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Circle hooks must be used in ocean waters when fishing for striped bass

Recreational anglers will be required to use circle hooks when fishing for striped bass with natural bait in coastal ocean waters beginning Jan. 1, 2021.

The requirement pertains to all recreational fishing (including possession) using a hook and line with natural bait for striped bass. The circle hooks must be non-offset and made of a non-stainless-steel material. The circle hook requirement does not apply to recreational striped bass fishing in internal coastal waters.

A non-offset (also called inline) circle hook is a hook with the point pointed perpendicularly back towards the shank and the point and barb are in the same plane as the shank. Offset circle hooks and stainless-steel circle hooks are not allowed for striped bass fishing.

Natural bait is any living or dead organism or part of an organism (animal or plant).

The circle hook requirement complies with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan and is designed to reduce release mortality in the recreational striped bass fishery.

For more specifics on the regulation, and other requirements for recreational striped bass fishing in ocean waters, see Proclamation FF-1-2021

For more information, contact Division of Marine Fisheries biologist Charlton Godwin at 252-264-3911 or charlton.godwin@ncdenr.gov.

In addition to the circle hook requirement, North Carolina Marine Fisheries Proclamation FF-1-2021 maintains one striped bass as the daily creel limit, a year-round open season and harvest slot limit of 28 inches to less than 35 inches total length for the recreational fishery.

The proclamation also states “Striped bass taken in the Atlantic Ocean waters of North Carolina for commercial purposes will maintain the 28-inch minimum size limit and maintain harvest within the new 295,495 pound commercial quota for North Carolina.”

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