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Fishing on Topsail Island

Topsail Island is a fishing paradise, with the warm Gulf Stream waters and the cooler temperatures of the ICW. In addition to the pier and canal, there are also estuaries and mudflats that make Topsail Island an angler`s realm. For an angler, the bounty is endless. Some of the fishing opportunities on Topsail Island include sheepshead, spot, tarpon, red drum, bluefish, whiting, trout, striped bass, marlins, and even flounder. If you venture into the canals and marshes, you will likely find flounder and red drum. Even in the winter months, anglers can expect to find mackerel, sea bass, tuna, and striped bass.

Fishing from the piers on Topsail Island

Fishing on the pier can be a great opportunity for family fishing or if you are trying out your reel and line for the first time. Each town on Topsail Island includes a fishing pier. One of the benefits of fishing at a pier is that you don`t have to purchase a fishing license. Most of the fishing piers are covered by a blanket license. Some restaurants on the pier will even help you cook your catch, rounding out a great day of fishing. The most popular piers for fishing on Topsail Island include the Surf City Ocean Pier, Jolly Roger Pier at Topsail Beach, and the North Topsail Beach Seaview Pier.

Surf fishing on Topsail Island

Surf fishing has two benefits. First and foremost, you don`t have to deal with the bustle of the pier. Secondly, you get to spend a day at the beach. If you surf fish, you will need a special type of rod. Surf rods are longer and more durable than your traditional fishing rod. Here are some of the different types of fish that you can expect to catch throughout the year if you are surf fishing:

  • Winter: When fishing in the winter, the most common types of fish include speckled trout, red drum, albacore, and bluefish.

  • Spring: Spring offers the greatest diversity of fish, including king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, cobia, flounder, pompano, sheepshead, blue marlin, white marlin, and mahi-mahi.

  • Summer: During the busiest time of year on Topsail, you can find king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, red drum, albacore, and bluefish. 

  • Fall: The fall months bring black drum, speckled trout, and red drum when you are fishing inland.

Charter fishing

Charter fishing is a great opportunity if you are new to fishing, want an experienced guide, and crave access to some of the best fishing on Topsail Island. Charter fishing guides are often the best anglers, who can teach you different fishing techniques. When you go with a charter fishing experience, you also often get access to high-tech equipment and gear, which increases the likelihood of you catching fish. Another benefit of the charter experience is that you can focus on the fishing experience, instead of the logistics of planning and managing the trip, helping you have a fun and fulfilling experience for your family.

When is the best time of day to fish on Topsail Island?

During the spring, summer, and fall, people find that the most productive times of day to fish are in the early morning and late afternoon. At these times, the water is just the right temperature for optimal fishing. When the water heats up, the fish move to deeper waters for the cooler temperatures.

Sight fishing for species like cobia and red drum will be most productive in the middle of the day. These fish tend to come to shallower waters and the sunlight allows for greater visibility. 

Fishing at night on Topsail Island

Night fishing has several benefits. It`s an experience that you won`t find on your regular non-vacation fishing trips, and it`s an opportunity to surf and pier fish when the crowds are smaller. During the regular season, Surf City Pier is open 24/7, from spring to fall. Fishing from the surf will prove a little bit more productive. At night, fish tend to move closer to shore, browsing the beach for their next meal. You might not have to cast as far into the surf, as you would with daytime fishing. Fishing in areas with large waves is discouraged for safety reasons.

Fishing licenses for Topsail Island fishing

Do you need a fishing license for Topsail Island? If you are fishing on your own, you need to get a license. You can purchase a fishing license at most tackle shops and outdoor retailers on Topsail Island. Any person in your group who is older than sixteen will need to have a fishing license. 

If you are pier fishing or charter fishing, you do not need to have a license. Most charters and every pier on Topsail Island has blanket licenses. If you do not want to purchase a fishing license, you should try pier or charter fishing.

What type of equipment do you need for surf fishing?

If you come to Topsail Island with the intent of fishing off the beach, you likely have some experience with surf fishing. The equipment you might find useful for a day of surf fishing includes:

  • Sand spikes to hold your rod in the sand.

  • A good selection of fishing rods and reels, at least two rods with different setups.

  • A selection of bait and an aerated bait bucket.

  • Surf fishing rigs, whether you make them on your own or have a good setup from your outdoor retailer.

  • A knife for cutting up your catch and pliers for pulling hooks and lures from fish.

For reels, you will want something in the 6000 to 8000 size. These will help you catch species like bluefish. These will give you up to 500 yards of line to reel in your big catch.

For bait, most guides in the area will recommend shrimp, squid, finger mullet, minnows, and herring as their preferred live bait. 

Choosing Topsail Island for your vacation destination for fishing

If you are looking for a great fishing destination, you should choose Topsail Island. Lewis Realty Associates, Inc. has some of the best rentals if you are looking for a place to stay. If your party is small, we have condo rentals with access to the surf. You might also opt for one of our canal rentals if you plan on doing some inland fishing.

We also have a good reputation with the outdoor retailers on Topsail Island. You can easily find the lines, reels, and other fishing supplies you need to make the most out of your fishing day. 

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