Everything You Need To Know About Fishing Topsail This Fall

Everything You Need To Know About Fishing Topsail This Fall | Ward Realty

Fall fishing is fantastic on Topsail Island. 

Not only are the fish biting more than ever, but fall is when our vacation rental prices drop and availability soars. It's the perfect time to plan a fall fishing getaway with your family or friends. 

Last year our fishing season was cut short by Hurricane Florence, so we are excited to start fresh this fall. The coastal landscape and off-shore sand bars have shifted this year and the water has cleared up beautifully. It has also been a near record year for sea turtle nests, and our hatchlings will begin their epic journey throughout the month of September. 

Ward Realty also has more and more properties up and running every week, so check back often for new listings and vacancies. Ready to plan your Topsail Island fishing adventure? 

The fishing license

The state of North Carolina requires both residents and visitors to purchase a fishing license. A license can be bought online, or just stop by one of several local tackle shops (they will give you great fishing advice, too!). Your license is valid for one year from the date of purchase. 

All fishermen (age 16 years and older) are required to have a fishing license while fishing in North Carolina with the exception of fishing piers. You do not need a license to fish from a fishing pier, since it is included when you purchase of a pier pass.

Find more information on the NC Wildlife Commission website.

Check fishing reports

If you want to keep track of what's biting, follow the Surf City Ocean Pier's Facebook page. They love to post photos of fish and the folks who catch them! You can also check their website at www.surfcityoceanpier.com to find live webcams and other great information. 

Finally, take a quick look at the Topsail Beach Fishing Report website. It will show you which fish are "in season", the weather, and reports from the sea! 

Surf City Ocean Pier | Ward Realty

Three ways to fish

There are several great spots to get your hook in the water! 

1. Pier fishing

If you are a beginner or working with children, you might just want to try pier fishing. Your fishing license is included, you can rent gear there, and there are lots of conveniences like cleaning sinks, lights, and a snack bar.  We have three great piers here on Topsail Island. Find the one closest to your vacation rental, or try all three! You never know what's biting. 

12 South Shore Drive

Surf City


803 Ocean Blvd.

Topsail Beach


124 Fishing Pier Lane

North Topsail Beach


2. Surf fishing

Bring the family together for some surf fishing on Topsail Island! With the proper equipment, it can be one of the most relaxing ways to fish. And, if your kids get bored while fishing the sand and surf are right there waiting for them to play. 

surf fishing gear on the beach | Ward Realty

If you are going to try surf fishing make sure you have the proper gear. This includes a rod, reel (most beginners prefer a spinning reel) with the proper weight and circle hook. Ask the tackle shop for advice! That's what they are there for. Don't forget a cooler for drinks and to store the fish you catch. You won't regret a chair and possibly an umbrella, as well as standard fishing tools like pliers, a net, and a first aid kit. Read much more about surf fishing at the NC fish and game website: www.ncfishandgame.com/fish/surf_fish

Offshore and charter fishing boats

To participate in a more immersive fishing experience, take the family on a half day or evening fishing trip on a charter fishing boat like the Queen Jean. This spacious vessel boasts a full snack bar, restrooms, lots of covered space to warm up or get out of the sun (depending on the weather) and includes everything you need to enjoy a day on the water. A charter boat is an easy and fun way to experience fishing on Topsail Island. 

Queen Jean Fishing Charters

Behind the Assembly Building

Topsail Beach, NC 28445

Phone: 910-545-FISH

Topsail Charter Fishing 

409 Roland Avenue

Surf City, NC 28445

Phone: 910-358-4912

man reeling in shark on fishing charter boat | Ward Realty

Renting or Buying Fishing Equipment, Bait & Tackle

Here are some places to rent everything you need to fish Topsail:

 - Surf City

 - Topsail Beach

 - North Topsail Beach

Here, fishy fishy fishy...

What varieties of fish are you likely to find off the shores of Topsail Island, NC? Here is a list of some of our most common bites: 

🐠 Albacore - Found mostly offshore but some are caught in the surf and off the pier

🐠 Bluefish - Bottom rigs find these at the end of piers

🐠 Flounder - Found in the inland waters of the sound 

🐠 Red Drum- Drum are commonly found off the ends of the piers as well as in the creeks during high tide

🐠 Speckled Trout - These guys love the cooler waters in the fall

🐠 Pompano - Very active along the piers, especially in the fall

🐠 Sea Bass - Offshore charters are the best for finding these delicious fish 

🐠 Mahi - Again, you will need to go offshore to catch these magnificent fish but it's worth it!

🐠 Sheepshead - Found on the sound side of the island and caught easily with sand fleas

What about bait? 

The best bait varies, but our fish seem to prefer bloodworms, mullet, squid, shrimp, sand fleas, or even artificial lures can trick the fish into biting. If you are surf fishing, make sure your bait is heavy enough to stand up to the waves. 

Dinner's almost ready...

Congratulations on all the amazing fish you pulled in today! The cooler is full, and expectations are high. Now what? 

It's time to fillet your fish (if you caught them on the pier, you can use those sinks and preparation areas). Your Ward Realty vacation rental kitchen is ready to handle everything your meal prep demands. Don't forget to run to the local grocery store for everything else you need to complete your fresh seafood dinner, including vegetables, sides, and maybe a bottle of wine. 

I didn't catch anything! Now what? 

No worries! You enjoyed a day by the water and probably learned a thing or two. You will have better luck next time! For now, stop by one of our fantastic seafood markets and select your own perfectly filleted fish with no work involved. Please read this blog post that outlines exactly how to choose the very best seafood, where to find it on Topsail Island, and our recommendations for some great seafood restaurants if you would rather just leave the cooking to someone else. 

shrimping boat in the water | Ward Realty

Shrimping boats are an impressive sight to see off the shores of Topsail, bringing in the most delicious shrimp. 

Book your rental early 

Don't let the perfect vacation house become the "one that got away". Whether you are looking for a cozy cottage or something bigger, Ward Realty has some really good launching points for your coastal NC fishing adventure. 

Drop a line ... Right here on Topsail Island

What's your favorite fishing spot? Do you choose pier, surf or boat? Do you rent or bring your gear? Tell us all about it! 

Everything You Need To Know About Fishing Topsail This Fall | Ward Realty

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