• Offshore Fishing

    October and November are prime times to fish live baits for king mackerel within just a few miles of North Carolina’s beaches.

    How to set up a kite rig for kings

    Setting up a boat to fish for king mackerel with kites isn’t complicated.

    November 15 at 6:00am
    Randy Harmon of Morehead City caught this cubera snapper off of Cape Lookout. The fish shattered the previous N.C. state record by over 11 pounds.

    Morehead City angler catches new N.C. state record cubera snapper

    The waters off Cape Lookout aren't known for producing lots of cubera snapper, but North Carolina’s last two state records have come from there, and the one Randy Harmon of Morehead City caught on Sept. 28 raised the record 11.5 pounds to 58 pounds. 

    November 10 at 6:57pm
    Capt. Marty Baumgaertel (left), Bruce Vosburgh (middle) and Nick Piland (right) pose with the new state record rainbow runner that Vosburgh caught out of Ocracoke.

    Pennsylvania man sets North Carolina state record with big rainbow runner

    Bruce Vosburgh, of Kennett Square, Pa., fishes out of Ocracoke, N.C., several times a year, but his trip on Sept. 12 with his daughter, brother and some friends was special. Fishing aboard the Drumstick with Capt. Marty Baumgaertel, he caught a huge rainbow runner that was later established as the first state record for that species.

    November 05 at 6:56pm
    Robert Shelton and Steven Trottier were making one last pass near the Big Rock off Cape Lookout when this 94.8-pound wahoo hit their skirted ballyhoo.

    Winston-Salem anglers catch 94.8-pound wahoo

    After striking out on two offshore trips and what was shaping up to be the third, Robert Shelton and Steven Trottier of Winston-Salem were about to throw in the towel this past Saturday. But when Trottier suggested one last troll in 350 feet of water just south of the Big Rock off Cape Lookout, Shelton agreed, and the pair turned their luck around with a 78-inch, 94.8-pound wahoo that struck a skirted ballyhoo.

    November 03 at 9:35am
    Using a kite to keep a bait skipping at the surface is a Florida sailfish technique that has migrated to the Carolinas, where it often puts big king mackerel in the boat.

    Kings on a string

    The nearshore waters off North Carolina’s coast have always been good places to hunt for big king mackerel, especially from mid-October to mid-November, and slow-trolling has been the traditional technique, using relatively light tackle to drag live baits like menhaden at or just below the surface.

    November 01 at 7:00am
    Anglers heading out of Charleston can find plenty of dolphin in 125 feet of water this month as the water cools.

    Dolphin make appearance in numbers in waters offshore of Charleston; just look for weed patches, floating debris

    Finally, some break from the heat. September was nice. October is even cooler, but out of Charleston, the dolphin bite heats up, and anglers looking for some fast action will find it. They don’t have to travel all that far or use especially heavy tackle to put some of these meat fish in the boat.

    September 27 at 10:48am
    Using light tackle made the battle with this 60-pound wahoo quite exciting for Dwayne Gray of Winston-Salem on Aug 27.

    Winston-Salem angler catches 60-pound wahoo out of Beaufort Inlet

    About 15 miles outside of Beaufort Inlet, a curious wahoo found itself in hot water when it swam up to investigate the charter group of guide Stewart Merritt of Morehead City. After enticing the fish with bait chunks, Merritt rigged an available, yet under-matched spinning reel, and put Dwayne Gray of Winston-Salem on the ride of his life before landing the 60 pounder on August 27th.

    September 01 at 9:44pm
    Teddy Wingfield, his dad and brothers pose with the new N.C. state record scamp.

    Youth angler claims N.C. scamp record

    A youngster from Tennessee has set a North Carolina state record with a 32-pound scamp grouper caught of Morehead City on June 2, a fish that is a potential all-tackle and junior world record.

    August 08 at 2:09pm
    Chris McCall (left) caught this big wahoo while trolling with his fishing buddies aboard the Gnarly Charley out of Beaufort Inlet.

    85-pound wahoo caught out of Beaufort Inlet

    After experiencing a solid wahoo bite at a structure break known as “the Rise” about 50 miles south of Beaufort Inlet, Brian Barber of Pittsboro and his crew set a return course aboard the Gnarly Charley the following day, July the 24th, and were rewarded with an 85 1/2-pound wahoo that was landed by Chris McCall of Rougemont. 

    July 29 at 11:56am
    Kathryn McClure and Cory Swink pose with the 66-pound king mackerel that McClure caught last week out of Holden Beach.

    Angler catches 66-pound king mackerel on her first offshore trip

    An angler’s first offshore fishing trip is often something they’ll never forget – especially if they land a 66-pound king mackerel. That’s exactly what happened to Kathryn McClure while being guided by Cory Swink aboard the Hawg Hunter. They trolled a stretch of live bottom about 20 miles off of Holden Beach on July 23 to produce the incredible catch, which measured 63 inches long with a girth of 28.5 inches.

    July 26 at 9:11pm
    Brayden McMullan, Brant McMullan, Barrett McMullan, Dylan Stone, and Conner Yates pose with one of the recent daylight swordfish caught out of Brunswick County.

    Swordfish run has bluewater anglers daring to attack the heat

    For years, swordfishing off North Carolina’s coast meant spending the night offshore, fishing multiple live and dead baits at staggered depths from an illuminated boat. It could be productive, but the trip itself was an ordeal. But local anglers have recently found out that South Florida-style daylight fishing works just as well, if not better — if catches over the past week are any indication.

    July 25 at 3:37pm
    Jason Edwards' state record pigfish is on his left-handed stringer, and would have been lost in the shuffle of similarly-sized fish if not for the quick thinking for the Fishing Center crew.

    State record pigfish caught out of Cape Lookout

    Pigfish aren't a species that immediately brings visions of deeply bent rods and screaming reels, but there are N.C. state and IGFA world records and Jason Edwards' May 23rd catch has been approved for one and is pending for the other. Edwards' pigfish weighed 2 pounds and 12 ounces which bested the former N.C. state record by a half pound.

    July 22 at 11:14am
    Anglers like Greg Dreibelbois are allowed to keep one amberjack per day; this one has no problem exceeding the 28-inch size minimum.

    Many rules govern snapper, groupers

    The snapper-grouper complex in the South Atlantic includes 59 species, as determined by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

    July 15 at 7:00am
    Greg Dreibelbois of Gastonia battles a large amberjack fishing offshore with Capt. Kevin Sneed.

    Weather, vessel size are keys to offshore fishing

    Weather and boat size are keys to bottom-fishing in the ocean.

    July 15 at 7:00am
    Jeff Deamer of Gastonia caught this 30-pound gag grouper in 135 feet of water, 33 miles offshore from Holden Beach.

    Holden Beach’s offshore buffet awaits anglers on bottom-fishing trips out of Holden Beach, N.C.

    “This is between you and me!” Jeff “Shug” Schucker shouted at a fish 150 feet below the keel of Kevin Sneed’s 31-foot Pro Kat. “And you better believe I’m gonna win this one!” 

    July 01 at 7:00am
    Sailfish push into nearshore waters off the east side of Cape Fear every July.

    Hit Cape Fear this month for a shot at sailfish

    All billfish are special, but sailfish are the ones most likely to be encountered by fishermen other than those specifically seeking billfish. One of the best locations to catch sailfish north of Florida is in the waters around Cape Fear. Unlike blue and white marlin, sailfish readily abandon the Gulf Stream and move inshore following baitfish once the water warms above 70 degrees. 

    June 28 at 3:21pm