Fishing NC's Brunswick Islands

Whether you're a first-timer or a seasoned angler with walls filled with trophy fish, few places on the Atlantic seaboard give you such easy access to great fishing as NC's Brunswick Islands. That's one reason fishing is a favorite pastime here for families and groups, both local and visitors from afar.

Let's start with the basics. The easiest way to get your feet wet in this sport is surf-casting right off the beach. All you need is a rod and reel, basic tackle – the locals can help you here – a plastic rod holder and a beach chair. Want more? No problem. Simply head on over to one of the five ocean fishing piers conveniently located on four of our five barrier islands. Or, go for the max adventure on a fishing charter, either for inshore angling or for a deep-water experience in waters as far out as the Gulf Stream.


What you might catch depends on where you are. Inshore, the creeks and inlets are great places to find species that thrive in estuaries, such as flounder, redfish and speckled trout. Local folks can show you how to bait a crab trap with chicken necks – which just may score you a dinner of blue crabs.

Near shore or on the beach, the fish running depend on the season of the year. You're likely to catch red drum, bluefish, cobia and mackerel. Offshore sport fishing species include such favorites as king mackerel, wahoo, grouper and mahi-mahi. Charter boats, as well as private deep sea fishing boats, bring in trophy species from the Gulf Stream, such as tuna, wahoo, dolphin and sailfish.


No matter what island you're vacationing on, you're never far from a public boat ramp. Most of these access points are paved and have nearby parking. They give convenient access to rivers, inlets and the Intracoastal Waterway, and from there, it's easy to make your way to the ocean. Your accommodations may even include a private boat dock located on the marsh side or on a quiet canal.


The requirements for fishing permits vary based on your location and the type of fishing you plan to do. For information and to ensure you have the appropriate permits for your fishing adventures in the Brunswick Islands, visit for saltwater permits and for freshwater permits.


There can be more to fishing than a fresh catch or a great story, especially for those with a competitive streak. Here, the fishing is so great that the area hosts more than a dozen competitive tournaments for all ages. The U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament has been running here for more than 35 years. One of the largest king fish tournaments on the East Coast, the event is an annual favorite for participants and spectators alike.

Whether you're in it to win it or just for the fun, our fishing tournaments quickly turn into beloved memories among friends or family, from the first-timers to those who plan their trip year after year around the big events. Check out our events calendar and look for tournament details

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