ProFishNC Charters: January Fishing Report for Wrightsville Beach, Topsail Beach, Carolina Beach, Figure Eight Island and Wilmington, NC.
THE 2014 SEABASS SKINNY: On May 13, 2013 the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council (SAFMC) provided their analysis that based on the Black Seabass Stock Assessments, the Seabass fishery is no longer overfished and can now be harvested for a longer time period (determined by a total catch of 1,814,000 pounds!). IMHO Being a Charter Fishing Guide & having “boots on the ground” spending day after day on the water… the “Stock Recovery” was obvious to myself at least three years ago. Nonetheless, this acknowledgment by the SAFMC is HUGE for many Fisheries industries (both Charter Fishing, Commercial Fishing and Recreational Fishing), as this will allow for a longer season for NC anglers to harvest these tasty fish! At last check from some fine fish markets… the current retail price for fresh Black Seabass is OVER $16/ lb! This year is one of the First years in recent memory where Fisheries has left Black Seabass open for harvest in January!
WHY IS THIS GOOD: Well, being a Charter Guide I can now offer “Catch to Keep” Wintertime Black Seabass Charters! Seabass is one of the most versatile, tasty and “forgiving” fish when using your culinary skills (its hard to mess up Seabass when prepared even if you are a novice when it comes to fish preparation). Lastly, and more importantly is the reduction of pressure on our “reef complex” species including Grouper & Snapper. I say this because Black Seabass are one of the MOST AGGRESSIVE feeders on structures and reefs feeding on the fry of every species that inhabits the same areas. They feed on anything they can inhale; weather it be Grouper, Triggerfish, & African Pompano Fry in our offshore waters; or Flounder, Croaker and Sea Trout fry in our nearshore waters. With the increased “Quota” on NC Black Seabass, we should see the reduction of “Pressure” on our other native reef species = A GOOD THING!
THE FISHING REPORT: You can drop a Carrot on the right spot and catch a Seabass RIGHT NOW… lol! Well, maybe not a carrot; however, anything shiny and certainly any piece of “natural bait” (both live and cut) will get the cooler full of your 5/person/day over “13 Black Seabass. I fished in the 2 – 5 mile range off of Wrightsville & Topsail Beach this week and caught too many Seabass to count! I used brined mullet from this past fall, cut shrimp & diamond jigs along with my standard bottom fishing rig (low current so 1oz egg-weight did just fine) with a 3/ot Circle Hook. BOTTOM LINE: They ate anything and everything that was presented with the “Hottest Bite” in 50 – 60 ft of water along bumps, ledges, rock piles and structure.
2014 Winter & Spring Black Seabass Fishing Forecast: Seabass do not mind the colder waters of winter & spring; therefore, be ready to catch Seabass in our nearshore waters until the “Quota” is reached!
Feel Free to give me a call anytime to book your 2014 Charter Fishing Trip!
Capt. Trevor Smith