Topsail Island Fishing

Captain Scott Erickson of Saltwater University.com fishing offshore of Topsail Island on the Reel Dream Boat

Topsail Island Fishing Information

Jolly Roger Pier
Seaview Pier 910-328-3171
Surf City Ocean Pier 910-328-3521
Topsail Charters 910-545-3474
East Coast Sports 910-328-1887

North Carolina's long strand of barrier islands lie between the ocean and shallow waters which form estuaries, brackish swamps and mud flats that are nurseries for shrimp, crabs, finfish and shellfish. As one of the top 10 seafood-producing states, North Carolina has more than 4,000 miles of shoreline and 2.5 million acres of marine and estuarine waters. Approximately 6,000 full-time commercial fishermen and 2 million recreational anglers enjoy the state's marine resources.

The southern coast of North Carolina, including Topsail Island, is an angler's paradise. As long as the weather cooperates, an angler can enjoy the hobby 12 months per year. With ocean temperatures ranging from the 70s in the Gulf Stream to the 50s near shore in the winter months, king mackerel, sea bass and tuna can be caught in the ocean, while striped bass can be caught in the rivers. During the spring, summer and fall months, sheepshead, spot, tarpon, red drum, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, whiting, trout, flounder, amberjack, striped bass, croaker, white marlin, blue marlin, sailfish, shark, wahoo and dolphin are available.

Surf Fishing The Topsail Coast

Bringin' home dinner while here on Topsail Island could be easier than you think... skip all the bustle of the piers and try your hand at Surf Fishing. With a small amount of effort and an even smaller amount of expense, anyone can catch a fish from the beach right in front of your property, and you never know what it might be, flounder or blue fish, drum or trout. Take some time to enjoy a little sport with your sun and sand!

Pier Fishing

Each pier in the area has its own personality. Some have become bent and bowed after years of battering by the ocean and hurricanes, some have been rebuilt time and again, and some are completely gone. Most are festooned with odd novelties and memorabilia and proudly display photographs of trophies reeled up from the sea. On busy days, expect to be rubbing elbows with other pier-fishers between Kure and Topsail. Almost all piers charge a fee for fishing permits good for a 24-hour period. Fishing generally costs about $5 per day, and king fishing costs about twice as much. Most piers offer season-fishing permits, tackle shops, snack bars, wet cleaning tables and restrooms. Strollers are usually permitted on the piers free of charge.

Atlantic Bonito caught off North Topsail Beach by Captain Scott Erickson of www.saltwateruniversity.com
  • Jolly Roger Fishing Pier in Topsail Beach

    The Jolly Roger is a pier complex with a convenience store and bait and tackle shop with small restaurant facilities. This 854-foot ocean pier, at the southern end of the island, is open from March through November.

  • Seaview Pier in North Topsail Beach

    The island's newest pier, completed in 1999, is 1,000 feet long. On the north end of the island, the pier shop offers bait and tackle, snack foods, ice and a game room. It's open March through November.

  • Surf City Ocean Pier

    This pier is in the center of downtown Surf City. Completely rebuilt in 1997, it is 937 feet long and is open from mid-March until sometime in December. Spectators are welcome to stroll the pier for a 50-cent charge. Alcohol is not allowed on this pier.


Saltwater fly-fishing is quickly gaining in popularity, probably because it's a type of fishing that requires great skill and a fantastic love of the sport. Neophytes and aficionados of saltwater fly-fishing should take note of the following resources in the Wilmington area and in many tackle shops throughout the region.

Boat Ramps

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission maintains free ramps for pleasure boaters and anglers. The ramps are identified by black-and-white, diamond-shaped Wildlife signs. For information on public boat access, call (919) 733-3391. There is a public boat ramp located in Surf City at the local park and another public ramp located under the high rise bridge in North Topsail Beach.

Fishing Licenses

Saltwater Fishing Licenses are now required in North Carolina. They are available at most tackle shops, including East Coast Sports in Surf City. Familiarize yourself with regulations, which are posted at most piers and marinas.