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Your Fishing Pole + The North Carolina Surf = Good Times

Updated on October 31, 2007
Flounder = Good Eatin'
Flounder = Good Eatin'

Standing on the beach with your fishing line in the water can make for an experience that can be both relaxing and exciting. It's also a great way to spend a few days on the North Carolina coast or Outer Banks. This state has always been home to some of the best surf fishing around, especially when the weather starts to cool in October. Surf fishing in North Carolina is easy, fun, and cheap. With little effort and expense, anyone can catch fish such as Drum, Flounder, and Trout, just to name a few of the possibilities. Below are some tips for surf fishing along the North Carolina coast.

Rod and Reel

Many rod and reel combos in a variety of lengths and weights can be purchased. A rod in the range of about eight to nine feet works well for most people. It should not be too soft so that it can handle up to four ounces of weight, plus one or two ounces of bait, along with a hook and rigging. Line on the reel of about 10 to 15 pounds test will be sufficient to haul in most catches. A longer rod can be used to increase casting distances.

Many people are more comfortable casting using a spinning reel. Chances of tangling the line is much less with a spinning reel. A casting reel will sometimes cast further, but is subject to backlash problems. With the large weights used in surf fishing, a casting reel must be set properly or tangling is inevitable.


Surf fishing rigs need to be easy to change. As tide and other conditions change, the amount of weight required to stay on the bottom may change also. Also, the bait being used may need to be altered as the type of fish biting changes. Fish can be like humans as far as having favorite foods and dining conditions. Having a variety if weights, hooks, and rigs on hand is a good idea.


  • Keep bait fresh and out of the sun in a cooler or refrigerator.
  • Shrimp is commonly used.
  • Bloodworms, cut into small lengths, are good.
  • Mullet can be cut into chunks or strips.
  • Squid is sometimes used to imitate a swimming bait fish
  • Some fishermen like to use sand fleas as bait.
  • Artificial lures can be used if nothing else is producing results.
  • In some areas, bug repellent will be needed if the wind is calm.

Standard fishing trip items include knife, pliers, first aid kit, additional rigs and sinkers. Other items that will come in handy are:

  • Rod holding spikes.
  • Chair/stool/bucket to sit on.
  • A large bucket or cart to carry your equipment


Surf fishing is easy to start, but can be difficult to master. Fish often like to feed at the surf break line, and this is a good place to start fishing. Don't worry about trying to cast much beyond the breaks. When a large school of fish is feeding, the action can't be beat. On average, the early morning and late afternoon hours will be the best times to find hungry fish looking for nourishment.

For more information on fishing along the North Carolina coast, see:

North Carolina Coastal Fishing Piers

North Carolina Coastal Fishing License


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