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Emerald Isle Water Temperatures for August 2016

Surf at Bogue Pier ranged from Low of 79-degrees to a high of 85-degrees with an average of 82.2-degrees (blue diamonds). Bogue Sound had a low of 81-degrees and a high of 88-degrees with an average of 83.9-degrees (red squares). August mostly stayed in the low 80s in the surf at the beginning and end with a spike to the mid 80s mid month. First mullet blow was on 8/30/16, right on time. Anchovies made their appearance on 8/23/16.


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Fishy teeth up close and personal

FLOUNDER, Lower jaw to the right. Notice killing fangs on the lover jaw!

IMG_1627 - Copy


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Flounder bitten finger mullet. Check out the fang marks!








Trout bite marks on Styrofoam cork

b15 cork bite



Mouth of a 36.8-pound king mackerel caught by Roger Brown 9/27/16 from Bogue Pier.


Fish that mouth came from.



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Surf at Bogue Pier ranged from Low of 80-degrees to a high of 84-degrees with an average of 81.3-degrees (blue diamonds). Bogue Sound had a low of 80-degrees and a high of 87-degrees with an average of 83.7-degrees (red squares). July’s surf temperatures were essentially FLAT with 22 days either 80 or 81-degrees. A bit amazing with as hot as it has been. We had a couple of 84-degree days and those really were noticeable to the feet, maybe the teeth too al dente! Remember first mullet blow is usually before the end of August.


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Crabs for Dinner Anyone?? Baits that can’t be ignored! By Dr. Bogus

Dear Dr. Bogus;

Last week on Saturday morning, I was watching a fishing show on ESPN. These guys were in Florida catching red drum. They were using whole blue claw crabs for bait. This got me to thinking. I reel in a crab or two every day, surf casting with fresh baits, plus there are a million mole crabs running around the beach too. Would they may good bait?  Look forward to your thoughts. Thanks, Mike.

Dear Mike;

Red drum are oligoniverous (there’s that “Bogus” word again) fish, they will eat almost anything, including old reef tires and yes, even those contentious crustaceans. Have you ever looked into their gullet and seen the their food crushing apparatus?  Pretty impressive, and not a place for ones fingers or other bodily parts to frequent. In fact crabs are good bait for a number of fish. Blue crabs, calico, green and of course the fiddlers three; stone crabs, horseshoe, spider and ghosts macabre as they could be. However, with all these to choose from, we will focus on the major fish baits from the petite to the portly. Lets take a culinary look at crabs as bait. So what’s for dinner?


Mole Crabs (Emerita talpoida):

Although neither flea, nor related to the backyard subterranean ground mole, the sand flea or mole crab as it is also known is a wonderful bait. They are found along with the colorful coquina clams in the ocean surf swash, apparently coping well with their Sisyphus like unending cycle of back and forth, up and down on the rise and fall of each wave. Their characteristic V’s in the retreating waves give them away. Mole crabs are readily gathered along the surf on the retreating wave either by hand, net, or commercial gathering devices, who’s sole purpose in life is catching the critters. They are without doubt best bait as recent softies followed by egg laden, (you’ll see a cluster of 20,000 itsy-bitsy teeny‑weenie day-glo orange eggs on the underneath side) but hardies work just fine–thank you. Pompano, sea mullet, croakers, red drum, black drum, sheepshead, stripers and so on are known to suck them up, especially those irresistible softies. Last July, while fishing the surf, right behind the breakers, we did a job on hungry 2‑3 pound black drum, and a near citation sea mullet. Great sport on light tackle, and terrific for dinner. For targeting bigger species, people often place several on a hook at a time. This was a favorite of some of the jetty jumper sharpies. They would cluster a whole family of mole crabs onto a hook and drift them weightless along the rocks. Some big rocks/stripers were taken this way.

One of the eternal Q’s is how do I find the delectable soft shell mole crabs?  Here is one method passed on to me, give it a try.  “An elderly woman told me the secret behind finding the molting sand fleas. Here goes: as a wave recedes from the sand, it leaves behind a glassy “sheen” which in turn recedes to the ocean or maybe it sinks into the sand. As it recedes/sinks into the sand, look along the shiny edge (the ocean side) and try to find a round, “dry” area about the size of a quarter…an area that dries out just before the edge of the sheen recedes around it. Dig where that “spot” was and you will find a molted sand flea. The best time to catch softies and amaze your friends and relatives is low tide. You can put the fleas into an open pail with sand in a cool location and most will stay alive overnight…great bait for early morning surf fishing! The pompano go “nuts” over the molted fleas!” This probably works, but most of us just dig away in the swash and hope for the best.


Fiddler Crabs (Uca pugnax):

Just from their name in either the everyday English or ancient Latin, you can tell that the fiddlers are the baits with pugnacious personality! The fiddlers are found along with the mud snails and amongst the muddy edges of the Spartina grasses in the intertidal marshes of our sounds. They hide deep in their burrows on the rising tides and return upward to the marsh’s mud flats on the receding tides. Seemingly playing a fiddle in the wind, waving their menacing oversized claw rhythmically back and forth they return to the surface in full of anticipation of food and the specter of such periodic rituals of combat and courtship.  Gathering fiddlers can be a challenge compared to the mole crabs. Trying to beat them to their burrows is great exercise but not an effective approach in fiddler gathering.  One method that is effective requires some set-up, patience, a coffee can and a couple pieces of lumber.  As the tide recedes, approach the mud flats where you suspect fiddlers.  You will see dime sized burrow holes in the mud indicative of their past or future presence.  If you were stealthy you would also see the fiddlers themselves but retreating to their holes in the muck, ready to return to the subterranean world if threatened.  In one area dig a hole deep enough to place the coffee entirely down into it.  Next place the boards in a “V” terminating with the coffee can at the vertex. Now the patience, retreat from the muddy marsh and watch at a distance.  You will see the crabs emerge again from their lairs.  When they are safely out and some distance from their burrows eating or in ritual mating behavior, return quickly now in a non-stealthy manner hopefully sending the crabs scattering away from you and to be funneled into the coffee can. Voila, fiddlers in a can.


Blue Crabs (Callinectes sapidus):

Blue crabs, a.k.a. beautiful swimmers are the perfect food for you, perfect food for me and indeed, perfect food many fish too.  We all know the great table fare blue crabs make blue hard crabs, peelers and softies are ALL power baits for fish. Who?? Tarpon, cobia (a.k.a. crab eaters), drums  red and black, striped bass, as well as trouts, speckled and gray. I learned the art of gathering blue crabs as a youth in a northland, long ago and far away, i.e. Connecticut. We were traditional chicken neckers. Chicken neck on a string, a net and feet covered in muck that was the biosphere of the brackish creek known as the Saugetuck River.  Sometimes we got lucky and netted peelers (pre softies) and on rare occasions we would get doublers a male with a receptive soft shell female suitable for mating. Alternatively, there are more elegant ways to catch the blues, including placing fermenting fish fragments or your favorite chicken appendage into a wire basket or crab pot purported to be at least somewhat resistant to corrosion. Next, cast the device out from a bank, boat or pier and wait for some tens of minutes in the sultry Carolina sun for the appropriate crabs to be overcome from hunger and lured by the specter of an easy meal to wander hopelessly into the trap.  Finally, of course there is the local $eafood dealer.  Depending on your fishy target, the blues can be used live and whole, in halves or bite sized bits and pieces. A plentiful alternative and close relative to the blue crab is the unregulated calico crab, which can be used as a substitute.


Rigging Crabs For Dinner:

The past few weeks I talked about crabs for bait, moles, fiddlers and blues, now is the fun part, catching the fishy foes for which they are intended. When rigging mole crabs or fiddlers I hook them from the topside coming through the bottom of the shell, which hooks and which rigs depend on the target. I use No. 2 or No. 4 long-shank hooks for mealy mouthed sea mullet and pompano on a standard hi-lo rig or a Carolina rig with a single # 2 or # 4 wide gap (Kahle) hook on a 2 ft. leader and an egg sinker if I know the juvenile drums (red or black) are around. This also gives a nice natural presentation for pompano and sea mullet. Remember, most of the time these fish are hugging the shore, at the bottom of the swash, just behind the backwash of the out-going wave, waiting for the mole crabs and other easy meals to wash down to them. So fish right there, in close to the beach, right behind the wash. Don’t overcast your target fish!

Sheepshead are another problem, they are a special case fish.  Strong competitors that live on hard and treacherous structures such as rocks and barnacled bridge and dock pilings, once hooked, they fight like crazy, so one needs to ante up the gear for success.  Strong sharp hooks, 20-40 lb. test line, an aluminum baseball bat for a fishing rod and a reel with a 20:1 gear ratio seems to be the standard fare for the serious.

Trout, both specks and grays are targeted with peelers and softies of the blue crab variety.  No fear, the ubiquitous Carolina rig is appropriate here too.  Bite size peeler bits are easiest to rig because they are firmer. Chunks of the softies are killer baits too but you just have to get more creative in tying and rigging them to the hook. Sewing thread, rubber bands and Crazy Glue are often used to hold them firmly on the hook. For me, it’s hard to use the delectable soft shell blue crab for anything other than human table fare. Remember is you use blue crabs for bait the mush be LEGAL size!

For the BIGGEST of crab loving game fish (here it is Mike), tarpon, cobia, citation red drum and trophy stripers, blue crabs are what’s for dinner.  Whole, hard or peeler, or halved crabs with the carapace (shell) and apron shucked away and legs removed can be used.  Conventional 8/0 hooks or equivalent circle hooks (10/0-13/0) on a fish-finder rig is what’s recommend by the experts. Whole crabs can be hooked through the shell, whereas the halved dismembered crabs are hooked in-and-out the now vacant leg openings. If it’s old drum you are after, remember to use an approved Upton Lupton circle hook rig with the barb mashed down.

So, when on the beach, surf, sound or creek; offshore, inshore or near and what to use for bait is too fuzzy or unclear, think crabs. It’s what’s for dinner!


Internet info:‑cr.html


Also check this excellent Pulitzer winning book, Beautiful Swimmers By William W. Warner


Human Baits: Rummy Softies an Original Recipe By Dr. Bogus (06 Jul 99)


6-softshell crabs properly cleaned


1-hot pepper (to taste)




fresh or dried tarragon




salt & freshly ground pepper




sugar (just a pinch)


2-red onion sliced


juice of one lime


2-each red & green pepper chopped


1/3C-Jamaican rum



Sauté onions, all peppers in olive oil/butter, add lime juice, and rum and pinch of sugar and boil down to a glaze.

Beat eggs and milk, soak crabs and dredge in flour until dry.  Cook in butter/olive oil until crispy but moist.

Treat crispy crabs to the tasty glaze and serve immediately while hot and crispy


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Emerald Isle Water Temperatures for June 2016

Surf at Bogue Pier ranged from Low of 73-degrees to a high of 81-degrees with an average of 76.2-degrees (blue diamonds). Bogue Sound had a low of 75-degrees and a high of 85-degrees with an average of 79.1-degrees (red squares). The rate of increase (slope of the line) was about 0.21 degrees/day. Last year, as you remember the sharks, we hit 80 before the end of May and the average surf was 80.9 for June 2015, the sound 83.1. In 2016 we got into the 80, the last few days of June. June was very normal for 2016.

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Emerald Isle Water Temperatures for May 2016

Surf at Bogue Pier ranged from Low of 62-degrees to a high of 76-degrees with an average of 67.9-degrees (blue diamonds). Bogue Sound had a low of 65-degrees and a high of 81-degrees with an average of 71.6-degrees (red squares). The rate of increase (slope of the line) was about 0.35 degrees/day for theFullscreen capture 5312016 11421 PM.bmp surf.

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Surf at Bogue Pier ranged from Low of 56-degrees to a high of 64-degrees with an average of 60.4-degrees (blue diamonds). Bogue Sound had a low of 48-degrees and a high of 72-degrees with an average of 62.1-degrees (red squares). Fullscreen capture 5312016 11926 PM.bmp

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Of water temperatures and shark bites, 2015.

Remember the Goldilocks syndrome, not too cold, not too hot…just right! I am a retired PhD chemist, locally known as Dr. Bogus and have and have taken water temperatures in Bogue Sound and in the ocean from Bogue Pier for over two-decades most of that time on a daily basis. Why? Water temperatures greatly influences the “who and when” of our migrating fish stocks, both their comings and goings with the seasons. Fish, like porridge to Goldilocks, have a lower and upper temperature comfort range and a temperature that is “juuuuust” right.

Watching the water temperatures we can anticipate the arrivals and departures of our seasonal piscatorial friends and even anticipate events such as cold stun or cold kill of sensitive fish such as speckled trout that we have seen in recent years, and sea turtle strandings too.

According to my local Emerald Isle water temperature year data 2015 was a strikingly unusual. This was the first time I have recorded ocean water temperatures in each of the months of January, February and March of under 50-degrees Fahrenheit. It was truly an unusually cold and persistently cold winter. Fishing was sluggish and turtle strandings were increased. Then during the last two weeks of May of 2015, our ocean water temperatures suddenly shot up dramatically from 70 to 80-degrees by May 30, 2015, a temperature so strikingly unusual for the end of May, as 80-degree surf is usually reserved for July 4th, and our Independence Day celebrations. First too cold, then too hot, what a year we had in 2015. This trend was the norm for the Atlantic coast in general and not only our portion that we lovingly call The Crystal Coast.

We already know the tragic results of the early warm water temperatures, the premature arrival of both north going sharks and south going bathers leading unfortunately to above normal shark-human interactions. And in response for the public safety and public concern, several local communities imposed beach fishing restrictions, with dubious efficacy.

As you can see I agree with the analysis of many scientific experts as to the reason for last year’s upsurge of shark attacks, which of course are rare, but I also wanted to add some quantitative data on local water temperatures and their effects on migratory fish species in support of their conclusions. If you are interested, check out my web site where I post much of my water temperature data for your use and information. This is hoping we all have a safe and fun 2016 beach season.

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Above is a plot (by week) of surf water temperatures at Bogue Pier for 2015 (blue triangles) and 2016 (checkered circles, through May 2016)

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Release: Immediate Contact: Patricia Smith
Date: May 20, 2016 Phone: 252-726-7021 or 252-342-0642

Recreational cobia regulations go into effect Monday


MOREHEAD CITY –The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has issued a proclamation consistent with the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission’s decision to impose restrictions on the recreational cobia fishery. On Thursday the commission voted to impose the following restrictions on recreational cobia:


  • A 37-inch fork length (measured from the tip of the snout to the fork in the tail) minimum size limit for all recreational fisheries.
  • Anglers fishing from private boats may only fish on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays under daily possession limit of two fish per vessel or one fish per person if only one person is on board.
  • Those fishing from the shore or shore-based structures (pier or surf) may fish seven days a week with a daily possession limit of one fish per person.
  • Those fishing on a for-hire boat (charter or guide) may fish seven days a week with a daily possession limit of four fish per vessel or one fish per person if fewer than four people are on board.
  • Those practicing catch-and-release may fish seven days a week.


The commission’s decision was in response to a federal announcement that, because the annual catch limit was exceeded last year, it intends to close the recreational cobia season in federal waters north of the Georgia-Florida border on June 20. In order to remain consistent with the federal fishery management plan, the federal government encouraged states close state waters for recreational cobia season on June 20. The commission did not approve the division’s recommendation to either close state waters on June 20 or select one of eight size and vessel limit combinations already analyzed by federal government that would have resulted in a lengthened season if adopted by both North Carolina and Virginia.


The commission’s decision to impose these additional restrictions is an effort to extend the recreational cobia season in state waters. These new restrictions go into effect on Monday. The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will submit these new restrictions to the federal government and request an expedited review to determine whether these actions will be sufficient to allow the season to be extended in state waters beyond June 20. If the federal government determines that these restrictions are not sufficient to remain consistent with the federal fishery management plan for the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic regions, additional restrictions may be necessary.


For more specifics on the regulations, see Proclamation FF-25-2016 at






Website: http://www.deq.


Twitter: http://www/

RSS Feed:

1601 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699

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Dr. Bogus’ BOOK CLUB

1.       SCIENCE BASED on fishes and their world and the “why” (as we understand it) of fish behavior.

a.       What Fish See, Understanding the optics and color shifts for designing lures and flies.

i.      By Colin J Kageyama

b.      Through the Fish’s Eye, An anglers guide to fish behavior.

i.      By Mark Sosin & John Clark

c.       The Fisherman’s Ocean, How marine science can help you find and catch more fish.

i.      By David A Ross

d.      Sharks, Skates and Rays of the Carolinas

i.      By Frank J Schwartz (IMF)


a.       North Carolina’s Ocean Fishing Piers, from Kitty Hawk to Sunset Beach.

i.      By Al Baird (NCFPS)

b.      Striped Bass Chronicles, The saga of America’s great Game fish.

i.      By George Reiger

c.       The Most Important Fish in the Sea

i.      By H Bruce franklin

d.      Striped Bass Fishing (classic)

i.      By Frank Woolner, Henry Lyman

3.       HOW TO (Venue)

a.       Mike Marsh:

i.      Inshore Angler, Coastal Carolina’s Small Boat Fishing Guide

ii.      Offshore Angler, Carolina’s Mackerel Boat Fishing Guide

iii.      Fishing North Carolina (from the mountains to the coast)

b.      Joe Malat (Pamphlets)

i.      Pier Fishing, How to catch more fish from Atlantic and Gulf Coast piers

ii.      Surf Fishing, Catching fish from the beach, when, where and how.

iii.      Let’s Go Crabbing

c.       Surf and Saltwater Fishing in the Carolina’s

i.      By Jeffery Weeks

d.      The Complete Book of Surf Fishing

i.      By Capt. Al Ristori

e.      Coastal Fishing in the Carolina’s

                                                    i.      By Robert J Goldstein

f.        Surf Fishing the Atlantic Coast

i.      By Eric B Burnley

g.       Inshore Fishing the Carolinas’ Coasts, Finding and catching the most popular salt-water Game Fish

i.      By Bob Newman

h.      The Saltwater Fisherman’s Bible

i.      By Erwin A Bauer, revised by Bob Sterns

i.        Pier Fishing in North Carolina

i.      By Robert J Goldstein


a.       Fly Rodding the Coast

i.      By Ed Mitchell

b.      The Complete Kayak Fisherman

i.      By Ric Burnley

c.       How to Fish Plastic Baits in Saltwater, A complete guide to rigging and fishing plastic lures to catch your favorite gamefish

i.      By Capt. Jim White

5.       GET INFO!

a.       Ken Schultz’s Fishing Encyclopedia

i.      By Ken Shultz

b.      How to Read a North Carolina Beach, Bubble holes, barking sands and rippled runnels

i.      Orin H Pilkey, Tracey Monegan Rice, William J Neal

c.       Common Marine Fishes of North Carolina

i.      By Frank J Schwartz (IMF)

d.      By Vlad Evanoff

i.      Salt Water Fishing Rigs (Pamphlet)

ii.      Salt Water Bait Fishes (Pamphlet)

e.      The Bluefish Cookbook

i.      By Greta Jacobs & Jane Alexander

f.        Nature Guide to the Carolina Coast, Common birds, crabs, shells, fish and other entities if the Coastal Environment

i.      By Peter Meyer

6.       FICTION

a.       Douglas Adams

i.      So Long and Thanks for all the Fish

ii.      The Salmon of Doubt (Terry Jones finished the book after DA’s death)

b.      All Fishermen are Liars, True tails from the dry dock bar.

i.      Linda Greenlaw

c.       Standing in a River Waving a Stick

i.      By John Gierach

d.      In the Heart of the Sea (Nantucket whaling & movie, based on real events)

i.      By Nathaniel Philbrick