The southern coast of North Carolina is a fishermen's paradise with its proximity to the warmer Gulf Stream waters and the cooler inshore waters. Because Topsail Island is a barrier island, there are also brackish waters, estuaries and mud flats along with its soundside waters. The end result is an angler's dream with unending opportunities to fish year round.
During the spring, summer and fall months fishermen can expect to find sheepshead, spot, tarpon, red drum, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, whiting, trout, flounder, amberjack, striped bass, croaker, white marlin, blue marlin, sailfish, wahoo and dolphin running in the local Topsail waters. The marshes and creeks are the best places to try for catches of flounder, speckled trout (specks) and red drum. Winter offers up opportunities to catch king mackerel, sea bass and tuna in the ocean and striped bass in the rivers. Let's not forget about the bounty of shrimp, oysters, crabs along with all of the other finfish and shellfish found locally, too.
Read on to find out everything else you need to know about fishing on Topsail Island. We promise you'll fall in love with Topsail fishingâ€”hook, line and sinker.
Pier Fishing on Topsail Island
Each Topsail Island town has a fishing pier, so you're guaranteed to be close and convenient to pier access no matter where you live or vacation on the island. Whether you go it alone, meet up with your fishing buddies or make it a family affair, you have easy access to the ocean, all of the fishing amenities and supplies you need all in one place, plus restroom and restaurant facilities on site.
Fishing piers are covered by a blanket license, so you don't have to worry about obtaining your own NC fishing license (more on that later in this blog). Another added bonus is that most fishing piers will cook up your catch for you and round out your meal with sides and drinks, too. Pretty awesome, right?
Surf City Ocean Pier
Jolly Roger Pier, Topsail Beach
Seaview Pier, North Topsail Beach
Surf Fishing on Topsail Island
If you prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle of the fishing piers and you don't have a boat, then surf fishing is for you! Add a little sport to your sun, sand and surf. It doesn't cost much and requires very little equipment. Before you know it, you'll be catching drum, Spanish, albacore, bluefish, flounder, trout, and literally anything else from the beach.
Surf fishing requires the appropriate rod, reel and rigs. Other than those items, you may want to consider bringing a cooler to keep the bait in, a cart or bucket to help carry or move things around, a standard fishing kit with tools you may need to use, rod-holding spikes, and something to sit on. That's about it! Surf fishing is great fun and among the easiest type of fishing to learn and perform. It's a great way to introduce kids to fishing, too. Go ahead and give it a try. Ask the locals for help; they are almost always ready and willing to offer advice. Don't be afraid to ask the tackle shop for help, too. They have a lot of local expertise. Don't forget your fishing license!
The ncfishandgame.com website has some great information, tips and tricks for your Topsail surf fishing adventure, so be sure to take a look at what they have to say.
Topsail Island Charter Fishing
Family trips, inshore and offshore charters, flounder gigging and kids' fishing adventures are only some of the many charter fishing experiences and excursions available to you on Topsail Island. You want it, we've got it! From a couple hours on the water to half-day fishing trips and full-day charter excursions, there's a little something for everyone whether you're a casual angler or a serious sportfisher or somewhere in between.
You can read more about our local head boats and fishing charters on our Topsail Attractions and Things To Do page. Just click on the Boat-Fish-Surf heading to see what we have to offer. You can also check out these Topsail Island fishing charters for some reel fun on the water.
Queen Jean Fishing Charters
Topsail Charter Fishing
NC Fishing Licenses
Saltwater Fishing Licenses are required in North Carolina. Fishing licenses can be purchased online or from a local tackle shop or an outdoor retailer that serves as a wildlife service agent. North Carolina fishing licenses are valid for one year from the date of purchase unless otherwise noted on the license. All fishermen age 16 years and older are required to have a valid fishing license to fish in North Carolina waters. It's also good to familiarize yourself with the current regulations, which are posted at most piers and marinas.
You can read more about fishing in North Carolina along with information on licenses, rules and regulations at the NC Wildlife Commission website.
Remember, the best thing about fishing is that you don't have to catch anything to be hooked! Have fun fishing on Topsail Island and be sure to read our follow-up post on the fabulous fall and winter fishing to be had on our island. Stay tuned, it's coming soon!
Have you dropped a line in our local North Carolina waters? We'd love to hear about your Topsail Island fish stories!