Fishing on the Crystal Coast: Fall in Love Hook, Line & Sinker


As the fall season rolls in, you may have thoughts of brightly colored leaves, cool crisp air, pumpkin-spiced lattes (Starbucks has them back on the menu as we speak, just FYI), nights by the fire, and other cool-weather inspirations. We love all of those things.

But on North Carolina's Crystal Coast, our fall thoughts turn to the whirl of spinning reels, the creak of the boards as you walk the wooden fishing piers, surf fishing rods propped along the shoreline, the first tug of a tightened line, and the anticipation of catching "the big one" (that hopefully did not get away). Fall on the Crystal Coast is all about fishing.

Inshore fishing can be found in a variety of places on the Crystal Coast, but two fall favorites are pier and surf fishing.

Pier Fishing on the Crystal Coast

Pier Fishing in Atlantic Beach & Emerald Isle

Pier fishing can be done from two local destinations: Oceanana Pier in Atlantic Beach and Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle. Pier fishing is an amazing experience for many reasons. You don't need your own fishing license (a blanket pass is provided by the pier so it's quick and convenient), all of the equipment you need is right there, and you're surrounded by people who share the same passion. Oh, and the views are fabulous.

There's also the historical and maritime significance of piers, many of which are quickly disappearing due to lack of resources, weathering and real-estate development. The heritage of our piers is worth savoring because who knows how long they'll continue to be there. Take advantage of the opportunity while it's still there to be had. It's a great way to cast for King Mackerel, drum, flounder, blues and bass.

Finally, think of your family. Pier fishing is the perfect family-friendly activity. Bonding over the entire experience is a guarantee. Baiting the tackle, tossing the line, the waiting, the watching the hoping; it's all part of the angler's experience. Can you imagine a more exciting moment for your kids when they reel in their very own catch of the day? Think of the proud smile to be captured as they pose holding the prized possession they just reeled in. Memories in the making are happening, for sure. That's the good stuff.

Surf Fishing on the Crystal Coast

Surf fishing is aSurf Fishing on the Crystal Coast of NC great option from Fort Macon to Emerald Isle and everywhere in between. Surf fishing offers a less crowded fishing experience where you can pick your spot in the sand, cast your line, then sit back and relax. Tuck the rod into the sand at your feet and watch the ebb and flow of the Atlantic waters as you await that telltale nibble. Your family can join in the fun by trying their hand at a cast or just waiting to see what's on the other end of your line.

Surf fishing is a great way to cash in on some of the area's best catches including drum, spot, flounder, trout, croaker, blues, pompano, grouperand the occasional shark. Equipment is minimal and it's pretty convenient in the off-season when vehicles are allowed on the beaches. Drive right up and settle in. (Each town is different, so be sure to check their rules and regulations). Town driving permits are required. Emerald Isle offers driving on the beach from September through April, with the exception of a 10-day period around the Easter holiday.

Don't forget to pick up your fishing license locally at the Wal-Mart, EJW or the NC Division of Marine Fisheries all located in Morehead City. You'll need to have it.

Fall Fishing Tournaments

For the avid angler, fall fishing tournaments are a reel draw to our Crystal Coast waters. The Atlantic Beach Saltwater Classic is one of the largest King Mackerel tournaments in the nation. The annuaSurf Fishing in Emerald Islel Flounder Surf Fishing Tournament is sponsored locally and offers an all foot-fishing tournament from Fort Macon to Emerald Isle that includes surf, pier, sound and inlet fishing. The Carolina Redfish Series hosts a series of events on our local shores. The Gordie McAdams Speckled Trout Surf Fishing Tournament is similar to the flounder tournament and is an all foot-fishing event. Finally, the Cape Lookout Albacore Festival spotlights fly-fishing and light tackle.

You can read more about our local Crystal Coast fishing tournament events here. It's the ideal time to plan your Crystal Coast fishing getaway. Stay locally and enjoy all that our area has to offer.

Fall fishing on the Crystal Coast offers endless adventures for you and your family. We know you'll fall in love with it hook, line and sinker. We've set the bait and we're hoping you bite. Our coastal waters will lure you in. Grab your rods, your cooler, your beach gear and get ready for some of the best fishing of your life.