THE CRYSTAL COAST offers first-rate fishing year-round because of its close proximity to the Continental Shelf and Gulf Stream current. Anglers from everywhere flock to this area in hopes of catching the big one! Whether you’re a seasoned fisherman or a novice, there are many opportunities available from surf and pier fishing to offshore charter boat fishing.
Fishing from piers is a favorite pastime along the Crystal Coast. The Oceanana Pier on Atlantic Beach (www.oceanana.com) and the Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle (www.bogueinletpier.com) both provide 24 hour access during prime fishing season with 1,000-foot piers offering lights, benches, restrooms, ample parking and rod and reel rentals. Visitors do not need a NC fishing license to fish off of either pier.
For those who like to fish the surf, here are a couple of good spots to consider: Fort Macon State Park includes a long stretch of beach from an old stone jetty east around the west side of Beaufort Inlet. From the same jetty going west is a beautiful beach on the ocean side that stretches to park’s boundary. Radio Island Beach Access is just east of Beaufort with easy access off of Hwy 70 and is usually not very crowded. Depending on the season there have been good reported catches in our area of puppy drum, black drum, gray trout, bluefish, sea mullet, pompano or flounder.
Enjoy a day of offshore fishing for tuna, dolphin, wahoo or billfish on one of the Crystal Coast’s larger head boats located on the Atlantic Beach Causeway or Morehead City waterfront. This is a more inexpensive way to get out to the Gulf Stream for a day as these vessels can take as many as 50 people. Several smaller charter boats are available for hire by private parties of four to six individuals. Most head and charter boats operate year-round and are listed on our website, www.crystalcoastnc.org/region/all/play.
Fishing tournaments are very popular and more and more are held here each year. The most well-known is the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, June 5-13 (www.thebigrock.com). A lady angler tournament is held in conjunction with this event.
Most fishing tournaments offer ticketed events to the public along with exciting daily weigh-ins. Mark your calendars for these upcoming tournaments:
July 16: Barta Boys and Girls Club Billfish Tournament
July 23-25: Ducks Unlimited Band the Billfish
July 24: CCC Foundation Spanish Mackerel Challenge
Sept. 19: Flounder Surf Fishing Tournament
Oct. 14: Swansboro Rotary King Mackerel Tournament
Oct. 16: NC Troopers Association Saltwater Challenge
Oct. 17: Gordie McAdams Speckled Trout Tournament
Oct. 22: Mercury Southern Kingfish Association National Championship
Nov. 8: Friendly City Speckled Trout Tournament.
Elizabeth Barrow, Dir. of Local Public Relations
Crystal Coast Tourism Authority