Cast a Line with Ocean Fishing in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

Brunswick Islands fishing

With 45 miles of coastline, North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is a prime destination for fishing, whether trying your luck inshore, near shore or out in the Gulf Stream. The area attracts fishermen from across the east coast and around the country who come to the Brunswick Islands in search of their prized catch. Outfitters and tackle shops throughout the islands offer equipment rentals for those traveling to the area or for more novice fishermen looking to get into the sport for the first time. Charter boats are available for half-day and full-day charter trips with options for both group and private excursions to near shore locations and out to the Gulf Stream for a trophy fishing experience. The Brunswick Islands’ expert fishing guides are ready to lead skilled fishermen to the top spots, or show beginners the ins and outs of hooking an impressive catch.

We asked a couple of our local fishing experts, Captain Brant McMullan, manager at Ocean Isle Fishing Center, and Captain Cane Faircloth with Ollie Raja Charters out of Holden Beach, to tell us more about their favorite fishing spots and advice for making the most out of a day of fishing in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands.

Why is late summer and fall such a great time for fishing in the Brunswick Islands?

Brant: We have really good Spanish Mackerel and King Mackerel fishing during this time within sight of land. The fish are easy to access, fun to catch and great to eat.

Where is your favorite place to fish in the Brunswick Islands in the late summer and fall?

Cane: Yaupon Reef.

(This is said to be one of the state’s most popular artificial reefs and is only 1.5 miles off the coast from Oak Island.)

What can fisherman expect to catch during this season?

Cane: King Mackerel in deep sea locations, and Flounder, Trout and Red Drum at inshore locations.

Why is the Brunswick Islands such a prime fishing destination?

Brant: We have a large variety of fishing options from the Gulf Stream (50-60 miles off the coast) right to the inshore marshes.

Cane: The three rivers that run out of the area, the Cape Fear, Shallotte and Lockwood Rivers, are great food sources, as they are nutrient-rich.

What makes for a perfect day on the water for ocean fishing?

Brant: Providing people who truly appreciate the fishing experience with a good day fishing, having good conversation and providing a memorable experience.

Cane: Light to variable wind, 83-degree air temperature, and 70-degree water temperature.

Fishing tournament

Don’t miss the U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament, October 5-7, 2017 at the Southport Marina. A great event for both participants and spectators, the U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament started over 35 years ago to highlight the amazing fall fishing opportunities in the waters around Southport and Oak Island. One of the largest kingfish tournaments on the East Coast, more than 400 boats enter the tournament each year. Fishermen looking to try out their skills for the grand prize of $25,000 are encouraged to register online before October 3. Spectators are welcome and encouraged to watch as the fishermen bring in their catches to be measured at the end of each tournament day. See www.ncbrunswick.com/events for information on additional fishing tournaments in the area.

Visit www.ncbrunswick.com/fun_and_adventure/fishing_and_charters to begin planning your fishing excursion in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. You can also find out more about saltwater fishing permits at www.ncdmf.net.

Treat Dad to a Father’s Day Getaway in NC’s Brunswick Islands

Family Vacation

This Father’s Day, skip the tie and spoil dad with a getaway to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. With expansive beaches, endless adventures and plenty of opportunities for relaxation, dad will be thanking you for making this Father’s Day the best one yet.

Fish On

North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands holds some of the finest fishing spots on the eastern seaboard where dad can cast a line and reel in an abundance of fish. Catch a bite from wahoo, flounder, tuna, mackerel, sea bass, snapper, bluefish and many more. Make a morning or afternoon of reeling in fresh finds at one of the ocean piers perfectly perched for fishing. You can rent all the equipment you need and get bait on site. If dad is looking for to get out on the water, he can choose from inshore and offshore fishing charters including trips to the Gulf Steam. For more information about piers and fishing charters visit http://www.ncbrunswick.com/fun_and_adventure/fishing_and_charters.

 Father and son fishing

Hole in One

Known as North Carolina’s “Golf Coast,” North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands features over 30 championship golf courses including some of the top ranked courses in the state.  Combine that impressive number with the mild four-season climate and scenic views, and you have the perfect destination for a golf getaway.  You can even stay in a villa right on the golf course!  See all the area’s golf courses at http://www.ncbrunswick.com/fun_and_adventure/golf/.

Father and son golfing

Adventure Awaits

For the thrill-seeking dad, head out for an adrenaline-filled adventure in the islands. Fly high above a swamp, and zipline through 100-year-old cypress trees at the Shallotte River Swamp Park. Gliding through the air, dad can enjoy 1.25 miles of ziplines and an aerial adventure park with 53 different challenge elements. Looking for even more excitement? Book a helicopter or pane tour that soars over the islands and lends an even loftier view or you can even go skydiving over the islands and ocean. To plan your adventure, visit http://www.ncbrunswick.com/fun_and_adventure/attractions.

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Break for Brews

Help dad unwind from his day of fun and sample some of the area’s finest brews at the Brunswick Islands’ first local brewery. Check Six Brewing Company has 10-12 various beers on tap, such as pale ales, IPA’s and stouts, perfect for dads seeking a refreshing beverage. Check Six also hosts events like karaoke, brewery tours and sample tastings. Enjoy a fun place to relax after an eventful day and slip into island time.

check six brewery

To plan your getaway with dad this Father’s Day and beyond, visit www.NCBrunswick.com.

Welcome to Calabash: “Seafood Capital of the World”

Seafood Capital

“Good Night Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are…”

 

Fans of classic television and radio will remember star Jimmy Durante and this infamous phrase, but not many know its connection to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands.

Legend has it that while visiting Calabash, Durante was feeling a bit under the weather. A local restaurateur offered to fix him something to make him feel better. When she did, he told her he’d make her famous, and from that day forward, he closed each and every show with this tribute!

Fast forward to today and Mr. Durante would be right at home –  still delighted to find delectable shrimp, clams, fish and oysters coated in a light batter, quickly fried to lock in freshness and served up in very generous portions!  This is dining Calabash-style, and the reason the town has earned the title of “Seafood Capital of the World!”  Restaurants from coast to coast have tried to replicate the style, but there is nothing like the experience of enjoying it in its home town of Calabash.

Calabash seafood

As you drive down to the docks that line the Calabash River, restaurant after restaurant beckons – family-owned and each holding their secret recipes tight! Enjoy a bucket of oysters, platter of Calabash shrimp, crab, flounder and even a full menu for land lubbers, if you must.

Calabash waterfront

Check out this list of dining options that any foodie or seafood aficionado will appreciate:

Beck’s Restaurant

Calabash Seafood Hut

Capt. John’s Seafood House

Capt. Nance Seafood

Dockside Seafood House

Ella’s of Calabash

The Boundary House

Waterfront Seafood Shack Market and Eatery

Insider Tips:

After a filling meal of local Calabash seafood, a stroll along the docks is the perfect way to walk off those generous portions and take in the ambiance of a working waterfront.

Try a scoop (or two) of Calabash Creamery’s Cow-a-Bash Crunch ice cream named one of “50 irresistible ice cream flavors” by USA Today.

If you prefer cooking up your own seafood, you can buy freshly caught fish and shrimp right from the docks along Calabash’s waterfront. Or you can catch your own by going out on one of the charters that leave from Calabash.

North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands: The Place For Your Next Golf Getaway

River's Edge Golf Course

Looking for a retreat to relax and reconnect with good friends while playing some great golf courses? North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, also known as “North Carolina’s Golf Coast”, is awaiting golfers of all levels with more than 30 championship courses and a mild, four-season climate. Get together with friends and play a round in this stunning coastal destination with 45 miles of beautiful beaches and plenty of activities to tee up the perfect getaway. Whether you’re planning a guys’ or a girls’ trip, NC’s Brunswick Islands has an abundance of adventures for both serious golfers and those looking to let loose and feel the sand between their toes.

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Book Your Stay
Select the best accommodations for your group with the array of lodging options in the Brunswick Islands. Try a golf resort like Sea Trail Resort or Brunswick Plantation & Golf Resort for all the makings of a golf getaway in one location. Experience a hotel or resort, either oceanfront or inland for a comfortable stay in your desired location.  Another great option for groups, the Brunswick Islands is home to countless beach rental homes, ideal for individual rooms and the advantage of a main gathering space. Check out the Brunswick Islands’ lodging options at http://www.ncbrunswick.com/accommodations.

Plan a Hole-in-One
No matter where you’re staying, you’ll find a golf course just minutes away, ideal for those early tee times. With 120 miles of fairways, beginners and experts can find their best golf experience. Golfing in the Brunswick Islands is made even better with the scenic views of the area’s waterways, lush maritime forests and marshes. View a directory of all the courses waiting for you at http://www.ncbrunswick.com/fun_and_adventure/golf.  Book your own tee times or let one of our golf packagers book your accommodations and your golf.

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Catch Some Adventure
With over 30 golf courses in the Brunswick Islands, you can golf all day every day of your stay.  But with 45 miles of Atlantic coastline, there’s also plenty of ocean waiting to be explored, along with scenic marshes and the Intracoastal Waterway. Board a fishing charter for a half-day, full-day or even overnight trip where you can access the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and have a chance to hook tuna, wahoo, mahi-mahi and more. For a more low-key day, head out to the salt marsh creeks, black water rivers and coastal bays for kayak fishing in search of trout and flounder. One of the Brunswick Islands’ five ocean piers and surf fishing are even more opportunities for a relaxing day with friends by the water. Browse through the options and select your perfect Brunswick Islands fishing adventure at http://www.ncbrunswick.com/fun_and_adventure/fishing_and_charters.

Take a Deep Breath
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Make wellness part of your getaway with fitness centers and classes, along with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, at select lodging options. Try a yoga class, or venture off-property and rent a bike to take a leisurely pedal down the beach. There’s also nothing like a spa day to recharge your body after a round of golf. Find a range of day spas around the Brunswick Islands, and treat you and your friends to day of pampering and relaxation. Massage away sore muscles and get ready for another round of golf or just a day of lounging on the sandy beach. Start planning your spa day at http://www.ncbrunswick.com/activity/day-spas.

Feel the Salt Air
Six towns over five barrier islands mean even more options for a beach day without the crowds. The pristine beaches of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands offer not only sand, sun and surf, but active travelers can explore two lighthouses, the Oak Island Lighthouse and Old Baldy, along with five ocean piers to find gorgeous scenery without the need for a boat. Discover the unique personalities of each Brunswick Islands beach and spend one day of your getaway trading the golf course green for deep ocean blue. Learn about the towns and beaches of the Brunswick Islands at http://www.ncbrunswick.com/islands.

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Taste the Coast
In the seafood capital of the world, a coastal feast is a not-to-be-missed experience. Find local eateries on the water serving up authentic Calabash-style seafood in one of the many family-owned restaurants throughout the Brunswick Islands. Beyond seafood, surprise and satisfy your taste buds with worldly flavors and steaks worthy of a post-golf refueling. Pop into Silver Coast Winery in Ocean Isle Beach to experience their “European Style Wines at the Beach” in a beautiful, rustic setting, or stop by Check Six Brewing Company in Southport to toast the day with a wide selection of their 10+ handcrafted ales. Special brewery events include live music and karaoke, and you can take home a growler to continue the celebration. Search for the perfect dinner destination at http://www.ncbrunswick.com/fun_and_adventure/dining.

Now is the perfect time to start thinking about getting your friends together for a retreat. To plan your guys’ or girls’ golf getaway, visit http://www.ncbrunswick.com/fun_and_adventure/Golf_Trips

Fish Tales in the Brunswick Islands

DSC_3069_OAK ISLAND PIER_LRIt’s almost fall, which means cooler weather and water temperatures, and one of the best seasons for fishing is here again! In the Brunswick Islands, the fish are abundant, and all levels of anglers and fisherman can gear up to go after their big catch. With several ways to fish, the Brunswick Islands offer the best methods and top areas to catch fresh seafood this fall.

If you’re looking for beautiful scenery without needing a boat, pier fishing is for you. The Brunswick Islands has five ocean piers to choose from, all equipped with concessions, handicap access, bait, tackle and rentals. Pier fishermen can expect to catch red drum, sea trout, mackerel and more.

DSC_4299_DEEP SEA FISHING_LRFor the more adventurous fisherman, fishing charters are the way to go. Fishing charters are great for family trips or even a get together with old friends. Take a charter out to the Gulf Stream where the warm waters make for an eventful day of fishing with possibilities of catching tuna, wahoo, mahi-mahi, giant sea bass, king mackerel and more. Charters run both half day and full day trips, or if you are a truly dedicated fisherman, you can take a 24-hour immersion trip on a bunkhouse-fitted charter.

For bird and other wildlife spotting, kayak fishing may be up your alley. While kayaking through salt marsh creeks, black water rivers and coastal bays, you will be able to catch trout and flounder while enjoying the Brunswick Islands’ pristine nature. Surf fishing is also a great alternative for a casual day on the shore.

US Open cmsSolidifying the Brunswick Islands as a hotspot for fishing, the area is home to one of the state’s oldest tournaments, the U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament, which will be held September 29 – October 1, 2016 in Southport. The competition attracts over 400 boats and welcomes all ages, as well as spectators when the competitors bring in their catches.

The five ocean fishing piers and commercial fishing charters provide blanket fishing licenses but, if you are fishing in another setting, don’t forget your fishing license! For more information on saltwater licenses, please visit  http://www.ncdmf.net/, and for freshwater licenses, visit http://www.ncwildlife.org/. The Brunswick Islands feature several free public ramps for launching a boat, as well as plenty of parking spaces for your cars and trailers. Information on boat rentals can be found here.

Join us in the Brunswick Islands for your next fishing excursion and see why our waters are an angler’s paradise. For more information about fishing in the Brunswick Islands, visit www.ncbrunswick.com.