Offshore Fishing from the North Carolina Coast [Everything You Need to Know]

North Carolina is one of the best sites in the USA for offshore fishing. This is because its waters come with incredibly diverse types of fish which are rare to find in other regions. Moreover, the best fishing grounds are only a short boat trip away compared to other locations making the experience is unparalleled.

Furthermore, fishing off the coast of North Carolina is exciting because you never know what you’ll find on the other end of your line. For example, you can catch rockfish, cobia, Spanish salmon, kingfish, and other species from just a few miles out.

Exploring the Gulf Stream

If you go a few more miles off the coast, you’ll find yourself in the Gulf Stream. This site is perfect for fishermen who want to put their resilience and fishing brilliance to the test. In the process, you can catch different fish species such as mahi-mahi, tuna, or billfish. Even though most people think that there are just a few fish out in this stream, there are thousands of pounds to be caught.

2 Reasons why the Gulf Stream is

Unique for Fishing

1. It is Perfectly Located

There are numerous reasons why the Gulf Stream is a favorite fishing spot on the North Carolina Coast. First, its location is perfectly accessible to any fisherman via a simple sailboat. This is because it is only a few miles from the coast of North Carolina. Although you can take many routes to the stream, the shortest one is about 12-15 miles. That way, you can always make a quick fishing trip with your friends and still come back to the beach on time.

But, this is only true if you are leaving from Hatteras or Ocracoke islands on the Outer Banks.  If you happen to be leaving from the southern part of the coast say out of Wilmington or Carolina Beach, that can add an additional hour or two to your trip to the Gulf Stream, depending on conditions.

Because of this you need to plan for being out on the water longer.  This includes bringing extras supplies like gasoline, food, water, and protection from the sun like wearing performance fishing shirts, plenty of sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat of some kind.

2. Migratory Fish Pass-Through This Spot

The second reason the Gulf Stream is the perfect fishing destination on the North Carolina Coast is that it’s a passage for migratory fish. As such, this stream is always full of fish at any given time of the year. Besides this, fish cruise and gorge themselves all along the Gulf Stream. This makes fishing a relaxing activity rather than a job for you and your peers.

Due to the wide range of charter fishing businesses on the shore, going to deeper waters for fishing shouldn’t be a hassle. Captain Foster and his Fleet are well known for starting the state’s offshore fishing frenzy, which is now bigger and better than ever. Besides, this shore is the meeting point of the cool Labrador Current and the warm Gulf Stream as it flows toward Europe. As such, different fish species gather from both sides throughout the year.

Fish Species Found in the Gulf Stream

• Sailfish
• Dolphin
• Blue and White Marlin
• Yellow Fin
• King Mackerel
• Bonita
• Spanish Mackerel
• Hogfish
• Sailfish
• Shark Species
• Tilapia
• Sea Bass
• False Albacore
• Barracuda

Even though most people do offshore fishing from spring to fall, there are numerous fish every season on these waters. For instance, Bluefin Tuna are popular during the winter season. Moreover, North Carolina has a rich tradition of world-class offshore fishing that dates back to the 1930s. This was when commercial fishermen from the famed Hatteras Village began offering offshore fishing expeditions to visitors. After all, the Gulf Stream is only around 15 miles away from Hatteras and the Outer Banks.

Fishing For Fun with Family or Friends on The North Carolina Coast

Offshore fishing in North Carolina provides a relaxing experience unlike any other. The fish are numerous, and the short distance makes it a fun pastime for the whole family. Besides fishing, there are plenty of things to enjoy while on your trip. For example, whales, dolphins, and other sea creatures can frequently be spotted in the Atlantic Ocean.

A cursory glance at a map of the North Carolina coastline reveals that the state juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. This also leads to the Gulf Stream, with plenty of outstanding offshore fishing awaiting fishermen who know where to look. What’s more, on the northern side of Stuart is North Carolina’s shoreline which is closer to the Gulf Stream than anywhere else in the country.

Fishing on the Northern Coast

The Outer Banks continue to be a hotspot for offshore fishing, with boats departing from Wanchese , Manteo, Hatteras, and the Oregon Inlet. Normally, most fishermen prefer to use half-day and full-day charters. Alternatively, you can use the regularly scheduled head boat alternatives, which come with half-day trips keeping to the west of the Gulf Stream. These spots have world-class fisheries and full-day trips traveling to the heart of the Gulf Stream.

However, if these options do not work for you, you can choose an overnight fishing trip which comes with shorter journeys. While at it, you can visit Hyde County, which has amazing offshore fishing spots. Remember, several charter and surf fishing organizations are located on charming Ocracoke along a portion of the enormous Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Fishing on the Southern Coast

If you’re looking for a similar experience to fishing in Morehead City or Beaufort, visit the beloved Crystal Coast. It is located southwest of the Outer Banks as well as south of Ocracoke Island. Besides this, offshore fishing is available in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, with sailboats based in Holden Beach, Oak Island, Southport, Ocean Isle Beach, and the famous Calabash. Moreover, offshore fishing operators in the Wilmington area sail from Wrightsville Beach as well as Carolina Beach for a range of neighboring fishing opportunities.

Alternatively, if you have little time or are on a budget, you can try visiting one or more of our state’s many piers. Fortunately, more than 15 piers around the coast of North Carolina provide offshore fishing access. This allows you to catch a variety of fish. Lastly, wave fishing is still a wonderful choice if nothing else works.

Wind Up

Whether your fishing trip is successful or not, you can still look forward to the amazing seafood sold in different restaurants on the coast. The North Carolina Catch funds four fresh seafood programs that span the coast from the northern Outer Banks to the Islands of Brunswick.

However, make sure you look for the Ocracoke Fresh, Carteret Catch, or Brunswick Catch logos in restaurants, supermarkets, and seafood shops. This is to ensure your seafood is fresh from the North Carolina seas!