The Crystal Coast is home to fishing and boating enthusiasts alike, boasting numerous places throughout the area to launch a boat, do some surf and pier fishing or even charter a boat offshore in search of the big one.
The warm waters of the Gulf Stream provide the Crystal Coast with the longest fishing season on the Atlantic coast. The area is home to one of the largest fishing tournaments in the world for blue marlin; other fish caught along the Crystal Coast include bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, red drum, false albacore, sea trout, striped bass, cobia, sailfish, dolphin and wahoo depending on seasons. Many species, including drum and flounder, are caught surf fishing. There are several private chartered fishing excursions or the more affordable head boat fishing trips that is able to take larger groups of people, alleviating the financial burden to an extent.
Saltwater and freshwater anglers age 16 and older must have a valid, state-issued recreational fishing license to take fish in North Carolina throughout the year. Specific regulations and restrictions apply depending on local fishing waters including size limit, daily creel limit and closed seasons.
North Carolina offers a variety of fishing licenses from temporary to lifetime. Licenses for recreational fishing can be purchased online at www.ncwildlife.org, by visiting the Div. of Marine Fisheries in Morehead City or through many fishing supply stores. It is important to make sure everything is legal when trying your hand at angling the Crystal Coast.
Public Boat Ramp Access
- Municipal Park in Morehead City, 3407 Arendell St.; several launching areas to the Intracoastal Waterway and parking for 33 boat trailers with additional parking across the street at the elementary school.
- 11th and Shepard Streets, beach boat launching access strictly for canoes, kayaks and small sailing vessels; parking and two kayak racks available.
- South 10th St., Morehead City; large parking area, ramp is narrow and not conducive to certain vessels. Town recommended usage is for vessels under 16 feet.
- Radio Island Boat Ramps & Pier, located on the Beaufort side of the Morehead City Highrise Bridge, the site offers six boat launches, 56 truck/trailer parking spots and restrooms as well as a 618-foot fishing pier.
- West Beaufort, 298 W. Beaufort Road, Beaufort; launch site on Newport River is handicap accessible, equipped with restrooms and 48 spaces for boat trailer parking.
- Taylors Creek, 2370 Lennoxville Road, Beaufort; handicapped accessible with restrooms and parking for 31 boat trailers.
- Straits Landing, 1648 Harkers Island Road, Straits; on North River, allows space for 39 boat trailers and is handicapped accessible.
- Oyster Creek Core Sound, 1300 Highway 70, Davis; on Core Sound with 15 boat trailer spaces.
- Salters Creek, 200 Wildlife Ramp Road, Sea Level; 15 boat trailer spaces.
- Cedar Island, 115 Driftwood Drive, Cedar Island; on Pamlico Sound with 16 boat trailer spaces.
- Moonlight Drive, Atlantic Beach Causeway; access ramp with minimal parking.
- Emerald Isle, 6800 Emerald Drive; handicapped accessible, has canoe access, restrooms and space for 112 boat trailers and 19 single-vehicle spaces.
- Cedar Point, 144 Cedar Point Blvd.; ramp access is handicapped accessible, has canoe access, fishing pier, 37 boat trailer spaces and 7 single-vehicle spots.
- Newport River, 333 E. Chatham St., Newport; boat ramp with nine spaces for boat trailers, handicap accessible with one parking space and a ramp to the dock, canal is shallow and not conducive to larger vessels.
1. Oceanana Fishing Pier, NC Hwy 58, Mile Marker 1; connected to the Oceanana Family Resort Motel in Atlantic Beach, this is a lighted fishing pier where a NC Coastal Recreational Fishing License is not required when fishing from the pier. A blanket pass is provided by the pier and equipment rentals are available. Onsite facilities include an arcade and bait and tackle shop with snack bar with grill and ample parking. For more information and rates, call 252-726-4111, 252-726-0863 or visit www.oceanana.com.
2. Bogue Inlet Pier, Hwy 58, Mile Marker 19; a 1,000-foot lighted wooden fishing pier with ample free parking and access to the Emerald Isle beach just steps away. The Bogue Inlet Pier offers bathroom facilities, multiple fish cleaning stations, bait, tackle and snack bar on the premises. For more information and rates, call 252-354-2919 or visit www.bogueinletpier.com.
3. Radio Island Pier, located at the base of the Morehead City-Beaufort Highrise Bridge, the newly-lengthened 618-foot fishing pier is free and open daily.