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North Carolina Saltwater Fishing

Updated on October 14, 2014

North Carolina Surf, Pier, Inshore and Offshore Fishing

This page has information on North Carolina saltwater fishing including fishing from the surf, piers, inshore waters, and offshore fishing.

North Carolina is famous for its Outer Banks surf fishing, productive piers, and year round offshore fishing in the Gulf Stream.

Inshore anglers catch species such as drum, seatrout and flounder and croaker.

Offshore fishermen catch white and blue marlin, tuna, dolphin fish, wahoo, king mackerel, sharks, and other species.

pier fishing
pier fishing

North Carolina Fishing Piers

North Carolina fishing piers are famous for excellent saltwater fishing. Many anglers visit piers to catch croakers, spot, and sea mullet, even when surf line is discolored and dirty. When the fishing is good, these fish can be caught two at a time.

During clearer conditions, flounder, bluefish, speckled trout, pompano, and Spanish mackerel move in to the piers.

Most fish can be caught on live bait but blues, trout and Spanish macks will often prefer artificial lures. Lead headed jigs, double bucktail rigs, metal spoons and Gotcha plugs are popular pier fishing lures.

Gamefish, such as cobia, king mackerel, jack crevalle, and tarpon are also caught on the piers along the outer banks. Tackle for these fish is heavy duty and special live bait rigs are used for these fish.

Kitty Hawk Fishing Pier - M.P. 2 Kitty Hawk

Avalon Fishing Pier - M.P. 6 Kill Devil Hills (252) 441-7494

Nags Head Fishing Pier - M.P. 11 Nags Head (252) 441-5141

Jennette's Fishing Pier - M.P. 16 1/2 Nags Head

Outer Banks Fishing Pier - M.P. 18 South Nags Head (252) 441-5740

striped bass
striped bass

Striped Bass Fishing

North Carolina is famous for its outstanding striped bass fishing.

Each spring, Striped bass migrate from the ocean into the Roanoke, Tar, Neuse and Cape Fear rivers to spawn.

In the fall, resident fish are joined by migrating striped bass. Anglers catch fish in the lower rivers, sounds, and in the surf.

During the winter season, anglers from across the country converge for a chance to catch trophy class stripers in the ocean waters off the North Carolina Coast.

surf fishing
surf fishing

North Carolina - Outer Banks Surf Fishing

The Outer Banks of North Carolina offers some of the best surf fishing in the world. When conditions are right, surf anglers catch species such as red drum, flounder, bluefish, speckled trout, seatrout, kingfish, pompano, Spanish mackerel, false albacore, sharks, cobia and other fish.

North Carolina surf fishermen fish with cut or live bait, artificial lures and sometimes even use fly fishing gear.

Dolphinfish - Mahi Mahi

In 2011, the dolphinfish or mahi mahi was the most popular saltwater fish species caught in North Carolina.

Anglers landed 3.5 million pounds of dolphinfish in 2011, up more than 7 percent from the previous year.

North Carolina Pamlico - Albemarle Sounds

In North Carolina, the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds support an incredible range of saltwater fishing. These rich habitats are fed by several large watersheds including the Roanoake, Neuce, and Cape Fear watershed. The Cape Fear River basin is the largest watershed in North Carolina (over 9,000 square miles).

North Carolina State Records - Saltwater Fish

To establish a North Carolina state record fish, anglers must submit an application that is reviewed by Division of Marine Fisheries staff and a N.C. Saltwater Fishing Tournament Advisory Board. The fish must be exceptionally large for North Carolina waters and within a reasonable range of the world record.

source: North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries

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