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THE CRYSTAL COAST offers first-rate fishing year-round because of its close proximity to the Continental Shelf and Gulf Stream current. Anglers from near and far 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 inshore and offshore charter boat fishing.

Fishing from piers is a favorite pastime along the Crystal Coast. The Oceanana Pier in Atlantic Beach (www.oceananapier.com) and the Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle (www.bogueinletpier.com) both provide 24-hour access during prime fishing season with 1000-foot piers offering lights, benches, restrooms, ample parking as well as rod and reel rentals. And a bonus to pier fishing is that visitors are not required to have a NC fishing license to fish off of either pier.

For those who like to surf fish, 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 the park’s boundary. Radio Island Beach Access is just east of Beaufort with easy access off of Highway 70 and is usually not very crowded. Depending on the season, there have been good catches reported in our area of puppy drum, black drum, gray trout, bluefish, sea mullet, pompano and flounder.

Enjoy a day of deep sea bottom fishing for red snapper, grouper, trigger fish, black sea bass and amberjack 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. Many smaller charter boats are also available for hire by private parties of four to six individuals. Sport fishing on a smaller charter boat affords you the opportunity to catch blue marlin, tuna, mahi mahi, king mackerel or Spanish mackerel. Most head and charter boats operate year-round and they are listed at www.crystalcoastnc.org/region/all/play/on-water.

If you are a novice fisherman, there are fishing schools such as the Surf Fishing Workshop held each year at the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores the second weekend in October. The crew on the head boats will also teach you how to fish.

Fishing tournaments are very popular and more and more are held here each year. Mark your calendars for these upcoming tournaments: Atlantic Beach King Mackerel Saltwater Slam (Atlantic Beach), Oct. 1-22: 7th annual NC Troopers Association Offshore-Inshore Saltwater Challenge (Morehead City), Oct. 13-15: 15th annual Gordie McAdams Speckled Trout Surf Fishing Tournament (Emerald Isle), Oct. 14-Nov. 25: For details on all local fishing tournaments, please visit our website, www.crystalcoastnc.org/region/all/events/fishing-tournaments

And please remember, all saltwater fishermen in North Carolina are required to have a fishing license. In Carteret County these can be purchased at Marine Fisheries.

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