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Top Fishing Charters in Southport

Fishing in Southport

Southport is a small city in Brunswick County, with an interesting claim to fame. Some time ago, it was a surprisingly popular filming spot for a variety of TV shows and movies. If you watched Dawson’s Creek back in the day, you’ve seen your share of Southport as well.

The city has a long-standing tradition of both recreational and commercial fishing, making Southport fishing a synonym for success! Its community has a profound love for the art of fishing – just check out places like the NC Maritime Museum and you’ll see it for yourself.

Known For

Thanks to its advantageous position, Southport is in an excellent place for inshore fishing. With the Intracoastal Waterway and Elizabeth River to the west, and Cape Fear River to the southeast, what more could anyone ask for? To top it off, you also have clear access to the Atlantic and a number of exciting pelagic species.

Inshore Fishing

The obvious first choice for anyone looking to fish inshore is the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) with its many sounds, inlets, and creeks. You can find pretty much all the local inshore species here, including Redfish, Flounder, and Speckled Trout. On the other hand, if fishing the marshes is more your thing, head on down to Elizabeth River just south of the ICW.

Cape Fear River is a brackish fishery, with the part near Southport mostly consisting of Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Sheepshead. You’d need to go quite further upstream to find Stripers and other freshwater species. This river is mostly favored by anglers fishing from shore or the Southport Pier.

Offshore Fishing

If you’re in Southport during the summer season, then an offshore trip might just be the thing for you. The good thing about Southport offshore fishing is that you can get some great fishing done as close as 15–20 miles offshore. It may seem far if you’ve never been deep sea fishing, but the abundance of Kingfish, Mahi Mahi, Amberjack, and Cobia will make it worthwhile.

The real adventure, however, is in the Gulf Stream, some 50 or so miles away from Southport. It’s where you’ll find numerous reefs holding huge bottom feeders as well as pelagics like Blue and White Marlin. Frying Pan Tower is one of the most popular offshore hotspots for fishing charters running out of Southport.

Southport Fishing Tips

  • Bait selection can be a big factor in your success. Redfish love minnows and freshly cut mullet, while Black Drum are more partial to shrimp. Pelagics will go nuts over ballyhoo when you’re trolling near the Gulf Stream.
     
  • One of the best ways to spend a hot summer evening is to go Flounder Gigging. Plenty of charter captains in Southport run gigging trips during the warmer months.

Need to Know

Fall is a great time to be fishing out of Southport if you can manage it. Not only will you dodge the summer crowds, but you’ll have prime fishing conditions to boot!

Regulations

Anyone fishing from a licensed fishing charter will have their fishing licenses taken care of by the charter captain. Another bonus of fishing with a licensed captain is that they’ll know everything about the standing size and bag limits, allowing you to focus on the fishing itself. Otherwise, you’ll need to buy a North Carolina saltwater fishing license for any angler older than 16.

Budget

There’s a lot of different boats and offers for inshore fishing in Southport, with prices for a half day trip spanning anywhere from $350 to $500 depending on the boat’s size and capacity. Prices for offshore trips are more uniform, with a 12-hour trip to the Gulf Stream costing around $1,500.

Getting There

You can reach Southport by car in two ways. If you’re coming from the north or west, you’ll want to take the NC 211, while those coming from the east should use the NC 133 (merging from the I-140 if necessary). Getting there is just the start, though. When you’re on the boat in the deep blue, reel in hand, that’s when the real adventure begins.

Southport
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Based on 13547 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

Southport Fishing Seasons

The very start of the year is probably the slowest time for fishing in Southport. You can still have some fun sight casting inshore for Reds and Specks.

It’s still cold, but you can try your hand at offshore fishing if you’re feeling lucky. Mahi Mahi is the one you’re most likely to see, but there might be some Amberjack lurking around as well.

The Flounder bite will be picking up in March as spring starts setting in, so you can count on better and better inshore fishing as the weeks go by.

Inshore fishing is picking up as more and more Speckled Trout, Black Seabass, Redfish, and Flounder start biting in the waters all around Southport.

The offshore fishing season is about to start, and you can already catch great numbers of Mahi Mahi and Kingfish in the deeper waters a dozen miles out.

June offshore fishing in Southport is what it’s all about! Prepare for an unforgettable time fishing for the likes of Blue and White Marlin, Mahi Mahi, Amberjack, Wahoo, and more!

The North Carolina Fourth of July Festival is held in Southport every year, so expect quite a crowd at the start of the month. Don’t let that stop you from fishing, though, because it’s absolutely on fire!

The offshore action is still going strong, while the inshore waters are teeming with Redfish, Speckled Trout, and others. You win wherever you cast your line.

September brings with it the end of peak offshore fishing, so be sure to check out the deep blue bite while you still can. A good time for bottom fishing as well!

Redfish are showing up in droves over at the ICW and Elizabeth River. Along with Black Drum, you’ll have plenty to keep you occupied in more shallow waters.

If you’re looking for Kingfish you’ll have a splendid time nearshore, but otherwise most anglers will prefer to spend the rest of the year inshore.

As winter fully sets in, the clear waters provide good opportunities all around for fly anglers and fans of sight casting in the marshland.

Southport Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Southport

"Half day trip..."

Kenneth B. fished with Fugitive Fishing Charters on July 17, 2019

We had an exceptionally hot week but as BHI owners I can say that heat index over 100 is uncommon.

"King mackerel fishing with Captain Ryan"

Anthony C. fished with Fugitive Fishing Charters on May 27, 2019

Chum the waters!!!!! Bring an upset stomach or 2.

"Reelin Pelican and Captain Robert "

Joe B. fished with Reelin Pelican Fishing Charters on September 9, 2018

Look for the reelin pelican charter, and Captain Robert

"Half day trip with Captain Mark and mate Caleb"

Denis R. fished with Angry Pelican Charters on June 14, 2018

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

Top Targeted Species in Southport

King Mackerel (Kingfish)

King Mackerel (Kingfish)

Redfish

Redfish

Seabass (Black)

Seabass (Black)

Spanish Mackerel

Spanish Mackerel

Black Drum

Black Drum

Grouper (Gag)

Grouper (Gag)

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Wahoo

Wahoo

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