View All Posts

Jul 12

Go Fish!

Posted on July 12, 2018 at 12:00 PM by Trisha Ferguson

3 Things to know about fishing near Jacksonville

Whether you’re new to fishing or a pro angler, the Jacksonville area offers plenty of opportunities for quality fishing. Here’s what you need to know to ensure a memorable outing:

DSC_9236_FISHING_LR-Onslow County Tourism

1. You can choose from saltwater and freshwater fishing.

Want to fish from the beach or pier? The area has plenty of options ranging from the Riverwalk Crossing Park in Jacksonville next to Riverwalk Marina to the piers of Topsail Island. If you’re ready to get on the water, engage one of the pro guides in the area to lead you straight to the fish. A guided fishing trip is a smart option for fishing enthusiasts of all levels. If you haven’t spent much time on the water, consider an inshore excursion which will keep you closer to shore and reduce your likelihood of feeling seasick.


For saltwater fishing, you can expect to find speckled trout, flounder, red drum, bluefish, sea mullet (whiting), spot, croaker, and Spanish mackerel. Go out in a larger boat and you can fish for cobia, mahi, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, grey trout, flounder, black sea bass and grouper.

Jacksonville Fishing Map

While Jacksonville and Onslow County sit on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, there are plenty of freshwater fishing opportunities as well. The New River and its tributaries eventually transition from brackish (a mix of seawater and fresh water) to freshwater, says captain Junior Sinclair of Fishbones Inshore Fishing Charters. “We catch largemouth bass, blue gill, crappie, catfish and pike inshore,” he explains. “I love chasing the red drum from deep in the creeks and tributaries through the marsh grass and into the surf.”

2. Fishing is fun for all ages and levels of experience.

Fishing is a family-friendly activity perfect for all ages. “We cater to everyone—from two to ninety-two,” says captain Ricky Kellum, aka The Speckled Specialist. “It’s a great family activity and alternative to video games. Kids can fish just as well as a seasoned pro.”


Fishing can also be an inclusive activity for individuals with physical limitations. Captain Kellum and captain Sinclair have experience successfully hosting fishing outings for clients ranging from terminal cancer patients to paraplegics. Sinclair recently hosted two trips sponsored by the Foundation for Exceptional Warriors


3. You can fish nearly year-round.

Peak fishing season along the Carolina coast is April through November, yet you can fish throughout the year. “Winter fishing can be great—a bad weather day might be a great day to fish,” says Sinclair. Changes in barometric pressure often cause fish to become active, he explains.


Ready, Set, Fish

What to know before you go:

  • Don’t forget your license. You can get a fishing license at retailers such as Wal Mart and Eastern Outfitters, as well as online. If you’re going on a charter, ask your guide if they will provide your license or if you need to secure it beforehand.
  • Know the weather. Watch the weather and be prepared to adjust your plans accordingly. Plan your trip with these Sunrise-Sunset tables
  • Be sure to ask about military discounts!


Other Helpful Links:

North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries 

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission 

Boating access areas

Neuse River Bait & Tackle

Fishing Booker