Offshore Fishing


Greensboro angler catches limit of king mackerel – from a kayak

It's no secret that Yaupon Beach Reef (AR 425) holds a variety of fish. It is arguably the most popular of all the artificial reefs overseen and maintained by the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, and in the past few years has attracted a new user group. Kayak anglers have discovered the productive reef is only about a 30 minute paddle from several Oak Island beach accesses, and they have been venturing to the artificial reef on an almost daily basis this fall. On October 21, Mark Patterson of Greensboro launched through the Oak Island surf shortly after sunrise and returned around 1:30 P.M. with a limit of king mackerel.

Patterson's kings were all in the 20 to 30 pound range. It's probably a good thing they weren't larger; he didn't have a large fish box or cooler to store them. They were in a thermal bag strapped to the bow of his kayak and all the tails were sticking out. The longest king was 45.5 inches and weighed 27.9 pounds. The next longest weighed 24.3 pounds. The shortest was only an inch or so less and was estimated at 20 pounds. That's a lot of steaks and fillets for a fishing trip that only burned about a half gallon of gas in the truck to get to and from the beach access.  

October 26 at 6:58 am

Wilmington angler catches 98-pound wahoo off of Carolina Beach

When Filipe Balbino of Wilmington gathered visiting friends and family last Saturday for a relaxing fishing trip, he wasn’t planning on doing battle with a nearly triple digit wahoo. However, while trolling for king mackerel near Carolina Beach, his crew decked a 72-inch, 98.2 pound beast that struck not one, but two of his king rigs.

After stopping to net a morning’s supply of fresh pogies outside of Carolina Beach Inlet, Balbino set sail with his 6-man crew to a king mackerel hotspot. Resting 10 miles offshore, the 10-Mile Boxcars is an artificial reef submerged in 60 feet of water and comprised of 10 railroad boxcars plus chunks of concrete.

October 22 at 9:29 am

Top 4 tips to catch more flounder

Take a horse-carriage tour through Wilmington and you’ll learn that no Civil War battles took place in the city; the battle for this town happened on the ocean. For Capt. Dennis Barbour of Island Tackle & Hardware, the war is still there, but instead of North vs. South, it’s man vs. flounder. 

Barbour has a few tips that can help anglers land more flounder in these waters, which are littered with civil war wrecks, the remnants of mostly Yankee ships that sunk while blockading or bombarding Fort Fisher. These remnants are what the flounder come for, and it’s what keeps Barbour and other anglers coming back too. A few tips from Barbour can help other anglers land their share of these flatfish.

October 15 at 8:09 am

The real fall brawl is wahoo fishing off North Carolina’s coast

Tailgates. Pigskins. Orange leaves. Cool mornings. Bonfires. Hoodies. These are all signs of fall. For the offshore angler that pushes beyond the beaches on a cool, late September or early October morning, there is another marker of the changing of the season: wahoo. 

October 01 at 7:00 am

Hit the shipwrecks for Carolina Beach flounder

The nearshore reefs and shipwrecks out of Carolina Beach are hotspots for flounder right now, and Capt. Dennis Barbour of Island Tackle and Hardware has been having a lot of success in those areas right now, and while flounder aren’t the only fish biting, he said that has been the most consistent fishing for the past couple of weeks, and he doesn't see any reason to think that will change soon.

Capt. Barbour said two keys are essential to a successful flounder trip, and the first key is anchoring. “If you don’t anchor properly, you’re not going to be able to cast as well without getting hung up and losing a lot of tackle. You want to anchor so that you’ll have good bottom to cast to, and the ability to work your bait along the bottom without your hook getting hung in the wreck,” he said.

September 21 at 7:02 am

Bottom fishing heats up out of Southport

The Yeah Right swung into position on the anchor rope, and the screen on the fish finder lit up with a mound of fish just above the small ledge. Smiling, Capt. Butch Foster of Southport gave the command to start fishing. His son and mate, Chris Foster, had already passed out bottom-fishing outfits and put chunks of squid and fish on the hooks, and it was only a moment before baits headed for the bottom 100 feet below.

The Yeah Right was over a natural rock outcropping about 10 miles southwest of Frying Pan Tower, and the fish were hungry.  The 16-ounce sinkers had barely thumped the bottom when the rat-a-tat-tat bites of the first bait thieves began. 

September 19 at 7:03 am

Grouper tips hold recipe for success

To be successful, grouper, tackle must be very specific and virtually bulletproof. The name of the game is to immediately pull heavy, strong fish away from structure that can destroy leaders.

To improve their chances, experienced anglers use braided line that has virtually none of the stretch of monofilament and has revolutionized grouper fishing. Captains out of Ocean Isle Fishing Center use 80-pound class rods and conventional, star-drag reels spooled with 150 yards of 80-pound, green Power Pro, splicing in a short section of clear, 100-pound mono simply to bridge the gap between the braid and the swivel on their grouper rig.

September 12 at 7:01 am

September means Outer Banks white marlin, and this is how to catch them

For saltwater fishermen who visit the Outer Banks regularly, September is a magical time. People from all over the world elbow their way to our docks, fill the motels, and mostly fill all the available boats.

The reason? A silvery-blue billfish that rarely reaches the 100-pound mark and is known by the name “white” marlin.

September 06 at 7:01 am

How to rig a circle hook for white marlin

Small ballyhoo or “dink baits” fished with a circle hook through the nose are extremely effective at drawing strikes from white marlin off North Carolina’s coast. Here are some tips on fishing them:

August 15 at 7:00 am

Gag grouper catch will dip, then rise; wreckfish catch will rise, then dip

NOAA Fisheries has announced annual catch-limit changes for commercial and recreational sectors of  gag grouper and wreckfish in the South Atlantic management area, based on population assessments.  

August 12 at 2:56 pm

White heat - It’s a white hot bite off the Outer Banks

They used to be known as the dog days of summer, but from Oregon Inlet to Hatteras and Cape Lookout, offshore anglers have been spoiled by a white marlin bite between July and September that is only getting better each year. 

August 01 at 7:00 am

New York angler boats 95-pound wahoo out of Oregon Inlet

Aaron Kludzenski of Geneva, N.Y., was treated to some real southern hospitality this past Saturday when his charter with Capt. Dick Harris of Fintastic Sportfishing out of Oregon Inlet Fishing Center took a turn for the best. While he and his party took home a heaping helping of yellowfin tuna, Kludzenski landed a citation wahoo that weighed 95 pounds and was 72 inches long.

July 29 at 9:09 am

Don’t discard amberjacks; they can be eaten

When Russ Luhm nets an amberjack for his friend, Capt. Bruce Trujillo, he is already thinking about eating it. If the fish is mortally injured — and sometimes when it is not — he cooks and eats it, although he said many people release the fish rather than deal with the parasites.

June 15 at 7:00 am

Shoot off a cannonball for better spadefish action

Cannonball jellyfish are common near Masonboro Inlet in hot weather. Any angler heading out for a day of amberjack fishing should look for them on the tide lines and catch a few in a landing net.

June 15 at 7:00 am

Make sure when you pop off at an AJ

If you think catching an amberjack is not much fun, try luring one into attacking a topwater popper. 

June 15 at 7:00 am

Prepare before leaving the dock

Anglers planning a charter fishing trip offshore, especially their first, should prepare in order to have an enjoyable experience.

Here are a few tips for being on the ocean for hours:

June 15 at 7:00 am