Posted by & filed under Fishing, Recipes category.

Presto Pesto Flounder (13 Oct 98)



2 flounder fillets (skinned)


several fresh basil leaves


fresh basil pesto


fresh juice from ¼ lemon


¼ onion


S & P to taste


1 plum tomato


Parmesan cheese


1 stalk celery





*Place aluminum foil on broiler and coat with a thin film of olive oil and place flounder fillets on oiled foil.

*Spread pesto on each fillet. [I make it each Summer with garlic, my garden fresh sweet basil, olive oil and pine nuts (pignoli)]

*In a blender or food processor, chop tomato, celery, onion and basil with lemon juice and spread over the flounder. 

*Add S&P to taste or diet. 

*Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on the top and bake at 375 degrees until flounder is flaky and still moist.


Flounder with Garlic Mustard Sauce (26 Oct 98)



2 T olive oil


fresh juice from ½ lemon


2 T butter


2-T Dijon mustard


4 garlic cloves, chopped


½ t thyme (fresh if available)


½  lb shrimp, shelled, deveined and butterflied


salt & pepper


4 flounder fillets, skinned


¼ C Parmesan cheese


½  C white wine





_ Place flounder fillets on oiled foiled broiler pan.

_ Cover each fillet from head to toe with butterflied shrimp.

_ In a skillet, heat olive oil and butter and lightly brown garlic. 

_ Add wine, juice of the lemon, thyme, S&P heat to boiling, and stir in mustard.

_ Reduce liquid to about one half until thickened.

_ Pour over fish fillets and shrimp.

_ Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and bake at 375 degrees until flounder is flaky but not dry.


Dr. Bogus’ Feted Feta Trout


1-4oz.-container smooth feta cheese

2-cloves of garlic (pressed thru garlic press)

6-slices of sun dried tomatoes, soaked to softness and chopped

2-T Olive oil

½-bag fresh baby spinach leaves (4 to 5 ounces)

1-T butter

4-trout fillets (skinned)

salt and pepper



  • With a fork, blend together the feta, garlic, dried tomatoes, S&P and enough olive oil to make a smooth paste (this is an excellent hors d’oeuvres with crackers or thin crispy bread slices).
  • Sauté spinach in butter briefly to just wilting.
  • Add feta cheese mixture to the spinach in the sauté pan, and loosely mix.
  • Place the trout on a lightly oiled sheet of aluminum foil.
  • Spread the spinach/feta mixture evenly over the filets salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bake in a hot oven (375°-400°) for no more than 10 to 15-minutes, until the trout just starts to flake.


If you don’t want to use the one with spinach here is another p/c one.


Dr. Bogus’ Greek-Style Trout in Foil with Olives and Feta Cheese



4 trout fillets (skinned)


2 t-Fresh lemon or lime juice


1/4-Cup Olive Oil


½ t-Fresh cracked pepper


4-oz. Feta cheese (crumpled)


Dried Thyme


1-Cup pitted black olives (sliced)


Fresh parsley



  • Preheat oven to 425-degrees.
  • Place each fish fillet in the center of a 12″ x 15″ aluminum foil sheet
  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over each fillet.
  • Crumple equal amounts of cheese over each fillet, scatter olives and a small amount of lemon or lime juice. Season with salt and pepper, thyme and some fresh parsley.
  • ¨Fold the foil over the fish and crimp edges to tightly seal. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 min, until fish is opaque throughout. Don’t overcook.


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Flounder (or trout) with sautéed veggies (Oct 2010)



3-T olive oil




4-T butter


1-jalapeno pepper


2-garlic cloves






fresh juice from ½ lemon


8-oz. mushrooms


sherry to taste


4-flounder fillets


salt & pepper



  • In a food processor first chop garlic then onion place in a skillet and sauté.
  • While sautéing the garlic and onion, chop mushrooms, jalapeno, and then last the tomato.
  • Now add the mushrooms and jalapeno, sauté and after a short time add the tomato and sauté.
  • Add the lemon juice, parsley S&P a small amount of sherry and reduce the mixture down to a thickened consistency. Remove and keep warm.
  • Flour the flounder (or trout) and shake off excess and sauté in butter with thyme and S&P.
  • Place fillets on the plates, pour sautéed veggies and sauce over fish fillets and serve.


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Flounder with Garlic Mustard Sauce, By Dr. Bogus



2-T. Olive oil

2-T. Butter

4-Garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 lb Shrimp, shelled, deveined and butterflied

4-flounder fillets, skinned

1/2 C. White wine

Juice from 1/2 lemon

2-T. Dijon mustard

1/2-t. thyme (fresh if available)

Salt & pepper

1/4 C. Parmesan cheese


Cooking Directions :

*Place flounder fillets on oiled foiled broiler pan.

*Cover each fillet from head to toe with butterflied shrimp.

*In a skillet, heat olive oil and butter and lightly brown garlic.

*Add wine, juice of the lemon, thyme, S&P heat to boiling, and stir in mustard. Reduce liquid to about 1/2 until thickened.

*Pour over fish fillets and shrimp.

*Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and bake at 375° degrees until flounder is flaky but moist and cheese is lightly browned.

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Browned Butter Sautéed Fish


1/4 cup sliced almonds

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon garlic power

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup reduced-fat buttermilk or milk

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons light olive oil

1 pound flounder, speckled trout, tilapia, red snapper, or any firm white, mild fish fillets

1 lemon quartered


Cooking Directions :

*Chop the almonds finely with a knife on a cutting board. Add almonds to Panko (Japanese bread crumbs) and spices.

*In a shallow bowl, whisk egg and buttermilk (or milk)

*Rinse the fish fillets and dry them thoroughly and set aside on a plate covered with a paper towel

*In a pan large enough for some room around the fish you want to cook, melt your butter

*Continue cooking until the butter starts to turn brown

*Add one half of the olive oil, mix with the butter and turn the heat down just a little especially if you are using cast iron

*Coat the fish fillets one at a time in the egg mixture, dredge carefully in the Panko-spice mixture

*Place the fillets in the pan so they are not touching

*Lightly sprinkle any remaining Panko-spice mixture on the fish

*Cook under a watchful eye for six to eight minutes, being careful to not let the Panko coating get too brown, so don’t wander off while cooking

* Serve with lemon slices

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Surf at Bogue Pier ranged from Low of 77° to a high of 81° with an average of 79.0° (blue diamonds). Bogue Sound had a low of 76° a high of 85° with an average of 82.3° (red squares).  July temperatures were nearly flat with a slight downward trend, unusual for July with most of the month running below normal after such a warm winter and spring. Average surf for month of July is around 81°.

Posted by & filed under Articles, Fishing, Fishing News.

Recent headlines from Marine Fisheries: “NC Recreational Salt Water Landings Down”. NCDMF has reported that although the fishing effort is up, that is there were 16% more fishing trips in 2016 compared to 2015, anglers caught 18% fewer fish. But as always the devil is in the details! One bright spot is last year’s great statistics for speckled trout which were nearly five fold above 2015 levels, but provided some of the best trout catches in recent years. We can even see the spillover into this spring and summer, where catches of big trout is notably better than we normally experience this time of year. And this is in the face of frequent winter trout kills in the last few years. I’m sure bag and size limits have helped rebuild these stocks along with season closures. So in 2016 if you didn’t routinely get your limit of trout, you just weren’t trying.

What are other notable pluses and minuses that contributed to this report? Offshore pelagics, one of the most targeted species, the dolphin (mahi-mahi) dropped nearly 40 percent but yellowfin tuna catches tripled and was the highest in the last 5-years and wahoo catches were up modestly. Wahoo catches have actually been very strong for the last year or so. Yellowfin catch has been low here along the crystal Coast, but numbers must reflect much better catch numbers farther north in the state.

Inshore and nearshore catches had a mix of good and bad news. Red drum and southern flounder had modest increases as had bluefish but the bottom panfish catches were considerably lower and that includes spots, croaker and sea mullet (a.k.a. kingfish). By just checking the local fishing piers and you could have predicted that.

The mackerels are still going strong both from the surf, piers and boats trolling along the beaches although the Spanish catches were down from 2012 and 2013 numbers. On the other hand, and I can attest to this, summer flounder catches continue to drop dramatically with more and more of the catch coming from nearshore reefs wrecks and ledges and fewer from the beach, piers and inlets. In 2016, the summer flounder catch is less than 30 percent compared to 2012. The last few years I can only find short throw-backs and never come close to a bag limit of four fish.

One interesting success has to do with black drum. As you remember North Carolina finally instituted size and bag limits on this species. People often were keeping juvenile spot-sized fish well before maturity. The year that a 10-inch minimum length and a 10-fish bag limit was instituted, the catches of the black drum plummeted. Since then, the numbers have steadily increased and the average size of the fish has also increased each year from under two-pounds prior to the new limits to well over three-pounds per fish since the new limits were instituted. Exactly what one would hope, let the babies live and get bigger and reproduce and you get more fish and bigger fish. Seems like some other species might benefit from similar regulations.  So how did you do in 2016? So far in 2017?  For details on the commercial and recreational catch data check out:

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Surf at Bogue Pier ranged from Low of 72-degrees to a high of 80-degrees with an average of 77.1-degrees (blue diamonds). Bogue Sound had a low of 68-degrees a high of 85-degrees with an average of 79.4-degrees (red squares).  May temps fluctuated a bit but increased steadily increased about 0.2-degrees/day and we continue to be above normal compared with my 20+ years of data. We hit 80 degrees in the surf by the end of June. Normally we see that in early July. This year the water temps continue to be above normal. Watch out for an active hurricane season.


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Noisy baits, Part 1 popping corks and rattles: by Dr. Bogus with Brian Cope


I’m (Dr. Bogus) a scientist so I always like to look at things from the scientific viewpoint, so when I saw the article by South Carolina fishing and outdoors writer Brian Cope on noise and designing noisy baits I thought that was a really interesting article. One of the things about that is we know that fish hear, how DO fish hear and how do we use that to create useful baits?

According to Cope, fish can hear in two ways, first high frequency sounds through their ear stones called otoliths inside their heads and secondly they “hear” low frequency vibrations through their lateral line, which you can clearly see in most fish, it’s just a line running down the center of their body lengthwise along each of their sides.

So what do they hear?

“You know sounds like fish pumping, fish opening their gills, inflating their bladders and deflating their bladders,” explained Cope, “lot of noises we can’t hear, but that fish do hear.”

There is something we need to know about sound in the air and water…the scientist in me of course.  If we have a thunder storm and, we’ve had some lately, if you see a lightning strike somewhere, the thunder and other noises travel about five seconds/mile in the air. On the other hand in water, sound travels really fast, about one-second/mile. Some of the early baits, some of the early things we were trying to make noise with are corks. And also, I know when I fished as a kid, popping plugs, those were some of the first ones. Brian, where did you start trying to use baits that make noise and mimic fishy sounds?

“Popping corks were the first that I remember ever intentionally making noise,” said Cope, “ to try and attract fish and that really was the only thing that I ever used or saw anyone else use for saltwater anyway for a very long time until Rat-L-Traps came along certainly for bass in freshwater. Interestingly they are not really popular in the saltwater world even though they do now make Rat-L-Traps that are for saltwater use, that have the corrosion resistant hooks.”

It’s interesting, you brought up the Rat-L-Traps Brian, here’s one right now (rattle sounds), and that was one of the first…Bill Lewis came up with Rat-L-Traps for freshwater  bass fishing back in the 1960s. And you were absolutely right, it took people a long time to put hooks that didn’t dissolve after one use in saltwater, because they really are an excellent bait. As far as noisy baits, this was probably the first one, and is still great.

So Brian, what is the difference between a noise that attracts fish and a noise that scatters them?

“As we all learned when we were kids,” said Cope, “you don’t want to make a lot of noise in the boat, your feet banging on the boat, or the paddle hitting the side of the boat, things like that are going to alarm the fish and send them scattering, but they are going to be attracted noises that sound more natural to them, like bait fish normally make.”

These days there are many baits with rattle noise makers, what are some good examples Brian?

“MirrOlures and YoZuris and even some of the Super Spooks have noise makers in them, those are definitely good ones that are really similar in what the Rat-L-Trap does,” explained Cope.”

“There are also soft baits now that can make noise with small rattles, said Cope,. “like the Vudu rattling shrimp.  You know the Vudu shrimp has been around for a few years now; it’s a really effective bait. They make one know that has a little chamber in it that you can slip a rattle or weight into, and those are similar to what the bass world started using years ago that bass anglers would just cut a slit in the soft plastic and insert a little rattle. But they fell out and it was hard to do with slippery hands, but now the Vudu shrimp just has an actual chamber that the rattle that comes with it slides into.”

 For those who are not familiar, shrimp are noisy critters, snapping and popping as they move through the water feeding or escaping the jaws of a predator looking for a snack.

“You can definitely hear the shrimp making noise” said Cope, “if you are around at the right time and I’m sure it sounds different to the fish but they certainly do make noise especially when they “pop” their tails to move.”


Noisy baits, Part 2 Surface baits, spinners and the new electronic baits: by Dr. Bogus with Brian Cope


Brian, I use a lot of top-water baits and I assume you do too, some of those baits emit different frequencies.  Have you found that either the high pitch or low pitch clickers are more effective?

“Well, yes certainly are on different days,” explained Cope. “I‘ve never found one that absolutely works under certain conditions, but I’ve found that if you have a variety of them on board with you, you can usually find one that works from one day to the next, and if I had the scientific background I maybe would be able to tell you why that is, but I do know that is certainly makes a difference from one day to the next. The obvious thing is to try the different ones until you get success.”

We talked about the Rat-L-Trap which didn’t get used in saltwater until more recently, but another bait that was really popular in freshwater was the spinner baits, the bass buzz baits and we are finally getting to realize that they are effective saltwater too. They also make a lot of noise and vibrations.

“Yes,” smirked Cope,  “and you know they’re still, at least in the circles that I run in not used as often as I think they should be.” “A lot of them are people that bass fish and they go to the beach a couple of times a year and they don’t want to buy a bunch of new tackle so they just take their bass gear with them. But certainly spinner baits and buzz baits early in the morning can be extremely effective on redfish and trout and just as effective as they are with bass.”

Like with any of the other baits there is a lot of variation, long skinny leafy blades, big round ones, they all work at a different level at the fish.  Do you have any preferences Brian?

“Well the Redfish Magic is a saltwater spinner bait which is a little different than most freshwater spinner baits,” said Cope “mainly because of it being made for saltwater and having the corrosion resistance, that’s my favorite.”

Anything new and exciting out there, high tech maybe, Brian?

“One of the most unique ones I think out there is made by Livingston Lures,” said Cope. “These lures have electronic circuit boards in them that make noise and unlike just plain rattling noises they have recordings of actual bait fish sounds that are turned on when the lure gets wet.”

Wow, have you used those baits and have you found them to be effective, Brian?

“Yes I have used those baits,” said Cope excitingly. “I really love those baits and in some circumstances they can really make your day when nothing else is biting and like any other bait I’ve ever used I’ve also had days when I really didn’t have a lot of luck with them.” “It’s just another case of having a variety of lures on board with you and going through then to find something that works.”

Do you think those Livingston baits as they become more popular; the price will come down on them?

“Hopefully so groaned,” Cope. “I think they are $15-$20 right now. Those baits actually have adjustable sounds in them. You can shut them off or select from several different sounds.”

Have you find a sound that works best for you or do you just try them all?

“Yes,” said Cope, “so I just try them all, that’s the way I’ve done it and I’ve never found that a specific one that works any better than the other except on some days one will work better than the others.”

Thanks Brian, hopefully we now have a better feeling on noisy baits. Good noise, bad noise, now smart chips, so let’s go catch some fish!

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For the best results, try live ‘n’ kickin’ bait, By Dr. Bogus (from 2006)


If you like to fish, almost any bait will do, if you really want to catch fish, most people go with live bait. Here is what you need to know about catching and using the real thing for bait.

Although I mostly stick to metal, plastic and sometimes wood as baits, even I must admit that live baits, more often than not, will out fish metal, plastic and wooden artificial baits. However, the key questions to live baits are where and how. As an answer to where and how, Capt. Jeff Cronk (Fishin’ 4 Life Charters, Swansboro), often jokes, “the easiest way to get bait is find a marina that sells them!”

But for many of us, hunting and gathering our own bait is just part of the lure, the process, yes the ritual of fishing. For the inshore and nearshore angler, the list of natural baits is seemingly endless, but the main targets include crunchy baits such as fiddler crabs, and shrimp and small finfish like finger mullet, killifish, and menhaden or pogies as they are often referred to.

Fiddler crabs are favorites foods of the munchers and crunchers, specifically sheepshead and black drum are the prime targets for these baits. “I use a lot of fiddler crabs,” said Cronk, but he warns, “they’re easy to find, easy to see, and hard to get.  You’ll find fiddler crabs anywhere there is shoreline. At low tide they tend to come away from the marsh grass to avoid the heat. They leave their little holes and come down to the water’s edge in large colonies from dozens to hundreds to thousands. You can pick them up along the shoreline like that, on the lower part of the tide, especially if there is a good amount of sun out.”

What do you mean, pick them up? With your hands?

“Well,” smiled Cronk, “you’ve got to feel comfortable with that big claw, those one-arm bandits they are called with that big claw, and I’ve seen some claws as big as two and one-half inches long.” But actually,  I don’t usually pick them up by hand if I don’t have to,” explained Cronk, “I’ll take a regular dip-net that you use in your live-well…one that has a flat surface so I can lay it down flat on the ground, and I like to hop on the shoreline about 30-yards down from where the crab colony is and kind of surprise attack them over the marsh.”

You herd them in?

“That’s it, I herd them to the water’s edge back and forth, said Cronk, “you know there are thousands going by me or hundreds going by me, so if I can corner 50 to a 100 along the water’s edge, I can sweep them up with that little net and I’ve got plenty. If not, you’ve got to pick them up one-by-one, which can be time consuming!”

As far as rigging a fiddler, it’s pretty straight forward, explains Cronk; “you can hook them just about anywhere. They are not very big so there isn’t a corner or this or that side that is best, so I come up the back side of the fiddler crab from the bottom to the top, staying close to one side of the crab. It doesn’t necessarily have to be alive, as long as he’s fresh. I’m using a live bait hook, a short shank, wide gap hook, usually a strong stout hook, because I’ve had this year again I’ve had big sheepshead snap a hook in two or bite a hook in two!” “As far as black drum, said Cronk, “I use the same type of hook a live bait hook usually on a slip cork rig around a shallow oyster bed and letting it float just above the depth of the bottom.”

How shallow?

“Most of the places I’m catching my black drum are between one and three-foot of water, said Cronk, and I tend to fish them on the falling tide when the black drum would have to come off the oyster rocks and hang in the eddies just off the rocks.”

Now shrimp, there is nothing in the water that won’t eat shrimp.

“Right, agrees Cronk, “he is THE best bait, I have caught every inshore species and believe it or not, I’ve caught a king mackerel on live shrimp. But then again it’s the toughest to fish with because something will bite on your hook within seconds to a minute or so from when it hits the water. And if you are trying to target certain species it can be irritating.”

Rigging is a little more complicated than some other baits, especially if you want to keep your shrimp alive, so we asked Greg Dennis, owner of The Reel Outdoors Tackle shop in Emerald Isle, for some help. “There are three ways that I know of,” said Dennis, “the first is to place the hook into the base of the horn, which is that sharp point that comes out of the shrimp’s head. Below the horn is a dark spot in the shrimp’s head, that’s the brain, if you hook him there you will kill them, so you hook it in the clear area below the dark spot. Finally some hook the shrimp in the tail, not in the end of the tail but a ¼ or ½ inch above the tail.”

As Cronk pointed out, shrimp will catch anything, but the prime targets are speckled trout, black drum, sheepshead and red drum too. “I’ve have seen times when they (red drum) won’t eat a mullet minnow,” said Cronk, “but they’ll take a live shrimp, which is very odd to me.”

Floating them on a cork at the Cape Lookout rock jetty for specks or on a Carolina rig are the standard methods of fishing shrimp. Carolina rigs can come in several flavors, a true Carolina rig, where your egg sinker is placed on your main line, above your leader material, or a modified Carolina rig as Cronk uses, in which your egg (or slip sinker) weight is placed on your leader material between your swivel and hook. Leader material is typically 15 to 40-pound fluorocarbon and the hooks are usually gold Kahle (wide gap) hooks from No. 2 to a 3/0 in size.

We’ve talked the crunchy baits, now for the live minnow baits. What are the favorites? “The tiger-side (striped killifish) minnows are actually my favorite,” explained Cronk, “when you start off in the season when you can’t get those finger mullets in April and early May when trying to catch flounder, you can catch those tiger-side minnows along the (ocean) beach and so I start off every season with the tiger-side minnows and slowly move into the finger mullets threadfin herring.”

Like many baits, live minnows are caught with a cast net. “I actually stand on the sand ankle deep in the water, said Cronk, and five or ten feet in front of me and you’ll see these little wakes leaving the sand. You’ve got to hit then right then with the net, because they will leave before you can get on of top them. So you cast up ahead of yourself.”

Another member of the killifish family is the common killifish or mud minnow. “Yes, mud minnows are another good bait,” said Dennis, “I trap them in minnow traps, using canned dog food or cat food for bait. You can find the mud minnows up in the creeks and ditches and around docks too.” 

“Although most baits like shrimp and mullet require a live well or aerator,” explained Dennis, “mud minnows (and tiger-minnows too) are very hearty, and can sit in a bucket all day and still be fine.”

Although Cronk’s favorite bait may be the tiger-minnow, Dennis prefers finger mullet. “They are the all around bait for just about everything,” said Dennis, “drum, trout and flounder, and the pinfish don’t peck at it like they do shrimp either.”

 The Tiger-minnows are an early season bait, the finger mullet come later. “Usually by the first of May we start seeing the mullet minnows,” said Cronk, “they are still small then, within two weeks from when we see them they are an inch or two long, within several weeks after that they are good size, and they were late this year. They grew slowly but now they are everywhere.”

So where can you catch them? “You can find them along the shoreline and the canals and creeks,” said Dennis, “and the best time is on the falling tide. When the tide is high the mullet and other bait (like shrimp) are up in the marsh grass and hard to get.”

Rigging is straightforward according to Cronk. “I’m lip hooking them,” said Cronk, “on my Carolina rigs or my modified Carolina rigs I’m casting out and doing a slow retrieve, so I’m dragging the minnow, and I’m putting in under it’s chin and through the top of it’s lips and I’m trying to not pierce it’s brain and stay away from it’s eyes. If I work them on a float cork, I’ll hook them at the anal fin on the underside of the body or on top, on the dorsal fin.”

“I don’t do that with menhaden a lot,” said Cronk, “because the menhaden will circle around and tangle your rig up. Menhaden are strictly nose hooked through the nostrils sideways. If you close his mouth, he will die within seconds if he can’t breathe.” So what about menhaden? Well, according to Cronk, “menhaden are the most abundant and easiest fish for most folks to catch. The menhaden we’re targeting, I use them when it’s hard to get the mullet minnows, and we are targeting flounder. Quite often I use the peanut pogies, and they may be two to four or five inches long and I use them on the Carolina rig. When they start getting about five-inches long or so, and all the way up to nine to 12-inches long, we’ll be targeting Spanish and king mackerel usually using a live bait rig with a treble hook.”

We mentioned using a cast net for catching shrimp, and our finfish baits, but what are the best sizes for these inshore baits? “The best all around cast nets,” said Dennis, “are 5 or 6-feet in radius (10 to 12-feet in diameter) with a mesh size of 3/8-inch. If you are trying to catch the smaller glass minnows you need a net with a ¼-inch mesh size or they will just go through the net.”

Now throwing a cast net is an art in itself, and is as individualized as each thrower. But that’s another article.

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Surf at Bogue Pier ranged from Low of 68-degrees to a high of 76-degrees with an average of 72.0-degrees (blue diamonds). Bogue Sound had a low of 64-degrees a high of 82-degrees with an average of 73.9-degrees (red squares).  May temps fluctuated a bit but increased steadily increased about 0.18-degrees/day and we continue to be above normal compared with my 20+ years of data. We got into the mid 70s by the middle of May, more like mid-June temps. This year the water temps continue to be above normal. Watch out for an active hurricane season.