Saltwater fishing is licensed by the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, and that includes water up to three miles off the coast. Waters beyond that, and for 200 miles out to sea, are considered an Exclusive Economic Zone, and North Carolina rules apply there as well. The size limits vary slightly, but for many species they are the same.
Fish are measured in four different ways, again depending on the species. Some are measured by total length, which is from the tip of the snout to the top of the tail. Fork length is from the tip of the snout to the middle fork in the tail. The lower jaw fork length is measured from the lower jaw to the middle fork of the tail, and the curved fork length is a line tracing from the upper jaw to the fork of the tail.
There are no size limits on Wahoo and Dolphin. Th following limits apply to some popular fish: king mackerel, 24 inches; cobia, 24 inches; yellow tuna, 27 inches; flounder, 14 inches; Spanish mackerel, 12 inches; blue marlin, 99 inches.
Anyone over the age of 16 must have a license to fish in saltwater in North Carolina. You do not need a license to go on a charter because the outfitter has the license for passengers.
Article Written By James Jordan
James Jordan has been a writer and photographer since 1980. He has worked for newspapers in Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Kansas, winning state press association awards for writing, photography and page design. In 1995 he received his master's in Christian education and completed two years of Ancient Greek at the graduate level. Jordan holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.