Offshore Fishing


Great for gaffers - May is a great month to catch gaffer dolphin

It’s a warm, early morning in the middle of spring, with a slight breeze out of the southwest. Stephen Hunter keeps his Cape Horn center console in Holden Beach, but he often chooses to use the Cape Fear River channel when leaving before dawn, for no other reason than the reliability of its water. Picking his way behind Oak Island and Southport, he makes a starboard turn into the channel, slips into the ocean, then pushes the throttle down and heads offshore.

May 01 at 7:00 am

Hatteras: a cape, a village, an inlet

The village of Hatteras isn’t located at Cape Hatteras, but approximately 12 miles to the southwest at the southern end of Hatteras Island near Hatteras Inlet. It’s an unincorporated village with a population of approximately 500. 

April 15 at 7:00 am

New state record false albacore verified

Mike Voytkowski fought his new state record false albacore for a long time, but it took even longer for his record application to work through the channels and be approved.

April 04 at 4:27 pm

OBX offshore kickoff - Hot bluewater fishing off North Carolina’s coast centers around Hatteras in April

The first bluewater fish to arrive off the Outer Banks each year are tuna, and their names include a small variety of colors. Bluefin have become regular visitors in March, staying until the water begins warming in April. Pods of blackfin pass through in winter, but the schools get larger and hungrier as spring arrives. They are joined by a few yellowfin and occasional bigeye tuna in late March and early April, and the fishing continues to improve. 

April 01 at 7:00 am

South Cape Lookout faces bottom-fishing closure

In an effort to protect and boost the numbers and quality of fish in the snapper-grouper complex, the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council will close South Cape Lookout to bottom fishing. The 5.1 square mile area is a popular spot for anglers fishing on the bottom.

March 23 at 6:45 pm

Neil Manning catches N.C. state-record, 138-pound white marlin

A mid-November fishing trip to Hatteras proved very fruitful for Neil Manning of Ashburn, Va., who returned from an overnight trip with Capt. Kenny Koci on the Fin Again with a box full of fish and a state-record white marlin on the deck.

January 27 at 9:04 pm

Improve your offshore fishing by finding convergence zones

“What’s the perfect water temperature to find tuna? How about wahoo? What about grouper?”

January 26 at 11:43 pm

Record king mackerel caught during Championship for the North Carolina National Guard Cape Lookout Shootout Series presented by Yamaha

When Kent Raynor lifted the big king into the Blue Water Candy on Nov 15, he and crew members Scott Pelletier, Timmy Parker and Capt. Jody Gay knew they had a fish that had a great chance to win the championship of the Cape Lookout Shootout Series. But it was several days later before someone pointed out that their 68.67-pound king was the largest ever caught in a tournament along the Atlantic coast, the previous record being a 66.55-pound fish caught by Andy Hinton aboard the Hot Grits II during the Teach’s Lair King Mackerel Tournament in 2002.

November 27, 2015 at 10:48 pm

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, 2015 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, 2015 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, 2015 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, 2015 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, 2015 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, 2015 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, 2015 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, 2015 at 7:01 am