North Carolina anglers take note—starting January 1, 2020, anyone recreationally fishing off the state’s Atlantic coast will now be required to use circle hooks when fishing for striped bass with natural bait.
The Division of Marine Fisheries announced this will apply to coastal fishing waters in the Atlantic of North Carolina out to three miles offshore. The circle hooks must be a non-stainless steel, non-offset (inline) circle hook, regardless of tackle or lure configuration.
The proclamation defines a non-offset circle hook as a “hook point pointed perpendicularly back towards the shank and the point and barb are in the same plane as the shank.” Natural bait is defined as “any living or dead organism (animal or plant) or parts thereof.”
The purpose of this new regulation is to reduce release mortality in the recreational striped bass fishery while allowing the recreational harvest of striped bass in the Atlantic Ocean to be in compliance with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Addendum VI to Amendment 6 to the Atlantic Striped Bass Interstate Fishery Management Plan.
For more details and striped bass size regulations, see Proclamation FF-1-2021.