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Top Fishing Charters in Oak Island

Fishing in Oak Island

With the Intracoastal Waterway to its back and the Atlantic Ocean at its door front, the town of Oak Island is a great launchpad for excellent sport fishing. Miles of sandy beaches and town parks make this seaside resort a favorite choice for family vacationing - no wonder that between 30 and 50 thousand visitors gather here each year.

Known for

If you want to take your little ones for a nice day out on the water, Oak Island is a rewarding starting point. Its inshore fishing opportunities are abundant, with Redfish and Trout displaying magic for the better part of the year.

And, if you’d like to explore the vast offshore territories, Oak Island fishing charters will take you to the praised fisheries that lie to the east, in the direction of the gulf stream.

No matter how skilled you are, there is some exemplar fishing here for everyone.

Oak Island fishing spots

Inshore

Oak Island inshore fishing charters make advantage of a vast network of fishing spots around the Intracoastal Waterway and numerous sounds, creeks, and inlets around it. It’s worth checking out the jetties and bridge areas where you could easily be getting anything from Flounder, Redfish, Black Drum, Sheepshead, and Speckled Trout. Luckily for you, the bite is consistent throughout the year, with Drums on fire in fall and Trout numbers litting up in warm months.

There are loads of good places to check out on your fishing trip, including Montgomery Slough and Davis Creek lying to the east of the island. There are some good marsh structures and oyster beds to explore there, so you will want to be fishing with a local who knows these nooks and crannies. These fisheries also have a couple of deep holes worth scouting.

If you’re looking for a great marsh area, you should head to the Lockwood Folly Inlet. The famed Galloway Flats hide excellent inshore species, and if you get tired of boat traffic you can venture back to the Davis Creek for some more Trout and Redfish action.

You will see eager guides and anglers perched on numerous flats and bay boats looking around for the next nice catch. And, if you want some more al fresco action, you can also find a guide to put you in a kayak and explore the fisheries up-close.

To the west, the ICW meets the Dutchman’s Creek and the Elizabeth River. You can either go up the Creek and explore its possibilities - read Reds and Trout - or stay around the rocks where the ICW meets the creek. Once you’re done fishing there, you can move down the Elizabeth River for some nice marsh fishing behind the Caswell Beach.

When you finish exploring the back waters, come to the other side and marvel the view while on the boat. You can enjoy the sandy beaches and do some inshore fishing on the Atlantic side of Oak Island, too.

And once you get back from your fishing trip, you will still have some time to check out the pier and wet your bait for some fine action.

What can I expect on an inshore trip in Oak Island?

Depending where your captain takes you, you can marvel the stunning beachfront and cast some lines for Reds, Trout, and Black Drums, or head around the meandering creeks and sloughs looking for fish. Some anglers like the crowd, some prefer fishing on their own, far from the public eye. You can find both around Oak Island charters, it’s just a matter of how you want to spend your day.

A really nice thing here, especially for absolute beginners, is that these backcountry waters are nicely tucked in from winds and generally stay calm. This means that you and your kids will have a relaxing day on the water - until the fish start biting. Then it’s all about the chase and adrenaline.

If you want to have enough time to explore these fishing spots properly, go on a full day trip. These cost around USD 500 and include lunch on the water - of course, you should always check this with the captain before the trip.

But if you don’t have the time to fully experience Oak Island inshore fishing, a half day trip should be enough. You would head out either with the first light or a bit later and have some four hours to look around these fisheries. Half day trips mostly cost around USD 300 and are great for families on vacation.

Oak Island offshore fishing

If you get itchy feet, then Oak Island is a good place to spend your summer vacation. How come? Simply put, you can see the Atlantic from your porch. The local fishing charters have an easy access to prime time saltwater fishing. Head down to the marina to meet a captain and let him take you where the big names of this beautiful sport are.

If you head some 15 miles offshore, you will have a good chance of landing impressive Cobia, Mahi, King Mackerel, and Amberjack.

Navy Wreck is a popular go-to place. Lying 42 miles offshore, the wreck waters are ideal for getting Wahoo, Mahi or schools of Bonita. When they make their sprint, you will need to hold tight to get them onboard.

As you approach the gulf stream, which could be anywhere between 45 and 60 miles from the coast, you will be close to Grouper, Snapper, Wahoo, and Mahi Mahi. There are countless reefs and wrecks here with tremendous potential of landing the next record fish.

And if offshore is too little for you, you can scout the bluewater, lying between 60 and 75 miles off the coast. These trips are for die hard fishing aficionados and could get you big Wahoo, Mahi, ever-desired Sailfish, and maybe even Blue Marlin.

Amberjacks are high in numbers throughout the year, while Wahoo can be found from July until fall. White and Blue Marlin offer fine fishing in summer months but are hard to get. That’s what makes it even more rewarding once you do snatch them. Mahi are biting like mad from April until June, with Snapper bite on fire already in April, only to be joined by Grouper in August and then slow down as the cold front sets in.

What will I be doing on an offshore trip?

Depending on the trip you select, you can go out for a couple of hours, or on an extended full day trip. Again, if you’re a family with small children hyped about seeing colorful game fish, then a ¾ day trip will be enough to reach the fishing grounds and still have time to do other things on your vacation. Such trips cost about USD 800. It’s a great intro to game fishing for young anglers and they will have a story to tell for years. Plus, you will have the boat to yourselves and the help of a captain throughout the trip.

If you want to be fishing for super big game, such as Wahoo, Mahi, Tuna, Sailfish, and Marlin, then don’t go for anything shorter than a full day trip. The distance you want to travel determines the price, so if you want to get to 60+ miles, then the trip will cost you and your group about USD 1700 and more. For shorter trips ie 12 and 10 hours, the rates move around USD 1500 and USD 1300 for groups of up to four anglers.

Rules and regulations

If you’re fishing from a licensed charter, then you don’t need a recreational fishing license. The crew of your charter boat has everything ready so you can just set out and focus on fishing. The captain will know size and bag limits, and it’s important to respect the guidelines in order to have a clean fishing trip and preserve the fisheries.

As for what you should bring onboard, it would be good to have sunscreen on, as well as a hat, sunglasses, and comfortable clothes, preferably in layers and some extra clothes just in case. As a rule of thumb, full day trips include lunch and drinks, but it’s best to check that with the captain a day or two before the trip. One thing not to forget is a camera! You don’t want to miss having a photo with the fish you fought.

A word about offshore fishing trips - in case you’re prone to motion sickness, you may want to consider taking meds the night before the trip. Please consult with the captain so that you can have a nice time on the water.

Types of fishing

Fishing can really bring your Oak Island trip to a new level. It’s a great way to spend the day as not only do you get to wrestle with fish, but you also get to see this charming little resort from a different perspective. When it comes to fishing, you could be having a laid-back day around the skinny or not so skinny marsh waters, or brave choppy seas. But one thing’s for sure - when the fish make their move, anglers get hyped.

Inshore

If you want to get Oak Island inshore’s finest - there are several tricks and tips to have in mind. Minnows and live lining produce wonders for Redfish, especially if you cast the bait into the current. Reds and Black Drums will go for shrimps, and won’t say no to artificials. Another tip for Redfish - use fresh cut mullet.

When it comes to Flounder, you can try some good old Flounder gigging - best done after the sunset. Look for deeper holes and creek mouths, and use live finger mullets on Carolina rigs.

And if you want a one-man show, kayak fishing is an affordable option. You need to find a guide to show you around so that you can actually make some progress around deep holes and marshes - this is an exciting way to get Reds and Specks.

Nearshore

If you travel a bit further out, you can also target Bluefish and Spanish Mecks. They work well on plugs, while False Albacores will go for metal jigs. Of course, trolling for Spanish Mackerel with Clarkspoons yields fine results.

Kingfish are commonly caught around here, too. If you charter a boat to take you to nearshore fisheries, you could produce great feats when slow trolling live baits. Kings love eating blue fish and porgies alike, so equip yourself well with bait.

Offshore

Once you get where the big boys are, you will need to stay focused or they will rip your line with abandon. The most typical weapon of choice for pelagics is trolling. If you’re chasing Wahoo, Mahi, Blackfin Tuna, Sailfish, and Marlin, then trolling with live bait is a good way to get their attention.

If you want to get Mahis, rig live bait to outriggers. Flying fish, ballyhoo, and mullet will do the trick. You want to imitate flying fish as Mahis just adore them. Make the bait skip across the surface and take a dip alternately. But be ready for lightning speed once the photogenic Mahis take the bait.

Sailfish and Wahoo like ballyhoos, and fast trolling with live bait for these fellas is an action-packed run you don’t want to miss.

Oak Island
4.27
Based on 7406 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

Oak Island Fishing Seasons

Amberjacks are swimming far offshore, but ensure excellent bottom fishing. You might also encounter some Wahoos. Inshore, Redfish and Sea Bass make the trip worth the while.

Redfish are on fire! You can also get some Speckled Trout. Offshore, Wahoo are in moderate numbers, and if you’re lucky, you might meet some odd Blue Marlin and Sailfish. You can also get some Snapper.

The offer’s picking up. Now Trout are in higher numbers, followed by Sea Bass, Snapper, as well as Wahoo offshore. You can also get Flounder inshore and some Cobia a bit further out.

A goof selection of fish, both inshore and offshore, including Redfish, Trout, Sea Bass, Flounder. Further out you can get Cobia, then Mahi, Wahoo, Sailfish, and Blue and White Marlin.

As you target AJs, you can easily be surprised by Barracuda. You can also get Mahi, Wahoo, Cobia, and Snapper. Inshore, Flounder and Sea Bass offer superb fishing. There are still some Reds.

Offshore fishing is heating up. Get Mahis, Wahoo, Sailfish, Amberjacks, Spanish and King Mackerel. You might also come across some Blue Marlin.

Fishing is on fire, with numerous schools of fish out there in the open waters, including Spanish and King Mecks, Mahi, Wahoo, Sailfish, Amberjacks, and Snapper. There also many Black Tip sharks closer to the shore.

Groupers are now high in numbers, with still excellent bottom fishing action when targeting Snapper and Amberjacks. Kingfish and Spanish Mackerel are biting like mad.

King and Spanish Mackerel are on the chew, accompanied by Amberjacks, Snapper, and Groupers near the ocean floor. Inshore, Sea Bass, Trout, and Reds are lit up.

More and more Red Drums, while Trout are as equally as numerous. Offshore waters are still warm and you can target Grouper, Amberjacks, and Wahoo.

This is prime time Red Drum fishing. They are super big and feisty. Inshore fisheries also offer Specks, Sea Bass, and some Flounder.

The waters are getting cooler, but fishing can still be good. The wind can cause choppy seas so it might be difficult getting to Wahoos offshore. The inshore offers Reds, Trout, and Sea Bass.

Oak Island Fishing Calendar

What People Are Saying About Oak Island

"Half day trip with Captain Mark and mate Caleb"

Denis Roznowski fished with Angry Pelican Charters on June 14, 2018

Check out trip advisor. It was spot on for us in selecting a charter.

"3/4 with Captain Ryan"

Christopher White fished with Conjured Up Fishing Charters on June 7, 2018

Sunscreen, 4 hour trip and bring your muscles!

"June fishing trip"

Danny Middleton fished with Conjured Up Fishing Charters on June 4, 2018

Sunblock and cool clothing it could be a little warm

"Full Day trip with Mark"

Wesley Atkins fished with Angry Pelican Charters on October 19, 2017

Take a charter or hire a captain to run your boat. You'll save a ton of money going with someone who knows the area.

Top Targeted Species in Oak Island

Amberjack

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

King Mackerel (Kingfish)

Redfish

Nearby Fishing Destinations