As the fishing season ramps up in eastern NC, coastal anglers are itching to be fishing.
When the water temperature breaks the mid-60s mark at the NC coast, inshore anglers start to get an itch that makes them spend all weekend on a skiff with nothing but a sandwich, a bucket of minnows, a few cold beers, and an outboard engine chugging along at its lowest speed.
This time of year brings anglers to the water, hoping to do some flounder pounding for doormat slabs.
Flounder are available to be fished throughout the region, however these anglers need to know that the fishing regulations for Flounder along North Carolina’s coast have changed as of 2017.
According to the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, the recreational bag limit for flounder is going to decrease from six to four fish per person, per day. This new regulation was effective starting on March 1.
This bag limit reduction is necessary to comply with requirements of Addendum XXVIII to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Summer Flounder, Scub, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan.
In August 2016, the board approved a 30% reduction on catch limits for both commercial and recreational summer flounder fisheries. This reduction was in response to a 2016 stock assessment update that indicated flounder are experiencing over-fishing, but are not over-fished.
For specific recreational flounder regulations see Proclamation FF-4-2017.
Because North Carolina manages its recreational fishery for all species of flounder with the same size and bag limits, the changes will apply to all recreational flounder fishing in all estuarine and ocean waters. The overall commercial summer flounder quota has already been reduced by 30 percent, establishing the 2017 North Carolina commercial summer flounder quota to 1.6 million pounds, according to a news release.
Failure to implement the reduced bag limit would result in default management measures of a 20-inch size limit, a two-fish bag limit, and a fishing season from July 1 through Aug. 31.
The recreational size limit for Flounder remains at 15 inches. To get size and bag limits for other fish species, see the N.C. Recreational Coastal Waters Guide for Sports Fishermen. For a mobile guide you can click here, or you can download the Fishing Rules app.