Posted by & filed under Articles, Fishing.

Emerald Isle Water Temperatures for May2021
Surf and sound temps for May again were on a roller coaster with wide and wild fluctuations especially early in the month, followed by steady increases later in the month followed by a serious cold snap and drop in temps. Surf had a 11-degree range whereas the sound was over 20-degrees. Surf at Bogue Pier had a Low of 66°, high of 77° (11° difference) with an average of 70.4° +/- 3.0°. The surf curve was positive with a slope of +0.26°. Bogue Sound had a low of 60° and a high of 82° (22° difference) and an average also over 70° at 72.1° +/-5.3. Check out the graph, blue diamonds are the surf, red squares are the sound temperature.

Posted by & filed under Articles, Fishing.

Ethical Catch and Release practices for the modern fisherman

Recommended Catch and Release Practices

High quality sport fishing is enhanced by anglers who choose to practice catch-and-release
and proper handling practices. We help do this by harvesting only those fish you
will use, and releasing the rest of our catch unharmed in the best possible physical condition when you make the decision to harvest it for food or to release it. The following is a summary of suggested “best practices” that should be considered. The following is a summary of “best practices” that should be considered. These days many species her in NC have release or release only citations.

Choosing Your Tackle

  • Use strong enough line to bring your catch in quickly.
  • Fish caught with flies or lures survive at a higher rate than fish caught with bait.
  • Use hooks appropriate to the size of the fish. And CIRCLE hooks when appropriate. Substitute single hooks for trebles where appropriate. (required in some instances)
  • Use pliers to pinch barbs on hooks down. (required in some instances)

Landing Your Catch

  • Land your fish as carefully and quickly as possible.
  • Avoid removing the fish from the water.
  • Do not let fish flop about in shallow water, on the ground, or in the bottom
    of your boat.
  • Use landing nets made with soft rubber or knotless mesh.

Handling Your Catch

  • Keep your fish in the water.
  • Cradle large fish gently with both hands: one under its belly, one at the tail.
  • Keep your fingers out of and away from the gills and eyes.
  • Use wet hands or wet cloth gloves to handle the fish.
  • Never squeeze the fish.
  • Minimize time out of the water – Fish cannot remain healthy out
    of water for longer than you can hold your breath.

Removing Your Hook

  • Use long nose pliers or hook removers to back the hook out (ARC Dehookers, Catch & Hook, Hook Remover, EZ Hook Remover).
  • Remove the hook quickly, keeping the fish underwater.
  • When the fish is hooked deeply, cut the line to release the fish. If the fish
    is bleeding form (from) the gills, it is likely to die and, provided it’s of legal
    size, you should keep it as part of your bag limit.
  • Use steel hooks that will rust out, avoid stainless steel hooks. (Fast rusting bronzed are fine for bait, not so practical for artificials or flies.
  • Don’t hold fish up in the gill-plates.

Reviving Your Catch

  • Keep your catch in the water at all times. If you want to take a photograph,
    have the photographer get ready, then lift the fish barely out of the water
    and quickly return it to the water.
  • Point your catch into the water and gently move it back and forth until its gills are working properly and it maintains its upright balance. When the fish recovers and attempts to swim away, let it swim from your hands.
  • Large fish may take some time to revive.
  • Mention Problem of discarded fishing line.

 

Problem of Barotrauma

  • Reviving fish from depths. Problem of physics of gas expansion and pressure.
  • Floating at the surface, stomachs protruding out of the fish’s mouth, Bulging eyes, Flared gills, Inflated body cavities
  • 33 Feet Depth = one atmosphere (volume of gas doubles in air bladder).
  • Snapper, grouper, sea bass etc.
  • Fizz gas release method releasing gas with a syringe needle. Problem of damaging other organs if you misplace the syringe needle.
  • Descending device for release…SeaQualizer (https://seaqualizer.com/).

 

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Year Surf Temp
9/1/1999 81
9/6/2000 79
8/25/2001 82
9/1/2002 82
9/6/2003 82
8/24/2004 80
8/26/2005 84
9/2/2006 80
8/29/2007 85
9/1/2008 81
9/1/2009 78
8/28/2010 82
9/2/2011 79
8/25/2012 80
8/25/2013 77
8/26/2014 80
8/25/2015 84
8/30/2016 82
8/27/2017 79
8/26/2018 79
8/26/2019 80
9/1/2020 84
  80.9

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Emerald Isle Water Temperatures for February 2021

Surf at Bogue Pier had a Low of 49°, high of 55° with an average of 51.6° +/- 1.5° curve was nearly flat with a small positive slope and again above normal for the month, typical for February. Bogue Sound had a low of 41° and a high of 59° and an average of 49.0° +/-4.0. Check out the graph, blue diamonds are the surf, red squares are the sound temperatures.

Posted by & filed under Articles, Fishing.

Shorebird Nesting Area/Program at the Point in Emerald Isle (WTKF 107.1 FM, Radio Interview of Ed Phillips, 1/18/21) by Dr.Bogus, Ed Phillips and Mike McHugh

Dr. Bogus: My many days wandering down at the EI Point fishing I bumped into somebody named Ed Phillips riding his bike up and down the street, crossing over the dunes. He’s part of the shorebird nesting program. Good morning Ed. Give people a brief history of your background, then we’ll talk about the bird nesting program which has its ups and downs in Emerald Isle.

Ed Phillips: I retired from the Navy active duty for 28, then I worked for the Federals and moved down here full time in 2016. I’ve been an avid birder since the last 10-years. I’ve been a birder for 40-years.

Dr. Bogus: You can see my hat, it’s a Chilean Ornithological Society hat from my daughter who lives in Chile.

Ed Phillips: So anyway, once I retired, I had a lot more time and I go down to the point. I was in northern Virginia, northern Delaware and there’s not a lot of shore birds. So I’d been really working the point trying to sort them out and one day I was down there a lady came up and said: “do you see any least terns?” And I said I think there is a few over there. Well it turns out that they had a program to put up some enclosures to protect the nesting birds and I just kind of volunteered for that.

Dr. Bogus: There are a lot of protected bird nesting areas on the Outer Banks and Ocracoke and down here. The one at Emerald Isle is interesting because after Bertha and Fran…there was no point and I remember for years the birds were nesting the roof of the Emerald Plantation Shopping Center.

Ed Phillips: They still do to somewhat, and that’s kind of universal, that’s not unique here to this area. We see them nesting every summer up on the Food Lion.

Dr. Bogus: They got the stones up there; it’s probably a nice safe nesting area too.

Ed Phillips: Well yes and no. It’s safe from most predators; they also nest up on the Best Buy right here in Morehead. What would happen is that they nest up there because it’s very similar to their habitat on the beach, there’s a lot of gravel and all that, but there no shade, whenever a thunderstorm comes through it typically destroys the nest with any high winds. So we’ve had very little success.

Dr. Bogus: One of the things that happened 2005, we remember the big event in Emerald Isle when they moved the Inlet. And people think what happened after that was that they pumped a lot of sand on the beach, which they didn’t! That whole point just accreted naturally, almost all of it is just natural accretion there, and it rebuilt the point. Now that point is back to probably what is was before that…I measured one day about 1/3rd of a mile between the ramp and the inlet, and not only is there sand there but there is vegetation, nice dunes.

Ed Phillips: Nice dunes good vegetation.

Dr. Bogus: So the shore bird nesting program, describe that, is it a local program or something with Marine Fisheries or how does this work?

Ed Phillips: It’s actually set up and coordinated by North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. They are the ones that have the over-all authority for putting up the enclosure and monitoring the birds. What they did was in 2004 they entered into an agreement with the town of Emerald Isle. So we’ve got, we’re looking at the engineering plans here, when they do migrate this channel a little further west towards the center, we know there’s going to be some accretion and we know that this point is going to build. And there’s birds that had been nesting on a couple of islands out there…

Dr. Bogus: One we used to call Bird Island.

Ed Phillips: Right and those islands were basically removed inundated when they did the dredging. The birds they’re smart and they relocated and started populating the point. Coincidental, what happened, it was kind of funny, there was a grade school girl who happened to be walking along the point and she noticed the nesting birds, she told a guy who told a guy who was running a conservation program out of a church up in New Bern. So he kinda got set up the “Shorebird Stewards” in 2015, so that’s how that came about.

Dr. Bogus: There is a lot of area, a lot of sand at the point now, and there is a fairly big area that is cordoned off for the bird nesting, how is that selected and do you know how much of the area is for bird nesting?

Ed Phillips: Right, I do. The agreement with the town of Emerald Isle, who has been extremely supportive as has the Emerald Isle police and actually the residents and the visitors. When we interact with them they have no clue what we are doing, but once we point out the little nesting birds and why they are doing what they are doing…I’ve talked to probably 100 people and they are all, without exception interested, excited and grateful. So what we do is, the agreement they entered into with the town is from the dune grass-line down to the high tide line, they can fence no more than 70%. They have to leave 30% available for public access at a minimum. They can get greater than 30%, that’s good. What they look at generally is the habitat, where do you think these birds will nest? The way they nest is…

Dr. Bogus: It’s hardly a nest!

Ed Phillips: If you took your heel and just tapped it on the soft sand, that’s their nest! And they lay 1 or 2 or 3-eggs in there and they sit on the eggs for 3-weeks, the chicks hatch and after about 3-weeks they fledge to the point where they can fly and fend for themselves. But they need about a 30-yard buffer.

 

Dr. Bogus: Actually they, there are two things about it, first the birds can’t read so they don’t know where the designated nesting area is, they’re illiterate, but also it’s set up in such a way you can still go own to the Coastguard Channel, there is a pathway there. And there is a pathway straight down to the inlet and there is plenty of room in front of it on the beach side for people who are swimming, beaching or fishing or whatever.

 

Ed Phillips: Right, and with the winter storms and everything and the movement of the sand, movement of the dunes and all that, they alter the enclosure every year. And it’s really two enclosures. If you come off that walkway that you come down, to the left of that is the largest enclosure, several acres that goes towards the ocean proper, and then to the right going up to that little sound area over where there is much more dunes (Dr. B: “towards the CG Channel”), that’s a separate area and we have different birds in that area.

Mike McHugh: Before we go to a break, I have a question. You mentioned earlier about predators for the birds. What are some of the common predators that you find on Emerald Isle?

Ed Phillips: The ones we are most concerned about actually are human beings, with the dogs not being on a leash, that’s the most, we don’t see very many feral cats, probably a raccoon or two occasionally it’s been reported a coyote. Some of the other predators are airborne, some of these large gulls.

Mike McHugh: Do the eggs get attacked the ghost crabs, they do that with turtle nests.

Ed Phillips: Yes, yes, that’s one I forgot, that’s a good one a big ghost crab. As a matter of fact these illiterate birds, I watched them last year and what they do…they are colonial nesters, safety in numbers much like ants and if they have a threat they lift off and go after the threat.

Dr. Bogus: They are very aggressive.

Ed Phillips: Yes they are, but we watched 3 or 4 of them, and they make themselves look bigger by raising their wings, they chased a ghost crab, and it was a good sized crab …they chased him right to the edge of the fence and then they sopped and went back to their business. Who says they can’t read!

Dr. Bogus: We’re not inundated by snow geese right now not like up in Delaware, you mentioned the…there are a number of different birds that nest in that area, the prime one is probably the least tern, those little bitty guys.

Ed Phillips: The least tern are amazing little birds, the smallest tern that we have in North America, they are very white, they have a bright yellow bill and they have a white forehead, it’s quite distinctive. And the way Pete Dunn puts it is they are always moving. Even their flight is fast, when they dip down to the water and get a fish they come up immediately and we have a lot of those. Last year I counted a 118…

 

Dr. Bogus: How do you do that? How do you count the birds?

Ed Phillips: I approach the area from the walkway and I have a little notebook and I make a rough sketch and then I walk 10, 20-yards and set up a scope and I start counting the ones that look to me are in a nesting posture and I just make tick marks and I go all the way around.  Yah I’m going to double count some, I’m going to miss some and all that so…as most data after a while it averages out. So last year was very successful, I know that you noticed last year the enclosure was huge. It went much closer to the surf line than we normally do.

Dr. Bogus: There was still plenty of room, but it was noticeably closer to the surf line.

Ed Phillips: I think because of that and I think because of COVID and the lack of people at the beach, we had a really, really successful year. I counter 118 nesting pairs and I don’t know how many chicks, and then they all left pretty early like mid-July they were pretty much gone. Which means they had been successful.

Mike McHugh: Where do they go Ed?

Ed Phillips: South America, the northern coast, a little bit along Mexico and the Caribbean.

Mike McHugh: So what is their northern limit, if they are here nesting?

Ed Phillips: They go as far north as Maine.

Mike McHugh: So up and down along the Atlantic Coast…down to South America.

Ed Phillips: But they are fascinating little birds, they are colonial breeders, they are excellent parents, they lay 1 to 3-eggs, they take turns sitting on the eggs. When it gets hot, which it does pretty quickly here, they will actually fly out on the water, come back wet and sprinkle some water on the eggs to keep them from boiling. That’s another issue with the dogs, and with the people approaching the fence line too closely…the birds will lift off to go after you to scare you away. If you are there too long, like I’m sensitive to that when I’m with my scope, if I’m standing there too long, it doesn’t take but about 10, 12, 15-minutes for those eggs to actually cook and they are done! But they are aggressive and they are fun.

Mike McHugh: Do the adults mate for life?

Ed Phillips: Yes sir they do.

Mike McHugh: What is the life span typically for a tern in the wild?

Ed Phillips: I think the oldest they measured was 26 years, but that is probably an anomaly, I’d say in the 20-year range.

Mike McHugh: Boy they have some miles on their wings if they have lived over 2-decades and they are doing that back and forth down the coast, that’s amazing!

Dr. Bogus: There are a couple other kinds of birds nesting there.

Ed Phillips: The other species, the ones you’re going to see the most if you are a beach goer or fisherman down there is you ‘re going to see the least terns, they are beautiful, they are white and you‘ll see them out there when you are casting in the surf. They will fly out and they will hover right near you dive, get a fish and go back. Those are the least terns; we have several hundred of those there every year. Up on the other side the other enclosure the one that is closer to the Coast Guard Channel, There is a couple birds called the willet and we had 2-pairs of those nesting, which was kind of interesting. I did see a nesting of clapper rails. I’ve never seen this…

Dr. Bogus: Boy that’s unusual.

Ed Phillips: It really is. I was just standing there and I happened to look up and I saw 2-adults and two chicks! So that was a red letter day, and then the other one that we had was probably more important was a Wilson’s plover.

 

Dr. Bogus: Them I’ve seen there too.

Ed Phillips: That’s very similar to the killdeer that most of you have seen run around fields and in your yard, it’s a plover.

 

Dr. Bogus: They act similar too when they lie on the ground.

 

Ed Phillips: And their behavior is to get you away from their nest instead of bombing you like the least terns. They just run away and hope you‘re going to follow them. So those are the 4.

Mike McHugh: The clapper rails where are they more common.

Dr. Bogus: Oh they are common here you just don’t see them.

 

Ed Phillips: When you go out fishing in the inland waterway or out in the marsh you hear them ALL the time. Let me give a plug for the Shorebird Stewards. We are a volunteer group, we’re looking for people to join us, we have a Facebook page it’s called Beach Bird Stewards of Emerald Isle (https://www.facebook.com/Beach-Bird-Stewards-of-Emerald-Isle-225076011666468/). Come on down there and go for a walk!

Posted by & filed under Articles, Fishing.

Average Weekly Surf Temps in Emerald Isle 1995-2021

  • 2021 NCDMF Recreational regulations (ncdmf.net, http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/). Fishing License since Jan-2007 (www.ncwildlife.org), 1-888-HUNTFISH, 1-888-248-6834), trout 4/day, 14-in.
  • Water temperatures…who!
    1. Winter (low, in 40s Dec, Jan, Feb) March (50s) April (60s, magic temp. 65°), May (70s)
    2. Fish and temperature croaker (45°), sea mullet/trouts/blowfish (48°), bluefish (50°), B&R drum (52°), spot/flounder (56°), sheepshead (58°), Atlantic bonito/false albacore (60-62°), Spanish/king Mackerel (65-68°)
  • Piers/surf
    1. Just opening (List of remaining piers) Blanket licenses for piers, but check for 2021.
    2. Oceanana, Bogue Inlet, Sheraton/Double Tree-no fishing (Seaview, Surf City, Jolly Roger)
    3. March/April, Sea mullet, blowfish, skates, sharks (dogfish), black drum, blues, false albys, gray trout, bluefish late March, early April (1 to 2 lbs. and skinny Hatteras blues-April), blackfin tuna!
    4. Can’t get fresh shrimp, fish strips, squid (Fishbites-shrimp/bloodworms, Gulp!).
      1. Did you freeze finger mullet last fall, parboil your sand fleas?
    5. May Day, Spanish on the piers and nearshore, start CL Jetty and go west along beach (Gotcha, Clark Spoons, Speck Rigs)
  • Sound
    1. Lots of tiny minnows around now along with peanut bunker and mullet (big and small)
    2. Creeks-puppy drum (also shoals at inlets), CL shoals!
    3. Speckled trout (should be showing/returning from ocean, and grays too)
    4. Flounder that wintered over, but many early flounder on nearshore reefs, wrecks and rocks (315, 320, 330… etc) Flounder regs for 2020, Closed, will open TBD???, ??-in. ?/day.
    5. Early run of hungry (less fussy) sheepshead (April/May) (10-in. FL , 10/day)
    6. Grubs (float), live mud or mullet minnows or pinfish, MirrOlures, top water
  • Rivers
    1. Hickory Shad (March/April), Stripers (April/May) anadromous spawners. Roanoke, Neuse, Tar and Creeks. (Check for current regs).
  • Inshore
    1. False albacore Atlantic bonito (into mid-May, sea mullet, blues, gray trout
    2. Artificial reefs (AR 315, 320, 340, 342)-sea bass, black drum (14-25 in.10/day), gray trout
    3. CL Jetty, Beaufort inlet, Dead Tree Hole (GPS = 34 39.24, 76 38.06)
    4. Many early season flounder on nearshore reefs, wrecks and rocks (315, 320, 330… etc)
    5. Cobia 2010 excellent but 2012/13 good, poor 2018, 2019, 2020.

Posted by & filed under Articles, Fishing.

Emerald Isle Water Temperatures for January 2021

Surf at Bogue Pier had a High of 57°, low of 50° with an average of 52.8° +/- 1.7° curve was very flat with only a small range and a very small negative slope, but again above normal for the month. We are early into February and still haven’t dropped below 50° in the surf as yet. Sound had a high of 60° and a low of 42° and an average of 49.8°. Check out the graph, blue diamonds are the surf, red squares are the sound temperatures.