Any Way You Cast It, Fishing Means Fun In The Brunswick Islands

Fishing NC's Brunswick Islands

Spring is upon us in NC’s Brunswick Islands. If you’re any kind of fisherman or woman, you know what that means. If you aren’t, one trip to the isles can make you one.

No 45-mile stretch of the Atlantic coast has more ways to get into the adventure of fishing than our barrier islands do. You can charter a boat, fish off one of our ocean piers, cast right off the beach or fish the marshes and creeks from your own boat or kayak. And the show begins early with some of the best fishing in April, May and June.

To help you get a taste of the action and to provide a few tips in advance, we’ve talked to a couple of the many knowledgeable captains on our coast. Here’s a sampling of what they told us.

Fishing NC's Brunswick Islands

Get Your Ducks, er Fish, In A Row Before You Go.

Capt. Brant McMullen of Ocean Isle Fishing Center advises interested fishing folk to give some thought to the kind of experience they want to have. “We’ve got two main styles, deep sea fishing and backwater fishing and they both can be a blast,” says Capt.  Brant. “Spring starts early with speckled trout, redfish and flounder in our extensive creeks and marshes.”

“Deep sea fishing runs all the way out to the Gulf Stream and everything in between. So, it’s really a function of time and money or a desire for a specific species of fish. Near-shore fishing stays within 20 miles of land. These are typically 4- or 6-hour trips and are popular with families. It’s great for catching your dinner and taking pictures.”

“Now, deep sea trips tend to be 10- or 12-hour whole day adventures. You get a lot of repeat customers so you can pick up some knowledge aboard. We’ve got mahi, tuna, wahoo running out there and you’ve got grouper and snapper for bottom fishing. The Gulf is always good, so we fish year-round down here.”

Fishing NC's Brunswick Islands

Try Inshore Fishing. It’s A Whole Different World.

Capt. Jerry Dilsaver is a confirmed kayak aficionado and fisherman. “We’re fortunate here in having the Cape Fear River, over a mile wide, the largest NC river that flows into the ocean. So all those fish in the river estuaries wind up in the 40+ miles of coastline down to the border. The huge marsh system makes it perfect for red and black drum, trout and flounder.”

“Flounder fishing picks up in May and July through August are some of our best months. For red and black drum, folks need to check the regs and limits on ncdmf.net. Another thing that’s great about inshore fishing is that you can do it on windy days.”

“Now with ocean fishing, you’ve got shallow water grouper starting in May along with black sea bass, grunts and porgies anywhere from 10 to 40 miles off the beach. The king mackerel start migrating up the beaches from further south in mid-April and May. In fact, we’ve had some of the biggest kings taken during that time. Out in the Gulf Stream you’ve got wahoo and blackfin tuna as early as March, dolphin in May and billfish if you’re really game for the action.”

All You Need Is The Desire.

What are you waiting for? Start booking your trip to NC’s Brunswick Islands and include an unforgettable fishing adventure. You’ll also discover our beaches have all the other family adventures you’re looking for. Get started by requesting our 2018 Vacation Guide now.

Visit NC Brunswick.com for your 2018 Vacation Guide and start booking your trip today.

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.

Enjoy a Labor Day Getaway Without the Crowds in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

escape to the beach vacation of your childhood this Labor Day weekend in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands. While other vacation getaways become packed with fellow vacationers, North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands remain a laid back retreat with plenty of elbow room along the beaches. Enjoy a quintessential island escape on this long weekend getaway to the Carolina coast.

DSC_7872_LRStroll through charming island towns and reminisce of your childhood seaside vacations. For the quintessential island experience, rent a beach bike to discover the treasures of the Islands for yourself. Meander through the historic tree-lined streets of Southport to admire historic picturesque Southern homes or wind your way through the dozens of specialty shops, art galleries and antique stores. Play one of the area’s 30 plus golf courses or take your adventure to the sky and climb one of the Brunswick Islands’ historic lighthouses for endless views of marsh, beach and water.

Dining HRaltWhat would a Labor Day Weekend be without memorable mouthwatering dining? Experience authentic Calabash seafood in the town that created “Calabash style”. Take advantage of outdoor dining options with gorgeous views along the Intracoastal Waterway. For dessert, sprinkle some extra sweetness on your weekend by testing out the frozen treats at numerous locally-owned creameries and ice cream shops throughout the Islands and the mainland.

kayaks at bridge SBSoak in the warmth of summer while sailing across salt or freshwater. Spend the day aboard a boat gazing out on the crystal blue ocean while deep sea fishing or basking in the sun alongside loved ones. If you’re looking for a more personal experience on the water, rent a paddleboard, kayak or canoe or take a guided tour to explore calm freshwater rivers or saltwater tides.

For an experience unique to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, grab your board and get ready to hang ten in the Oak Island Labor Day Surf Off. All levels and ages are invited to join in the sun, sand and surf at this annual event. Various age and surf categories will compete throughout the day in 15-minute heats. Children and adult surfers alike are welcome to join the Stand-Up Paddle board race later in the afternoon.

DSC_8114_BICYCLEThere is no need to face crowded beaches with a maze of umbrellas and towels this Labor Day Weekend. North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands is the place to relax into the quintessential beach holiday getaway. And while some might consider Labor Day Weekend the last of summer, summer temperatures linger in the Brunswick Islands throughout all of September.  So even if you miss Labor Day in the Brunswick Islands, you still have time for that last summer vacation to the beach.  But don’t wait too late!