Fishing Guide Sections:

Local Charter Boats

Gale Anne
Gale Anne

Atlantic Beach, NC

Length: 45 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Fins2Feathers
Fins2Feathers

Morehead City, NC

Length: 25 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing, Flats Fishing, Backcountry Fishing


Run-n-Gun Inshore Fishing Charters
Run-n-Gun Inshore Fishing Charters

Swansboro, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Flats Fishing


Reely Livin' Charters
Reely Livin' Charters

Atlantic Beach, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing, Flats Fishing, Backcountry Fishing


Carolina Blonde Fishing Charters
Carolina Blonde Fishing Charters

Beaufort, NC

Length: 46 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Island Girl Sport Fishing
Island Girl Sport Fishing

Morehead City, NC

Length: 50 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing


Laid Back Fishing
Laid Back Fishing

Marshallberg, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 2 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Flats Fishing, Backcountry Fishing


Local Knowledge Charters
Local Knowledge Charters

Atlantic Beach, NC

Length: 20 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing, Flats Fishing, Backcountry Fishing


Buck Nasty Fishing Charters
Buck Nasty Fishing Charters

Emerald Isle, NC

Length: 21 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Never Enough Bluewater Charters
Never Enough Bluewater Charters

Beaufort, NC

Length: 35 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Lil Piracy Guide Service
Lil Piracy Guide Service

Harkers Island, NC

Length: 23 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Flats Fishing


Reelax Fishing Charters
Reelax Fishing Charters "Wasabi"

Morehead City, NC

Length: 48 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Venture Charters NC
Venture Charters NC

Atlantic Beach, NC

Length: 21 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing


Back Sound Fishing Charters
Back Sound Fishing Charters

Beaufort, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing


Crystal Coast Fishing Co.
Crystal Coast Fishing Co.

Atlantic Beach, NC

Length: 35 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Buddy Buoys Charters
Buddy Buoys Charters

Beaufort, NC

Length: 32 ft

Capacity: 5 persons

Lake Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Reel E Bugging
Reel E Bugging

Morehead City, NC

Length: 61 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Offshore Fishing


Top Predator Adventures
Top Predator Adventures

Beaufort, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing, Backcountry Fishing


Breakday Charters – 22’
Breakday Charters – 22’

Atlantic Beach, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 5 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Backcountry Fishing


Harkers Island Fly Fishing
Harkers Island Fly Fishing

Harkers Island, NC

Length: 26 ft

Capacity: 3 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Pelagic Hunter Sportfishing
Pelagic Hunter Sportfishing

Sneads Ferry, NC

Length: 30 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Pogies Fishing Center
Pogies Fishing Center

Swansboro, NC

Length: 25 ft

Capacity: 12 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Flats Fishing


Capt. Austin’s Guide Service
Capt. Austin’s Guide Service

Beaufort, NC

Length: 24 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing, Flats Fishing


Friendly City Fishing Charters
Friendly City Fishing Charters

Swansboro, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Flats Fishing, Backcountry Fishing


Waterdog Guide Service
Waterdog Guide Service

Atlantic Beach, NC

Length: 19 ft

Capacity: 3 persons

Inshore Fishing


Pirates Life 4 Us Fishing Charters
Pirates Life 4 Us Fishing Charters

Emerald Isle, NC

Length: 24 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Backcountry Fishing


Spring Tide Guide Service
Spring Tide Guide Service

Surf City, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Wreck Fishing, Flats Fishing, Backcountry Fishing


Live Outdoors Adventures
Live Outdoors Adventures

Hubert, NC

Length: 16 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing


Reel Obsession Fishing Charters
Reel Obsession Fishing Charters

Cedar Point, NC

Length: 21 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Flats Fishing, Backcountry Fishing


Reelax Fishing Charters
Reelax Fishing Charters

Atlantic Beach, NC

Length: 34 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Stack N Bills
Stack N Bills

Morehead City, NC

Length: 46 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Gunny B Outdoors LLC
Gunny B Outdoors LLC

Swansboro, NC

Length: 24 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing, Flats Fishing


Aqua Therapy Fishing Charters
Aqua Therapy Fishing Charters

Morehead City, NC

Length: 48 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Reel Knotty Fishing Charters
Reel Knotty Fishing Charters

Emerald Isle, NC

Length: 31 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Redemption Sportfishing Charters
Redemption Sportfishing Charters

Atlantic Beach, NC

Length: 55 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Offshore Fishing


Hawk Charters
Hawk Charters

Beaufort, NC

Length: 35 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Fin Chaser Charters NC
Fin Chaser Charters NC

Atlantic Beach, NC

Length: 62 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing


Sound-N-Sea Charters
Sound-N-Sea Charters

Morehead City, NC

Length: 24 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing, Flats Fishing


Carolina Flats Fishing
Carolina Flats Fishing

Surf City, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 5 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Wreck Fishing, Flats Fishing


Coastal Carolina Charters
Coastal Carolina Charters

Atlantic Beach, NC

Length: 28 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Big Eye Sportfishing
Big Eye Sportfishing

Morehead City, NC

Length: 46 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing


Ofishal Charters L.L.C
Ofishal Charters L.L.C

Sneads Ferry, NC

Length: 21 ft

Capacity: 3 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Flats Fishing


West Bay Outfitters
West Bay Outfitters

Cedar Island, NC

Length: 25 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Cap’s Fishing Charters
Cap’s Fishing Charters

New Bern, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 3 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing


Beaufort Charters
Beaufort Charters

Beaufort, NC

Length: 32 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Ramblin Man Sportfishing
Ramblin Man Sportfishing

Morehead City, NC

Length: 55 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


OMC Fishing Adventures
OMC Fishing Adventures

Sneads Ferry, NC

Length: 31 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Offshore Fishing


On Deck Charter Fishing
On Deck Charter Fishing

Atlantic Beach, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 3 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Backcountry Fishing


Nakota Charters
Nakota Charters

Morehead City, NC

Length: 24 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing


Unreel Charters NC
Unreel Charters NC

Hubert, NC

Length: 21 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Flats Fishing, Backcountry Fishing


Mullet Run Charters
Mullet Run Charters

Surf City, NC

Length: 23 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Flats Fishing


Steller Angler
Steller Angler

Surf City, NC

Length: 18 ft

Capacity: 2 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Flats Fishing


Colton's Toy Fishing Charters LLC
Colton's Toy Fishing Charters LLC

Sealevel, NC

Length: 27 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Bounty Hunter Guide Service – 22' Bay Boat
Bounty Hunter Guide Service – 22' Bay Boat

Beaufort, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing, Flats Fishing, Backcountry Fishing


Atlantic Ocean Charters - Veteran
Atlantic Ocean Charters - Veteran

Beaufort, NC

Length: 45 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Young Co. Guide Service
Young Co. Guide Service

Hubert, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Flats Fishing


Top Shelf Sport Fishing
Top Shelf Sport Fishing

Atlantic Beach, NC

Length: 50 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Reel Deal Sportfishing
Reel Deal Sportfishing

Sneads Ferry, NC

Length: 25 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Ghost Fleet Oyster Co.
Ghost Fleet Oyster Co.

Surf City, NC

Length: 20 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing


Sensation Sportfishing
Sensation Sportfishing

Morehead City, NC

Length: 54 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Offshore Fishing


Reel Tight Adventures
Reel Tight Adventures

Beaufort, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 3 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing


First Due Fishing Charters
First Due Fishing Charters

Emerald Isle, NC

Length: 21 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Breakday Charters – 30' Ragtime
Breakday Charters – 30' Ragtime

Atlantic Beach, NC

Length: 30 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Sylva Lining Sportfishing
Sylva Lining Sportfishing

Atlantic Beach, NC

Length: 61 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing


Shallow Minded Charters
Shallow Minded Charters

Morehead City, NC

Length: 25 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Flats Fishing


Amphitrites Adventure
Amphitrites Adventure

Morehead City, NC

Length: 21 ft

Capacity: 5 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


IDM Charters
IDM Charters

Beaufort, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing, Flats Fishing


Southern Shoals Fishing Charters
Southern Shoals Fishing Charters

Swansboro, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Flats Fishing, Backcountry Fishing


FlyLight Charters - Morehead City
FlyLight Charters - Morehead City

Beaufort, NC

Length: 23 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing


Bogue Banks Fishing Charters
Bogue Banks Fishing Charters

Cedar Point, NC

Length: 27 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Triple T Charters
Triple T Charters

Morehead City, NC

Length: 20 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Offshore Outlaw Fishing Charters
Offshore Outlaw Fishing Charters

Morehead City, NC

Length: 36 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


See Ya Outdoors – Saltwater
See Ya Outdoors – Saltwater

Emerald Isle, NC

Length: 20 ft

Capacity: 2 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Sea Hunt
Sea Hunt

Beaufort, NC

Length: 23 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Backcountry Fishing


Baldheaded Bobby Guide Service - New Bern
Baldheaded Bobby Guide Service - New Bern

New Bern, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 3 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Backcountry Fishing


Lone Wolf Sportfishing
Lone Wolf Sportfishing

Beaufort, NC

Length: 35 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Just A Fluke Gigging Charters
Just A Fluke Gigging Charters

Sneads Ferry, NC

Length: 18 ft

Capacity: 3 persons

River Fishing


Waterdog Guide Service – 25'
Waterdog Guide Service – 25'

Beaufort, NC

Length: 25 ft

Capacity: 5 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing, Backcountry Fishing


Ryan’s Inshore Adventures
Ryan’s Inshore Adventures

Hubert, NC

Length: 18 ft

Capacity: 3 persons

Inshore Fishing, Flats Fishing


On Point Sportfising
On Point Sportfising

Morehead City, NC

Length: 51 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Offshore Fishing


Fintasia Charters
Fintasia Charters

Beaufort, NC

Length: 23 ft

Capacity: 3 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Reel Cranky Charters
Reel Cranky Charters

Sneads Ferry, NC

Length: 30 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Fish Insight Guide Service
Fish Insight Guide Service

Beaufort, NC

Length: 20 ft

Capacity: 3 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing, Flats Fishing


Mutiny Charters
Mutiny Charters

Atlantic Beach, NC

Length: 48 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Bogue Sound Charters
Bogue Sound Charters

Emerald Isle, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing, Flats Fishing


Reel Deal Sportfishing - 32'
Reel Deal Sportfishing - 32'

Sneads Ferry, NC

Length: 32 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Mama Tried Sportfishing
Mama Tried Sportfishing

Newport, NC

Length: 35 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Breakwater Charters – Inshore
Breakwater Charters – Inshore

Morehead City, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


At Ease Charters Inc.
At Ease Charters Inc.

Emerald Isle, NC

Length: 24 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Breakwater Charters
Breakwater Charters

Morehead City, NC

Length: 50 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


FinchasersUSA Charters
FinchasersUSA Charters

Beaufort, NC

Length: 19 ft

Capacity: 3 persons

River Fishing, Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing, Flats Fishing


Cape Crusader Charters
Cape Crusader Charters

Atlantic Beach, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing


Swan Point Charters
Swan Point Charters

Morehead City, NC

Length: 24 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing, Flats Fishing, Backcountry Fishing


Gulf Stream Fishing Charters
Gulf Stream Fishing Charters

Morehead City, NC

Length: 36 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Ele Enterprises, Inc.
Ele Enterprises, Inc.

Cedar Point, NC

Length: 23 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing


Hot Pursuit Fishing Charters 35'
Hot Pursuit Fishing Charters 35'

Sneads Ferry, NC

Length: 35 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


First Due Charters-Family Day
First Due Charters-Family Day

Emerald Isle, NC

Length: 22 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing


Cricket II – The JAWS Boat
Cricket II – The JAWS Boat

Morehead City, NC

Length: 45 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Bounty Hunter Guide Service 25' CC
Bounty Hunter Guide Service 25' CC

Morehead City, NC

Length: 25 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Adventures Plus Outfitters
Adventures Plus Outfitters

Morehead City, NC

Length: 27 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing


Anderson Outdoors LLC
Anderson Outdoors LLC

Hubert, NC

Length: 25 ft

Capacity: 4 persons

Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing


Tombstone Charters
Tombstone Charters

Atlantic Beach, NC

Length: 36 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Reel Time Charters
Reel Time Charters

Atlantic Beach, NC

Length: 31 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


Atlantic Sportfishing
Atlantic Sportfishing

Sneads Ferry, NC

Length: 33 ft

Capacity: 6 persons

Nearshore Fishing, Offshore Fishing, Reef Fishing, Wreck Fishing


The Crystal Coast is a well-known paradise for anglers, thanks to miles of water in every direction, and a famed distinction as the locale for some of the biggest fishing tournaments along the East Coast. From heading miles offshore to target the summertime billfish to checking out the two local oceanfront piers, there’s ample ways for fishermen to get their lines wet.

Obtaining a North Carolina Fishing License

The first thing an angler will need to go fishing in any coastal body of water is a NC Coastal Recreational Fishing License (CRFL.) This applies to all anglers over the age of 16 who want to fish along the beaches, in the sound, or in any waters that are designated as coastal or joint waters of North Carolina. This does NOT apply to charter fishermen, as charter boats typically have universal licenses that cover everyone on board.

The good news is that a fishing license is very easy to obtain, and is inexpensive. A 10-day license is $5 for state residents and $10 for out-of-state anglers, while an annual license is $15 for state residents, and $30 for out-of-state residents, (Lifetime fishing licenses are also available.)

Visiting anglers can pick up a fishing license online through the Division of Marine Fisheries website at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recreational-fishing-licenses-and-permits, and can also stop by virtually any bait and tackle shop along the Crystal Coast to pick up a fishing license in person.

Surf fishing lessons early in the morning

Surf Fishing

Surf fishing is easily one of the most popular types of fishing along the Crystal Coast, as it can be enjoyed along any stretch of the shoreline. What an angler can catch is heavily dependent on the season, but because the Labrador Current and the Gulf Stream collide just offshore, a wide variety of migrating game fish can make an appearance in the close-to-shore waters.

In the spring months, anglers can cast for sea bass, striped bass, bluefish, and red drum off the shoreline, as well as king mackerel which make seasonal spring and fall appearances.

The summer months bring in a mixed bag of species, including coveted cobia, amberjack, Spanish mackerel, and pompano, which can be landed all along the beaches, and especially near the inlets in the early morning and evening hours.

The fall months are known as peak fishing season for surf fishermen, and anglers can expect to find fat red drum, puppy drum, flounder, sea mullets, spot, black drum, croaker, and an occasional sheapshead. Many anglers attest that October is the prime fishing season, as the migrating drum make their semi-annual run along the coast, resulting in huge (and tasty) catches.

Sound and Inshore Fishing

For a different kind of fishing experience that’s no less fruitful and exciting, visitors can head to the Back and Bogue Sounds where the saltmarshes and clam flat waters serve as the breeding grounds for a wide variety of species.

The marshes are a good place to start for visitors who want to wade out and cast a line, and can be home to oysters, juvenile fish, and even larger species like bluefish, Spanish mackerel, and flounder, depending on the season. A kayak comes in handy for covering the sound waters in-depth, and bug spray and waders are a must for fishermen who want to explore.

Anglers can access the marshes via the soundside of the Fort Macon State Park, or via either sides of the high-rise bridge to Emerald Isle. In addition, Harkers Island has several public soundside beaches close to the main bridge that leads to the Island, (AKA Harkers Island Road), and the Newport River is home to a popular and well-stocked fishing bridge that’s found in between Morehead City and Beaufort.

Visitors who want to cover a lot of ground and head right for the best fishing spots can also charter an inshore fishing trip. Inshore and nearshore fishing charters stick close to the land, (generally venturing about 5 miles out at most), and head to inshore waters on both the ocean and soundside of the Crystal Coast. Less expensive than offshore charters, due to smaller vessels and less gas required to access the good fishing spots, a half day or full day fishing trip can include great catches as well as sightseeing, wildlife watching, and even shelling or clamming.

There are a number of inshore fishing charters to choose from, but visitors might want to start their search by perusing the options in Harkers Island. This destination has a long history of fishing and hunting, and there are a solid half dozen inshore charter businesses that are commandeered by locals who have been fishing the area waters for generations.

Fishing from Bogue Inlet pier

Pier Fishing

There are two oceanfront fishing piers along the Crystal Coast beaches that are wide open to anglers.

  • The Bogue Inlet Pier is located in the town of Emerald Isle and is a 1,000 ft. long lighted fishing pier with a scenic observation deck, bathroom facilities, multiple fish cleaning stations, and a pier house store that’s stocked with bait, tackle, rods, reels, drinks and snacks.
  • The Oceanana Fishing Pier is located in the town of Atlantic Beach and is a unique destination that’s also a resort with on-site accommodations. The pier also extends for 1,000 ft. into the ocean, and features a pier house restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a tackle shop, and an adjacent private beach with a large children’s playground.

Rates for either pier vary depending on the kind of fishing, (specifically, traditional fishing versus king mackerel fishing), as well as the duration of the pier pass. Sightseers are also welcome to explore the pier for incredible views of the respective Atlantic Beach or Emerald Isle shorelines.

Offshore Fishing

Offshore fishing is especially popular along the Crystal Coast, due to the shoreline’s inherent proximity to the Gulf Stream. Visitors can head to Beaufort, Morehead City, or even the soundside of Atlantic Beach to find a variety of offshore charter businesses that leave from the waterfront docks to the open ocean waters in a relatively brief trip that takes just an hour or two.

Once anglers are in the warm Gulf Stream waters, the variety of huge game and trophy fish is nothing short of outstanding. Depending on the time of year, anglers can expect to reel in tasty game species including mahi, blackfin and yellowfin tuna, amberjack, wahoo, snapper, and king mackerel, as well as prized trophy fish including sailfish, blue marlin and white marlin.

The summertime is arguably the best time for offshore fishing, as the billfish stick around for most of the summer months, and the game fish, (especially the tuna and Mahi), tend to be thick in the summer months as well.

Rates for offshore charter fishing vary, but anglers can expect to spend $250-$300 per person for a full day of Gulf Stream fishing (not including the tip for the first mate.) The good news is that the sheer variety of catches, which can be cleaned and packed as soon as you arrive back to the docks, can provide enough fresh seafood for a whole vacation.

Many headboats are available in Morehead City

Headboat Fishing

Visitors who want a slightly offshore fishing experience without the excess cost can also embark on a headboat fishing trip. A headboat trip can accommodate a large number of anglers, (usually 20 or more), and cruises to barely offshore waters where the fishing is consistently solid. As a result, anglers have a great opportunity to land a variety of catches, including bluefish, Spanish mackerel, flounder, croaker, spot, and drum, depending on the season.

There are several headboat options to choose from, which depart from the docks of Downtown Morehead City, Downtown Beaufort, and the soundside of Atlantic Beach. Check out established local fishing boats like the Crystal Coast Lady in Beaufort or Crystal Coast Adventures in Atlantic Beach for a wide variety of fishing trip options.

Fishing Tournaments along the Crystal Coast

The Crystal Coast shoreline is home to more than a dozen annual fishing tournaments which target all types of species, and which are open to anglers of all varieties.

The annual Big Rock Blue Marlin tournament is easily one of the biggest offshore fishing tournaments on the Eastern Seaboard, and attracts anglers who compete for prizes in the $100,000+ range. Held during the first and / or second week of June, this tournament has a festival-style atmosphere, with a number of local businesses offering special after-hours entertainment, specials, and other incentives for tournament anglers and their friends.

The early summer / late spring season is also when two locally established fishing tournaments are held – the Youth Fishing Derby and the BlueWater Fishing Tournament. The Youth Fishing Derby is held on the Bogue Inlet Pier around Memorial Day, while the BlueWater Fishing Tournament Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series is headquartered in the town of Swansboro, and is held in late May.

Summertime brings a series of offshore billfish tournaments as well as close-to-shore fishing tournaments. Anglers can compete in a number of king mackerel tournaments, such as the Cape Open King Mackerel Tournament and the RSWSC King Mackerel Tournament, which are typically held in late July, or can head to the Gulf Stream for major cash prizes in several tournaments that are part of the Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series.

The surf fishing tournaments heat up again in the fall, with fishing tournaments that are dedicated to king mackerel fishing, flounder fishing, and speckled trout fishing.

Visitors can learn more about all the upcoming tournaments that may coincide with an upcoming vacation by stopping by their favorite local tackle stores, or by heading to the Bogue or Oceana Fishing Piers. Advanced registration as well as an entry fee is often required, depending on the type of fishing tournament.

Bogue Inlet Pier

Tips for Fishing on the Crystal Coast

  • It’s easy to catch your own bait, especially in the summertime. If you’re surf fishing, start digging in the wet sand close to the ocean wash to procure handfuls of “sand fleas” or “sand diggers” which are great bait for sea mullet, bluefish, and other summer catches. If you’re on the soundside, toss a cast net for small baiting mullet, which make an appearance in isolated areas close to salt marshes.
  • Clamming, crabbing, and oyster digging are all fun and family-friendly ways to experience a new variety of fishing. Book a cruise or inshore trip, or rent a kayak, and start exploring the shallow and calm sound waters where these critters tend to congregate.
  • Not only is the fall one of the best times to go fishing, it’s also one of the most inexpensive times to visit the Crystal Coast. Motels and vacation rentals often have seasonal rates, which means that accommodations are traditionally less expensive in the shoulder season or off-season months.
  • If you don’t have gear, you can rent it. The Bogue Inlet pier has fishing rods and reels available to rent for visiting anglers for a nominal fee, while local watersports companies can rent out kayaks, small skiffs and fishing vessels, and even pontoon boats.

Fishing isn’t just a sport – it’s a way of life on the Crystal Coast. From massive billfish tournaments and catches that break world records to lazy fall days when the red drum catch is hot, there’s a lot to discover and adore when it comes to fishing on the Crystal Coast.

Bogue Inlet Pier

AB Watersport Adventures
J R Dunn Jewelers
Morehead City Ferry Service
Shackleford Wild Horse & Shelling Safari