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Top Fishing Charters in Carolina Beach

Fishing in Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach fishing charters have something for everyone, from family groups fishing for Flounder to seasoned pros venturing out to the legendary waters of the Gulf Stream. Take your pick of the area’s great fish species, and you can pretty much guarantee there is a local guide who specializes in catching them. North Carolina’s famous fishing pedigree definitely shows itself here, with a diverse fleet and a generations-old fishing scene the locals are rightfully proud of.
 

Known For

Carolina Beach fishing actually predates the town itself and the town didn’t even exist until a fishing club was established here in 1882. But don’t think for a second that fishing is all this classic east coast tourist town has to offer. The seafront is flanked by a scenic boardwalk – frequently voted one of the best in the best in the country – a beautiful pier, and of course, mile after mile of beautiful sandy shores.
 

Fishing Spots

We weren’t joking when we said there’s something for everyone here. Permanent populations of Flounder, Red Drum, and Speckled Trout will keep shallow-water anglers happy, while offshore aficionados battle big “smoker” King Mackerel, White Marlin, and Tuna. And that’s without even getting started on the great reefs and wrecks littering the surrounding waters. 
 
With so many options, it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start. But don’t worry, we’ve gathered together some of our favorite fishing spots to help you make the most of your time in town.
 
Snow’s Cut
Connecting the Intracoastal Waterway with the Cape Fear River, the trench is a great place to go if you fancy bagging some big “doormat” Flounder without heading out to the open water of the surrounding reefs. The area is also blessedly protected from nets and trawlers by its strong currents and the assorted debris they bring with them. What it lacks in nets, it can sometimes make up for in hooks, though, and you will not be the only boat fishing these waters by a long shot.
 
Meares Harris Reef
Commonly known as “The Liberty Ship”, this artificial reef is located an easy 3.5 miles from town and is made up of old tires, concrete “reef balls”, and an assortment tugs, ships, and barges up to 440 feet long. They sit in around 50 feet of water and draw in King and Spanish Mackerel, as well as Bluefish, Cobia and a various bottom-dwellers, all of which make great table fare. The size of this reef and the large schools of baitfish drawn in by the shelter of the wrecks mean it can sustain several boats with ease.
 
5-Mile and 10-Mile Boxcars
These inventively-named reefs were first constructed in the 80’s, with railroad boxcars sunk five and ten miles from shore. Black Sea Bass, King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel, and Barracuda are their main residents, but you can also find Cobia, big, ocean-going Flounder, Amberjack, and even Mahi Mahi and Sailfish at the ten-mile mark. This signals the start of Carolina Beach’s awesome offshore fishing.
 
The Steeples
There are several spots to choose from when fishing offshore, but the Steeples really take the cake when it comes to Carolina Beach gulf stream fishing. Found a solid 60 miles from town, these rocky ridges draw in an awesome mix of big game pelagic species. You can find Bluefin, Blackfin, and Yellowfin Tuna (depending on the time of year), as well as huge Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Sailfish, and White Marlin (maybe even a Blue Marlin, if you're lucky!) This incredible deep sea action does come at a price, though, as you will need at least 10 hours to really enjoy the fishing here.
 
Carolina Beach Fishing Pier
On the other end of the scale, you can enjoy some great hookups without ever leaving dry land. The local fishing pier is perfect for solo anglers looking to bag some tasty Flounder, hard-fighting Bluefish, and Sheepshead – lots of Sheepshead. The pier also has its own tackle shop, which makes fishing here almost too easy.
 

Trip Prices

Carolina beach inshore fishing charters cost a lot less than you would expect. Entry-level trips aboard one of the town’s small flats boats can be as little as $300, or $500 for a full day trip. These are great for navigating the local creeks and intracoastal waters, but if you want more flexibility or have a larger group you may want to switch up to a center console. You can expect to pay around $400 for a half day, and anywhere from $550 to $750 for a full day, depending on how far out you’re going. 
 
After this, you start getting into the big leagues, but trips still don’t cost the earth. Carolina Beach fishing charter prices generally don’t go above $600 for a half day trip aboard even the most luxurious cruiser. If you’re heading offshore to the renowned waters of the Gulf Stream, a 12-hour charter will cost you around $1500. This may sound like a lot but once you factor in 100+ miles of fuel, a world-class crew, and the latest fishing tech, you start to wonder how these guys make their money.
 

Techniques

Most of the deep sea fishing Carolina Beach offers focuses on trolling. Dressed Ballyhoo and heavy tackle rule the waves, especially for Bluefin Tuna, where you can expect heavy 80-pound reels and beefy mono line. King Mackerel are another favorite of Carolina Beach fishing guides. Big, “Smoker Kings" are usually caught on heavy-tipped spinning rods, with live Menhaden and sturdy treble hooks. Smaller Menhaden are also used to fish for big “Doormat” Flounder, with a variety of methods to match the depth you are fishing in. 
 

Need to Know

Most Carolina beach fishing charters come with licenses included, especially on bigger, offshore boats. Live bait is also usually included and is sourced ahead of time on most trips. Beyond this, you will need to bring whatever you need for the day: food, drinks, sunscreen, and an extra layer or two.
 
Fly anglers are not hugely well catered for in Carolina Beach. You will be able to bring your own equipment aboard many local charters, but you will be hard-pressed to find a boat with fly fishing equipment included.
 
Carolina Beach
4.63
Based on 8618 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

Carolina Beach Fishing Seasons

January is somewhat of a slow month in Carolina Beach. By this we mean there are a ton of huge Striped Bass close to shore and schools of monster Bluefin Tuna in the deep. What a way to start the year!

Carolina Beach Bluefin Tuna fishing is still going strong and hardy offshore anglers are well-rewarded for braving the cold. There are also plenty of Flounder and Red Drum inshore if you don't fancy the long journey.

The fishing starts heating up in March, even if the weather rarely gets above 70 degrees. Bluefish start showing up in large numbers this time of year, along with the various predators which enjoy feasting on them.

The reefs have come to life by the middle of April, with Barracuda, King Mackerel, and a variety of bottom species. This is also a great time to fish for Flounder before the big ones make their way offshore.

The first early White Marlin show up in May, signaling the start of the summer deep sea action. There are also a ton of big Yellowfin Tuna, as well as Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, and much more.

Carolina Beach Lake Park holds free open-air movie nights during the summer, which the family can enjoy while you head offshore to battle big game pelagics in the rich waters of the Gulf Stream.

The East Coast Got-Em-On King Mackerel Classic promises awesome action against huge smoker Kings. With tens of thousands of dollars and a lot of local pride on the line, this is some seriously good fishing.

August is possibly the best month for fishing in Carolina Beach - If you can take the heat! slammer Bluefish, massive Sailfish, and big bull Redfish make for awesome fishing in any depth of water.

The Fall Flatfish Tournament is the perfect place to try for huge doormat Flounder. This is a great local fishing event with a cheap buy-in and plenty of healthy competition.

The Pleasure Island Fall Surf Fishing Challenge has been drawing anglers for years, and is the perfect way to combine awesome fishing with the area's beautiful beaches, making it great for the whole family.

Tournament season winds down by November, but the fishing certainly doesn't! Expect big catches of Striped Bass, Black Drum, Speckled Trout, Tarpon, and late season King Mackerel.

Walking the scenic Carolina Beach boardwalk is the perfect way to soak up the seasonal cheer, especially with the annual Christmas by the Sea providing you with plenty of warming food, drink, music, and laughter.

Carolina Beach Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Carolina Beach

"September fishing trip"

Tom Mcindoo fished with S. S. Fish Witch II Charters on September 3, 2018

Some lightweight fishing gloves would be useful, as you will grab the lines with your bare hands to pull the fish in for the last few yards. Do that 40 times like we did, and my soft hands got pretty sore. Plus reeling them in. A small towel for sweat-wiping!

"Great bachelor party!"

Brandon Ingram fished with Clearlyhooked Fishing Charters on September 2, 2018

Go with clearly hooked fishing charter.

"Fishing with Guion"

Charles Lail fished with Green Creek Outfitters - Cape Fear on August 25, 2018

Get a guide that knows what they are doing so you can learn how to catch fish.

"Half day trip."

James Stoltenberg fished with S. S. Fish Witch II Charters on August 23, 2018

The captain and crew knew what they were doing and where the fish were hanging out! I know other fishing waters but not these, so going with them was a blessing!

Top Fishing Techniques in Carolina Beach

  1. Deep Sea Fishing

Top Targeted Species in Carolina Beach

Spanish Mackerel

King Mackerel (Kingfish)

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Amberjack

Nearby Fishing Destinations