Holden Beach

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Fishing in Holden Beach

Surrounded on all sides by water, with the Intercoastal Waterway to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south, Holden Beach fishing charters have their work cut out for them. It’s one of those places where the rest of the family can enjoy the sprawling beaches and numerous parks, while you’re out chasing proper game fish.

Holden Beach Fishing Spots

Thanks to its advantageous position, Holden Beach is able to host a variety of fishing charters that specialize in inshore, nearshore and offshore fishing, as well as combinations of the three. From dense marshes to the wide blue seas, you’re in for a treat either way.


The Intracoastal Waterway is the lifeline of the local inshore fishing scene, owing to a great number of nearby sounds, creeks and inlets. The jetties and fishing grounds near Holden Beach Bridge are where you can easily get species like Flounder, Redfish, Black Drum, and Trout in large numbers during most of the year.

Right off the eastern coast of the island, you’ll find Lockwood Folly Inlet. Go further inwards and you’ll reach the Galloway Flats, probably the best location if you’re a determined inshore angler. For something a bit less crowded, you can visit the Shallotte River inlet that’s over on the western tip of the island. Both of these places are absolutely brimming with marshland that’s a prime fish retreat during colder months.

Another great thing about the backcountry near Holden Beach is that it’s well protected from harsh winds, and the waters will remain calm throughout the year. This makes it a very viable option for family trips if you want to show your kids how fun fishing can be.

If you’re someone who likes to go off the beaten path, Saucepan Creek might interest you. It’s no more than half a mile out from Shallotte River inlet, and boasts a commendable population of Redfish, Trout, and Black Drum. Most anglers prefer Shallotte Creek simply because it’s bigger, but it would be a shame to miss out on some potentially great fishing.


One of the more popular Holden Beach attractions when it comes to fishing is the sheer variety of different offshore fishing options available. Local sportfishing captains have a variety of different packages to satisfy everyone, including trips anywhere from 6 to 12 hours and beyond.

Shorter trips won’t involve going past the 15 mile mark, but there’s plenty of fishing done at that range too. Species like Mahi Mahi, Cobia, Amberjack, and others can keep you going for hours at a time without respite.

As you get close to the edge of the Gulf Stream, more fishing options open up. At around the 40 mile mark, you have the famous Navy Wreck, a good spot for Wahoo, Bonita, and Mahi Mahi. The best time for Wahoo fishing around here is late summer through fall.

If you want to go after the really big boys, then get ready to go as far as 75 miles offshore. This is where you have the more determined anglers deep sea fishing for the likes of Sailfish, White and Blue Marlin, and some huge bottom feeders. Marlin are tricky to find even at the best of times, which is one of the reasons these trips will take a while, i.e. 12+ hours.

Fishing Techniques

One of the more entertaining ways to get started fishing the backcountry is by going on a Flounder gigging trip - best done after sunset. There are plenty of charter captains in Holden Beach who can show you the best gigging locations around (such as creek mouths). For the more conventionally-minded anglers out there, Minnows are the bait of choice for Reds, while Shrimp is a good option because Black Drum like them as well.

When you start going offshore and towards the Gulf Stream, trolling with live bait will be your weapon of choice. Wahoo and Sailfish are both big fans of Ballyhoo, so get ready for an adrenaline-pumping fight once the bait is set and ready.

Need to Know

If you plan on fishing with a licensed charter captain, you will not need a recreational fishing license. The crew will make sure the only thing you need to be focused on is the fishing itself, while the captain will be up to date with any relevant size and bagging limits. Otherwise, please take care to purchase a North Carolina Fishing license.

If you’ve never been on a longer offshore trip before, and would like to give it a go, it might be prudent to bring some motion sickness medication if you think it might be an issue during the trip. It’s always best to check with the charter captain and see what they have to say as well.

Holden Beach
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Holden Beach Fishing Seasons


Redfish and Trout are the winter staples of the backcountry waters, providing you with some great sight casting opportunities in the northern flats.


The inshore bite is still on fire out in the marshes and other inshore locations, but you can get lucky offshore too. There might just be a Sailfish with your name on it.


With winter on the way out, you’ll find Trout in larger numbers along with Flounder as well. Offshore, get ready for some Wahoo and Cobia action.


April is when Spanish Mackerel usually start moving inshore. You’ll be able to find them in depths of anywhere from 30’ to 8’ of water, the latter being right at the inlets.


If you’re up for a longer trip, the Wahoo and Mahi Mahi bite is great some 30-50 miles offshore. Trolling ballyhoo is the way to go with these guys.


As summer sets in, offshore fishing starts ramping up rapidly. Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Amberjack, Kingfish, and more, just a boat ride away.


Just like the weather outside, the fishing is HOT! From Spanish Mackerel and Kingfish, to Blue and White Marlin, you simply can’t go wrong wherever you go.


If you’re looking for Black Drum, you’ll have the best odds of success if you check creeks over at the Intracoastal Waterway on both ends of the island.


Expect the Spanish Mackerel bite to be on fire nearshore. Local anglers like to use Clarkspoons for the best results when trolling the waters for them.


With summer out of the way, fishing along the Intercoastal Waterway will be picking up. The offshore bite is still strong, with Blackfin Tuna being the catch of choice.


This is one of the best times to be out trolling for Kingfish. The most effect way to do so is by targeting nearshore structure while slow trolling with live bait.


Things are cooling down in earnest, so it might be a good idea to switch things up and head to the flats. You’ll have no problems finding Reds there.

Holden Beach Fishing Calendar

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Reviews of Fishing in Holden Beach

July fishing trip
Kevin T. fished with Triple 2 Charters on July 1, 2019
Go out with Captain Tommy Triple 2 Charters. You will not be disappointed. Very accommodating and really wants to put you on some fish.
Life Altering Trip
chuck l. fished with Triple 2 Charters on June 8, 2018
Call Triple 2 Charters, and eat at Dead End Saloon

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