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Top Fishing Charters in Morehead City

Fishing in Morehead City

Look at the welcome sign for Morehead City on your drive in, and you won’t be able to miss the big white letters proclaiming it as a “Fisherman’s Paradise.” Because it is. Numerous Morehead City fishing charters specialize in Sailfishing, and you’ll see anglers from all over coming to participate in the world-renowned Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament. The proximity of the Gulf Stream makes it one of the most likely places where an angler can reasonably expect to hook a “Grander.”

As with most port towns, you can feel the presence of a fishing culture all around you. If you didn’t know, the local baseball team is called the Morehead City Marlins! Morehead City has also had a scuba diving boom in recent years, with one of the more famous wrecks being a German submarine sunk during World War II, the U-352.

Morehead City Fishing Spots

Newport Marshes

Also known as “The Haystacks” among locals, this marshland area stands right between Radio Island and Morehead City proper. It’s a popular spot for catching Redfish, Trout, and Flounder, especially during the spring months. The creeks and coves are on the small and tight side, making a small skiff ideal because bigger boats will have problems turning properly.

Radio Island

Radio Island is the number one inshore fishing spot in the area for two reasons. Firstly, it’s well positioned and accessible from Highway 70, drawing in visitors from both Morehead City and Beaufort. Secondly (and more importantly,) it’s a great place to catch fish ranging from Flounder, Sheepshead, and Redfish to Sharks. More leisurely anglers will be surf fishing from the public beach, while others will be on the water on anything from drift boats to kayaks.

Morehead City Fishing Pier

Pier fishing is a bit underrepresented in Morehead City central, so the Newport River Pier on the northmost side of Radio Island is the main departure point for a lot of boats. The pier itself is 575’ long, and you’ll always find a fair amount of people waiting for a Bluefish or Croaker to bite. It also has lots of parking space and other amenities for people to stick around for longer periods of time.


Now we come to the reason why Morehead City is known as “The Fisherman’s Paradise.” Going out into the Atlantic Ocean as far as 60 miles offshore is where the magic happens. From Yellowfin and Bluefin Tuna to Blue and White Marlin, the local part of the Gulf Stream reels in anglers from around the world.

Another possibility is to take a shorter trip to the nearshore reef and wrecks. This allows you to do some quality fishing for Cobia, Amberjack, and more in just 6-8 hours.

Fishing Techniques

When it comes to fishing the inshore areas like The Haystacks, local anglers are big proponents of Carolina rigs that lend themselves well to longer casts. As for bait, Minnows and Finger Mullets are used very often, with Squid being a good choice, as well. When focusing on Speckled Trout, make sure to use a double rig for twice the results.

If you want to start your offshore trip with something simple, it’s a good idea to look for weeds in the water, then just freeline some Squid and wait. This works very well for Mahi Mahi. For more fast-paced fish like Wahoo, the best thing to do is troll at around 10-15 mph using stick lures or cedar plugs.

Going 50+ miles will take you to the main prize of any long-distance trip from Morehead City, the Sailfish. Many anglers are big proponents of using a proper old-fashioned Sea Witch for the best results (you can make one by yourself and spare a pretty penny). Use it in conjunction with a strip bait to have yourself a real Billfish dropper.

Need to Know

Travelling with a licensed charter captain means you will not need to worry about getting a fishing license, and is very much recommended if you’re planning a Billfishing trip from Morehead City. Otherwise, any prospective angler over the age of 16 will need to buy a North Carolina Fishing license.

If you are someone with a competitive spirit, Morehead City is probably already on your radar. If it’s not, it definitely should be, because you have a range of tournaments from spring all the way to fall and there’s bound to be something up your alley too. Play your cards right and the next trophy could very well be yours.

Morehead City
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Morehead City Fishing Seasons

Taking it slow is the key when it comes to inshore fishing in winter. The colder temperatures make for sluggish Trout — keep that in mind when fishing the marshes.

February is a bit of a slow period for offshore fishing, so it might be best to stick to the backcountry. Sight casting for Redfish is always a good way to test your skill.

It’s time for some very hungry Black Seabass, and while you can hook them with almost anything, it might be best to stick to squid or clams.

Yellowfin Tuna is the catch of the month, but strong winds can be very problematic if you’re not on a big boat. 25-knot winds are nothing to scoff at.

May is the best time to catch Cobia, without exception. Go to your nearshore wreck of choice and you might hook a 70-pound Cobia before you know it.

Mahi Mahi are very likely to be found near ledges and wrecks of around 10 miles out, and are a tempting target if you’re up for some trolling action.

If you’re a tournament kind of person, why not go ahead and sign up for a Billfish tournament? The prime target is usually Sailfish, but expect some Blue and White Marlin as well.

Usually a good time for catching Spanish Mackerel nearshore, take a trip to the eastern side of Cape Lookout and prepare some big Mullet as bait.

It’s still a great time to be going offshore after Marlin. Areas like the Swansboro Hole and Big Rock should be your main targets during late fall.

The Redfish bite is bound to be absolutely blazing, especially near the rock jetty at Radio Island. It’s a great time to be fishing from the surf.

Fishing the AR-315 could prove very rewarding if you’re looking for bottom feeders such as Flounder. Otherwise, Trout fishing is more than productive this time of year.

Bluefin and Blackfin Tuna are present in the Gulf Stream, where they are due to spend the winter months. Stock up on Ballyhoo and go get ‘em.

Morehead City Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Morehead City

"Full Day fishing Trip"

Pat F. fished with Energizer Sportfishing on July 13, 2019

Definitely would recommend The Energizer fishing charters

"Half day "

Logen H. fished with Energizer Sportfishing on May 15, 2019

Keep doing what you did, we had an awesome time!

"May fishing trip"

Norb G. fished with Sea Beagle on May 11, 2019

Go out with Captain Doc Brewer on Sea Beagle he puts you on the fish

"9 hour trip with Captain Bobby and the guys?"

Dana M. fished with Lady Faye Sportfishing Charters on May 6, 2019

Captain and crew were very professional and helpful during our trip

Top Fishing Techniques in Morehead City

  1. Deep Sea Fishing

Top Targeted Species in Morehead City

Spanish Mackerel

Spanish Mackerel

King Mackerel (Kingfish)

King Mackerel (Kingfish)

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)





Tuna (Yellowfin)

Tuna (Yellowfin)





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