3 Big Reasons to Fish in the Fall and Winter on Topsail Island
The weather may be cooling down but the fishing is heating up during the fall and winter seasons on Topsail Island. Why? One of the biggest reasons is that during the autumn months fish are migrating from the cooler northern waters in search of warmer southern waters. When the summer heat ends, the cooler weather and water also encourage fish to come closer to the shoreline than they do during the summer months. Those two factors alone add up to great fall and winter fishing on Topsail Island.
But wait, there's more! That's not all that reels anglers in. Check out these three big reasons why you should try fishing during the fall and winter months and see what all of the excitement is about. In case you missed it, you will also want to read our previous post on Everything You Need to Know About Fishing on Topsail Island.
1. More Fish, Less PeopleWe've already touched on the fact that there are more fish due to the migration from north to south. But let's also remember that there are less people on the beach and in our local waters this time of year, since it's the off-season for vacationing. You won't have to worry about too many people getting in the way of your surf fishing line. There won't be summer traffic to contend with. And boat traffic will be limited to the more serious fishermen as opposed to recreational boaters just out and about.
The only place you may not find less people on Topsail Island this time of year is on the fishing piers. They are actually quite busy in the fall months, with some people coming to the area just for this very reason. Some come to the piers to fish a couple times a month and some dedicated fishermen come every single day. So you can expect hustle and bustle on each of our three Topsail Island fishing piers. And for good reason!
2. Perfect Fishing ConditionsThe ideal conditions are another big drawing point for anglers. Cooler temperatures (but not too cold), lower humidity and plenty of opportunities to fish are the highlights of a fall fishing experience on Topsail Island. Whether in the ocean or in the sound, creeks and rivers—you can bet the fish are biting.
Winter months offer a quiet serenity and calm conditions for casting a line. If you like crisp cool air and little-to-no competition for your catch, this time of year is ideal. If you've been to Topsail Island during any of its seasons, you know that there is inherent island beauty all year long. You are guaranteed gorgeous coastal views, stunning sunrises and sunsets, and an island vibe that is uniquely Topsail. Great fishing is just another perk of an off-season trip to Topsail Island.
3. Get Hooked on Seasonal FavoritesNow, let's get to the fish! Some species of fish can be found locally in our waters all year long. Others are just passing through. Either way, there's always something biting from mullet and mackerel to albacore and blues.
Spot is one of the local favorites during the fall months. Anglers line the piers and waterways armed with fresh shrimp pieces, blood worms and similar baits. When the bite is hot, you’ll hear that Spot are being caught "two at a time”, meaning both hooks come up with fish on them. Coolers are filled with this tasty little fish in just a few hours. It's no wonder there's a local fishing festival in honor of this catch! Next time you're on Topsail Island in September, be sure to check out the NC Spot Festival in nearby Hampstead for a taste of local flavor.
Some fishermen are more interested in the Speckled Sea Trout, commonly called "specks” in these parts. This prized fish is caught year round in our area; however, fall is one of the best times of year to catch them. They can be found not only in the inshore marshes and creeks but in the surf and from the ocean piers. Specks are a prized catch and are good eating, too.
Speaking of good eating, let's not forget about flounder. These flat fish are often found in the same places as Specks and many of the same baits can be used to target both. If you're looking for some tips on catching both specks and flounder, you should read more about it in this Topsail Angler fall and winter fishing post.
If you're looking for which fish are in season and when, we love this Surf City Ocean Pier Fishing Season Guide. It includes the species, seasons, which pier zones to best catch them in, and the bait and tackle recommendations for each. It's a wonderful resource that's worth a look!
Are you ready to plan your Topsail Island fishing vacation? Get hooked on our fabulous fall and winter fishing and make it an annual tradition!
Do you have any Topsail Island fish tales to tell? We'd love to hear them!