Posted by & filed under Fishing, Reports category.

Surf at Bogue Pier ranged from a high of 51 to a low of 41 (same as January) with an average of 45.9 for the month (blue diamonds). Bogue Sound  data were incomplete while I was out of town. Only 50days in February were temps were in the 50s, that is only 50 and 51 though. Again a very and unusually cold month of water temperatures. In 2013, average of surf temperatures for the months of January and February was 51.6 degrees.


Posted by & filed under Fishing, Fishing News.

By Lee Tolliver
The Virginian-Pilot

Anglers throughout the lower Chesapeake Bay have voiced concern for weeks about dead or dying speckled trout.

Suffering from frequent and substantial dips in water temperature caused by colder-than-normal air this winter, thousands of fish have been seen dead in the shallows or swimming lethargically just under the surface in Middle Peninsula creeks, and inside Lynnhaven and Rudee inlets.

To help save potential spawning fish from being taken, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission on Tuesday issued an emergency order closing recreational fishing for speckled trout, other than catch-and-release, effective Saturday.

The move comes several weeks after North Carolina fisheries managers closed their trout fishery for the same reason.

But unlike in North Carolina, Virginia’s closure – which came at the urging of the recreational angling community – does not include commercial interests, a decision that has angered many…

For the full article click below.

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

Marine Fisheries Commission tackles Observer Program funding, spotted seatrout, shrimp issues

MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission will submit a report to the legislature that proposes to fund the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Observer Program through commercial fishing license fee increases.

The commission endorsed the plan, which was brought forward by the commercial fishing industry and has the support of the Division of Marine Fisheries and the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, at its meeting last week.

“I’m happy that the industry came forward with a proposal that not only provides the funding needed for the Observer Program, but allows the industry to work together to solve other commercial fishing funding issues that may arise in the future,” said Louis Daniel, division director.

Jerry Schill, interim executive director of the N.C. Fisheries Association, presented a proposal to establish a Commercial Fishing Resource Fund to receive revenues from a 100-percent increase in fees for several commercial fishing licenses. The Commercial Fishing Resources Fund would provide money for the Observer Program and other projects to develop sustainable commercial fishing, as approved by the commission and a proposed board of directors made up of representatives of several commercial fishing organizations.

The Observer Program collects information about commercial and recreational catches by observing fishing, either onboard fishermen’s vessels or from a division vessel operated in the vicinity of fishing activity. Observer coverage is required by the state’s sea turtle incidental take permit for the inshore gill net fisheries. Without this coverage, the fishery must close.

In 2013, the N.C. legislature appropriated $1.1 million for the Observer Program for fiscal year 2013-2014, and approved a 25-percent increase in commercial fishing license fees beginning in fiscal year 2014-2015 to fund the program in the future. The legislature instructed the division to seek public input and develop a plan for additional funding for the program.

The proposed 100-percent increase is based on the current license fees, not the upcoming 25-percent increase in fee. For instance, a resident Standard Commercial Fishing License now costs $200 per year, but the cost will increase to $250 in 2014-2015. The proposed 100-percent increase would bring the cost of a Standard Commercial Fishing License to $400 per year.

The commission  also adopted a supplement to the Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan that will keep the 14-inch minimum size limit, four-fish recreational bag limit, 75-fish commercial trip limit and weekend commercial closure in waters managed jointly by the Division of Marine Fisheries and Wildlife Resources Commission (except in Albemarle and Currituck sounds). These regulations were in place prior to the Feb. 5 season closure that was implemented due to cold stun events. The regulations will go back into place when the season reopens June 15.

In other business, the commission:

·         Selected preferred management options for draft amendments to the state’s Shrimp, River Herring and Bay Scallop fishery management plans and voted to send the draft amendments to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the state legislature for review. The commission’s final approval of the draft plans is scheduled for November 2014. The commission’s preferred management options include:

–   For the draft shrimp plan, convene a stakeholder group to initiate a three-year study to test bycatch reduction devices to reduce bycatch to the extent practicable, with a 40-percent target reduction. The commission did not include language from an earlier proposal that indicated there would be consequences to not meeting a 40-percent bycatch reduction, and made it clear the 40-percent target reduction is a goal, not a mandate.

–   For the draft river herring plan, eliminate the discretionary harvest season and implement a rule in joint and coastal waters to prohibit the possession of river herring greater than six inches while fishing or boating, as well as remove alewife and blueback herring from the mutilated finfish rule.

–   For the draft bay scallop plan, manage waters south of Bogue Sound as a separate unit from Bogue Sound (currently waters south of Bogue Sound open based on sampling in Bogue Sound) and manage the southern waters based on the Division of Marine Fisheries’ judgment from field sampling; allow dredges to operate at a lower opening trigger than current management allows; allow harvest of bay scallops on aquaculture operations during closed public seasons and at greater daily quantities (this is currently allowed for clams and oysters on leases); and increase recreational harvest to seven days per week, but at a lower daily harvest limit.

Modified the dates of the commercial American shad season in the Albemarle Sound Management Area. The season had been scheduled to be shortened to March 18 – April 14 this year to meet harvest reduction requirements of the N.C. Sustainable Fishery Plan for American Shad. Several fishermen who spoke during the public comment period asked for the season to open earlier in the March instead. The commission modified the season dates to March 3-24, which will still meet the harvest reduction requirement.

Posted by & filed under Fishing, Fishing News.


Coast Guard Station Emerald Isle





All classes meet on Mondays and Thursdays from 1900 (7:00 pm) to 2100 (9:00 pm)


DATE         LESSON              SUBJECT                      INSTRUCTOR

MAR 10     WELCOME /REGISTRATION                    Gerdsen

N C  Boating  Regulations

Chap 1      Which boat is for you?


MAR 13       Chap   2    Equipment for your Boat                  T B D

Chap   3     Trailering Your Boat


MAR 17     Chap   4      Handling Your Boat                T B D


MAR 20     Chap  5       Your “Highway” Signs            T B D


MAR 24     Chap   6      The Rules You Must Follow   T B D


Mar   27       Chap  9     Introduction to Navigation      T B D

Mar   31      Chap 10      Powering Your Boat               T B D


APR    3      Chap 11      Lines and Knots                      T B D


APR    7      Chap 12      Weather and Boating               Betts


APR   10     Chap 13      Your Boat’s Radio                           T B D

APR   14     Chap 8        Boating Safety                            T B D


April  17                           Exam


CONTACT   BILL GERDSEN   910 326 6771910 326 6771/860 942 3250860 942 3250

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Waters close to commercial and recreational spotted seatrout harvest (see list of regions where stun events have been confirmed)

MOREHEAD CITY – North Carolina will close all coastal and inland waters to commercial and recreational spotted seatrout harvest at noon Wednesday and remain closed until June 15.

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Director Louis Daniel issued a proclamation today closing all coastal waters after cold stun events were confirmed on Friday and Saturday in several coastal rivers, bays and creeks. Cold stun events were confirmed in the Pamlico, Alligator, Pungo, Scuppernong, Trent, Neuse and Cape Fear rivers; Chocowinity, Blounts and Chadwick bays; and Slades, Bath, Cahooque, Hancock and Spooners creeks.

Under N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission rules, the spotted seatrout season automatically closes in inland waters when it closes in adjacent coastal waters.

Cold stun is a naturally occurring event. When waters cool during the winter, spotted seatrout move to deeper, warmer waters in the estuaries and ocean. But if there is a large drop in water temperature over a short period of time, the fish may be stunned or die from it.

Studies have found that cold stun events can have a significant impact on spotted seatrout populations.

Under the N.C. Spotted Seatrout Fishery Management Plan, if a significant cold stun event occurs the Division of Marine Fisheries will close all spotted seatrout harvest. The intent of the closure is to allow the fish that survive the cold stun event the maximum change to spawn in this spring. Peak spawning occurs in May.

Seafood dealers will have until Feb. 12 to dispose of unfrozen spotted seatrout taken prior to the closure.

For more specifics on the closure in coastal waters, see Proclamation FF-9-2014 at

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If Phil sees his shadow:

Punxsutawney Phil/ Now aghast at his likeness /Winter’s grip lingers

If Phil doesn’t see his shadow:

Punxsutawney Phil / No furry shadow today / Winter’s door now shut.

Posted by & filed under Fishing, Reports category.

Surf at Bogue Pier ranged from a high of 51 to a low of 41 with an average of 48.1 for the month (blue diamonds). Bogue Sound water temps ranged from a high of 55 to a low of 33 with an average of 43.1 for the month (red squares). Both averages, under 50-degrees are unusually low for any month. Bogue Sound had 10-days that were in the low 40s to low 30s, which was enough to kill fish.


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New Year’s Resolutions for the Angler, by Dr. Bogus

It’s winter and the New Year 2014 and we have survived the dreaded Polar Vortex, and indications are that the trout did too. I will have a special report and data on trout stun events next week.

So, even though on the average, only 8% of New Year’s resolutions are found to be long lasting, it’s always good to think about what you may change for the better in the New Year even for the angler. Here are some of my suggestions. Trash…please go trashless this season, this includes proper discarding of your fishing line. We all see the careless disposal of trash in and along our waters and along the highways. It seems to be epidemic, so everyone do your best to discard your own trash properly and if you have a chance, help clean up after others not as considerate.

Several of the main reasons for lost fish include old fishing line, bad knots and dull and rusty hooks. Resolve to replace your line at least each year, it’s the only thing between you and your trophy fish, learn how to tie secure high strength knots and check your hooks for dull points and rust. Poor hookups from dull hooks result in unnecessarily lost fish but sharp hooks insure solid hookups and more fish in your cooler.

Speaking of fishing line, maybe this is your year to try braided line. But if you do you will need to learn how to use it properly or you experience will end up in a costly tangled web of fishing line. I have an article on my web site that will get you up to speed and avoid my early troubles with braided line ( I had terrible troubles, you don’t have to!

Knowledge is often the basis of better fishing. The local fishing clubs are a wealth of good fishermen and great personal fishing information and experiences of folks that are willing to share. Local clubs include the Onslow Bay Fishing Club, Saltwater Light Tackle Fishing Club and the Cape Lookout Fly Fishers.

Another information fount include the winter fishing seminars. Two prominent seminars include the SaltWater Sportsman National Seminar Series to be held at the New Bern Convention Center this year  on January 11, 2014. You can get tickets by calling 800-448-7360. I hope to see you there. Another is the put on by the Fisherman’s Post Magazine. This will be held in the Crystal Coast Civic Center in Morehead City on February 22, 2014. Tickets can be gotten from Chasin’ Tails (Atlantic Beach Causeway) and West Marine (Morehead City). Registration forms are also available from their web site, You will recognize many of the expert presenters.

Location, location, location is not only a real estate mantra, but fishing too. Remember that 80% of the people fish in 20% of the “hot” fishing holes, so try to stray from the madding crowds and find your own hot spots. One way for me was to take up kayak fishing several years ago. Believe me, I can get places where most of you can’t go!

Along with braided line, give a try to some new baits. If  you don’t use corks or haven’t gotten to using some of the great suspending baits, maybe 2014 is the year for you. Try the MirrOlure 17 or 27-MR suspending baits in the “808” or electric chicken colors. And if you are not catching fish with them, you are working them too fast, soooo sloooow down your retrieves.

To help our fish stocks, please follow creel and size limits, return unwanted fish back to the water (even “trash” fish), practice catch and release, keep only fish you will eat. And if you see violations, don’t hesitate to call in the violations to NC Marine Patrol (800.682.2632) or Wildlife Resources Commission (800.662.7137). Finally, respect other fishermen. That is the best resolution of all, and the fishing will be better for us all.

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Vulnerability of the Spotted Sea Trout to cold, Trout Stun Events and Trout Kills Along the Crystal Coast.  By Dr. Bogus (Updated 2/18/15)

Trout kills (cold stun events) are normal and not as infrequent as you might imagine and have an important impact on natural mortality of spotted sea trout. In the fall and winter trout move south and then reenter the backwater deep creeks for food and shelter against the winter temperatures. If the water temperature falls, as a cold front moves in, sometimes after a snow event, the trout can seek deeper waters for protection. If the temperature drops too quickly they may or may not have time to seek deeper warmer waters. Remember, trout, as are most fish (there are exceptions), are cold blooded and their body temperature is the same as the water around them. As they get colder their body metabolism slows and their speed of movement and feeding and digestion slow considerably. Remember when you trout fish in the winter, the idea is to move your bait, slow, slower and slowest to get a hit, or “bump” from a lethargic trout.

There is always a debate on what the “cold stun” temperature for a trout is, that is the temperature where they lose swimming control and float to the surface upside-down (they have swim bladders) where they may freeze and die. That temperature is somewhere around 39 to 41 degrees or so, but the stunning of the fish it is not instantaneous, it takes some sustained time at or around a critical stun temperature to incapacitate the fish and it may also somewhat depend on the fish’s  age as well.  So just rapid drops in water temperature of a short duration will not be cause a major trout kill, but would mainly impact fish in very shallow waters like the North River.  Also many fish may feel the drop in temperature and have enough time to escape into deeper water in time to protect themselves. Where major trout kills occur, the temperature drops rapidly, often preceded by snowfall, which (the snow and sinking cold-water runoff) also will contribute to rapid water cooling, and then followed by an extended cold air and water temperatures, with water temperatures holding in the 30s for a week or more.

We have seen a number of these events over the years. The first major one I witnessed was the devastating trout stun event of January 2003. I was not in North Carolina during the snow storm and frigid cold of 1989, so I don’t remember that event, but by all accounts it was also epic. More recently we have had a rapid succession of stun events in January 2010, December 2010 and January 2011 which led to the total closure of trout harvest both recreationally and commercially, by NCDMF. It also lead to dropping the bag limit, eventually to 4-fish/day and raised the minimum length to 14-inches to ensure the fish have at least one year to spawn before they are subject to harvest. I’m sure there were other trout kills during my 20-plus years in North Carolina and Emerald Isle that I haven’t documented.

As you may know, I routinely keep ocean surf and Bogue Sound water temperatures on a nearly daily basis. I have some data going back to 1995 and daily data date since 1999, when I moved to my Emerald Isle home permanently.  For the stun events that I mentioned above I have the following Bogue Sound and ocean surf water temperature data.

January 22-28, 2003: In the aftermath of a snow storm, Bogue Sound temperatures dropped and remained in the 30s and as low at 30-degrees in a salty slush for the entire week. Many of the creeks were frozen over. Ocean surf at Bogue Pier went as low as 36-degrees, which is about the lowest I’ve ever measured in the surf.

January 3-13, 2010: Bogue Sound remained in the 30s or very low 40s during that entire week and a half, with a low of 35-degrees. Ocean temperature bottomed out during that time at 43-degrees during that week.

December 19-30, 2010: Again after another snow storm (It doesn’t snow in Emerald Isle, does it?), Bogue Sound temperatures rapidly plunged into the 30s with a low of 33-degrees.  It should also be noted that almost the entire month was unusually cold with an average of only 41-degrees for the month! The surf reached a minimum of 42-degrees during that period.

January 9-15, 2011: Right after the frigid December 2010 and trout kill, temperatures, already primed for disaster, dropped again into the 30s (low of 33-degrees) for another trout kill event for basically the third event in a little more than a year. This was the final event that precipitated the dramatic closure of the trout harvest and restructuring bag and size limits.

This year (2014) we have seen a rapid drop in temperatures caused by the so-called Arctic Polar Vortex, setting record low temperatures here in eastern North Carolina and around much of the nation. Surf temperatures dropped to 47-degrees around Bogue Pier and I’ve measured Bogue Sound temperatures at a very cold 35 and 34-degrees. We have not had a snow storm prior to this drop in temperatures and the Polar Vortex has weakened and rapidly receded, to whence it belongs (the Arctic!) after just a couple of days. The water was cold but has rebounded to near normal for mid-January and although we have seen skim ice on the creeks, even that has receded as well. It appears that the short duration of the freeze this year minimized the deleterious effects on our beloved trout. In fact, I haven’t heard of any reports of stunned trout. I was out fishing the creeks during this period, no, I didn’t catch any trout but I didn’t see any floating fish either, but I did land many drag stretching slot sized red drum from our local creeks.

UPDATE: By the end of January 2014 we had another attack of the Vortex preceded by a snow and ice storm, resulting in some trout kills. The result was a harvest closure for both recreational and commercial fishermen. Now in mid February 2015 we have had some sustained cold again preceded by a wintery mix of ice and snow resulting in reported trout kills this winter as well. I’ve seen photos of stunned and dead fish from Slocum Creek (Fin Chaser’s Charters). And as of 2/18/15, the frigid cold continues with forecast of teens and single digit temperatures before moderating over the weekend.