The Charlotte Observer is reporting that a decline in commercial fishing has led to better catch rates for recreational anglers.
For recreational anglers, however, 2007 was a productive year. They averaged 4.997 fish per trip, based on surveys by the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries. That's the best year since 1994, when they averaged 5.155 fish. The average results from dividing the number of trips into fish caught (those kept plus those released).
The real winner is the sporting angler who targets the not so elusive "Bluegill of the Sea" otherwise known as Spot.
The 2007 fish-per-trip average was skewed upward by catches of spot, the bluegills of the ocean. Doug Mumford, who manages recreational fishing surveys for the division, said spot accounted for 16percent of total fish. Nonetheless, he said, “we're seeing improved catches on a lot of species.” The harvest of spot hit more than 5million fish during three of the past four years, highest in 13 years.