”

Researchers have witnessed a monk seal actually shed a barbless circle hook and anglers have relayed stories about sea turtles also easily expelling barbless hooks.

Although it’s easier for animals to rid themselves of the hooks, research, angler reports, and actual catches with barbless circle hooks have proved their efficacy when it comes to catching target fish.

During a shoreline research project, fishers used two poles; one with a barbed hook, the other with a barbless one. Kawamoto said, “We caught over 300 shoreline fish, of many different kinds. We looked at the catches, losses and misses and statistically we couldn’t tell the difference. Essentially you could catch just as many fish with a barbless circle hook.”

Angler Carlo Russo who fishes from the shoreline said "My experience with them has been 100% positive. I caught three papio’s, nice size papio’s on them, and didn’t lose any fish. Popped them right out; all perfectly caught in the corner of their mouths.

The outreach team from the Barbless Circle Hook Project regularly attends fishing tournaments around the state to provide information, encouragement, and free barbless circle hooks.

Kawamoto concluded, “Since starting the project I only use barbless hooks in my personal shoreline fishing and I’ve caught all the same species. I couldn’t in good conscience ask fisherman to try something that I don’t use or believe in myself. I have guys on every island who are only using barbless hooks and they’ve seen it doesn’t make a difference…and allows the big one that got away…to reproduce, to grow and possibly to be caught another day. This helps enhance the reputation of fishermen and women as practicing conservationists.”

source: Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources

Thursday, May 19, 2016

North Carolina Artificial Fishing Reef Site 330

On May 7, 2016 the NC Division of Marine Fisheries sank two vessels in the Artificial Fishing Reef Site 330, a permitted site located approximately
9.8 NM west-southwest of the Beaufort Inlet Channel Sea Buoy (LLNR 730).

Artificial Fishing Reef Site 330 is referenced on chart 11543 as
“Obstn Fish Haven” located at position Latitude 34° 33’22” N, Longitude 076° 51’16” W. The two vessels were sunk in 60 ft of water with 11 ft of
water over the vessel structures.

Vessel Locations (approximate):

WILLIAM SEA sunk between 34° 33’49” N / 76° 51’21” W and 34° 33’48”
N / 76° 51’21”

TRAMP was sunk between positions 34° 33’49” N / 76° 51’21” W and 34° 33’49” N / 76° 51’23” W.

For more information, contact the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, Artificial Reef Coordinator at 252-726-7021.

source: U.S. Coast Guard 5th District LNM

Saturday, April 30, 2016

NJ - Sea Girt and Axel Carlson Reef Additions

New Jersey's Sea Girt and Axel Carlson reefs will receive 1,853 yards of concrete rubble from a seawall. Each reef will receive one load of approximately 930 cubic yards.

Deployment locations:

Axel Carlson Reef: 40 00.900'    73 59.700'

Sea Girt Reef: 40 07.450'    73 56.800'

The deployments are subject to weather and sea conditions.

Commercial fishers who have gear in the area during the time of deployment must move it or risk having it destroyed.

Sea Girt and Axel Carlson reefs were constructed and maintained by the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife's Artificial Reef Program.

For more information, visit the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife Artificial Reef Deployments page.

NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife