topsail fishing report

Top Sail Fishing Report: What’s Biting and Where to Catch Them

The Best Fishing Spots in Topsail Island

Topsail Island Fishing Spots

Topsail Island is a dream come true for those who love fishing. It is among the best fishing destinations on the East Coast of the USA. The island offers numerous fishing spots where you can cast your line and wait for the catch of the day. Here are some of the best fishing spots in Topsail Island that you should consider visiting:

1. Topsail Beach Fishing Pier: This pier is one of the most popular fishing spots on the island. It is open year-round and offers a wide range of fish species. The pier is over 900 feet long, making it a great spot for both experienced and beginner fishermen. The pier also offers rod rentals, bait, and tackle.

2. Surf City Ocean Pier: This pier is another must-visit spot for fishing enthusiasts. The pier is over 850 feet long and features a full-service tackle shop, bait, and rentals. The pier is also open year-round and offers access to a wide range of fish species.

3. New River Inlet: This is a great spot for fishing from a boat. The New River Inlet connects the Intracoastal Waterway to the Atlantic Ocean and is known for its abundance of fish species, including red drum, flounder, black drum, and speckled trout.

4. Soundside Park: This spot is perfect for families who want to enjoy fishing together. Soundside Park is a public park that offers both fishing and crabbing. The park is equipped with a fishing dock and a crabbing pier, making it easy for families to enjoy the day together while catching dinner.

5. Topsail Sound: Topsail Sound is a shallow, brackish water area that is ideal for kayaking and fishing. The sound is known for its abundance of red drum, flounder, and speckled trout. Kayaking in the sound is also a great way to explore the area’s wildlife and scenery.

No matter which fishing spot you choose in Topsail Island, you are sure to have an unforgettable experience. Remember to follow the rules and regulations, get a fishing license, and pack your fishing gear for the best experience. Happy fishing!

Seasons & Conditions

Topsail Fishing Seasons

Topsail Island has a wealth of fishing opportunities that change with the seasons. During specific months, certain fish species take precedence over others. Tempered by the Atlantic Ocean, the island’s weather patterns also impact fishing conditions dramatically.

Spring – From March to May, Topsail Island fishing takes off with the warming of the waters. Anglers can expect to catch blues, gray trout, and red drum. As the temperature of the ocean starts to rise, fishermen can expect to catch larger fish like cobia, king mackerel, and Spanish mackerel near the end of the spring season. With numerous opportunities for inshore and offshore fishing, spring is a favorite season for many anglers.

Summer – Summer brings the arrival of torpedoes of the surf, the mighty red drum. They grow up to 40 inches, making for a challenging catch. Alongside red drum, anglers can also fish for flounder inshore and wahoo, tuna, and mahi-mahi offshore. The warm waters provide the perfect conditions for a productive fishing experience.

Fall – As the waters start to cool down, the season for spotted seatrout and flounder begins. The speckled trout population increases in the sound and inlets, while flounder moves towards deeper waters. The fall also brings about the “run” of false albacore, when thousands of these fast, tireless, and elusive fish school together along Topsail Island’s beaches.

Winter – Winter presents its unique challenges to anglers. The temperatures are freezing, and surf temperatures average around 45 degrees Fahrenheit. However, skilled anglers can still catch bluefish and stripers while shore fishing. Offshore, wahoo and tuna become available to fish for, making winter a fantastic season for deep-sea fishing enthusiasts.

The fishing conditions on Topsail Island are dependent on many factors, including the season, weather, and time of day. These are aspects that anglers need to take into account when planning their fishing trips. Constantly monitoring changes in tides and currents can also help improve fishing chances.

Inshore Fishing on Topsail Island

Inshore Fishing on Topsail Island

Inshore fishing on Topsail Island is one of the best ways to catch a variety of fish species, including redfish, flounder, trout, and sheepshead. Inshore fishing allows you to fish close to the coast, which is perfect for anglers who prefer to stay closer to shore and are looking for an easier fishing experience. It’s also a great option for families with children, as it provides an opportunity for a fun day out on the water without having to venture too far away from the shore.

To catch inshore fish, it’s best to use live bait or lures that imitate shrimp and baitfish. Many anglers find success using popping corks, which make a loud noise when jerked in the water, mimicking the sound of feeding fish. Inshore fishing is also popular because it’s accessible year-round, meaning anglers can enjoy this activity regardless of the season.

Fishing near the Jetties

Fishing near the Jetties

Fishing near the jetties on Topsail Island is another great location for anglers looking to catch a variety of fish species, including Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, flounder, and red drum. The jetties provide fish with a natural shelter, which makes them the perfect location for anglers to try their luck. Located at the north end of the island, the jetties are a popular spot for both seasoned anglers and beginners alike.

To catch fish near the jetties, it’s best to use bait that mimics what the fish are feeding on. Live bait, such as small baitfish or shrimp, can be effective. Lures that look like baitfish or shrimp can also bring in the fish. Fishing near the jetties is popular during the warmer months when the water is teeming with activity.

Fishing on the Sound Side

Fishing on the Sound Side

Fishing on the sound side of Topsail Island is an excellent location for anglers looking to catch fish in a calmer environment. This area is typically less crowded, providing anglers with the space they need to enjoy fishing without feeling crowded or rushed. The sound is home to species such as speckled trout, flounder, and black drum.

To catch fish on the sound side, it’s best to use live bait or lures that imitate what the fish are feeding on. Artificial lures that look like small baitfish and shrimp are often effective in the sound. The sound side is a great location to fish year-round as it provides a quieter and more peaceful setting compared to other locations on the island.

Fishing on Incoming Tide

Fishing on Incoming Tide

Fishing during the incoming tide is another great way to catch a variety of fish species on Topsail Island. During the incoming tide, baitfish and crustaceans move closer to shore, drawing in larger fish. This time of day is often when fish are the most active, making it an ideal time for anglers to drop a line in the water.

To catch fish during the incoming tide, it’s best to use bait or lures that mimic what the fish are feeding on. This could include live bait or lures that look like small baitfish or shrimp. Anglers should also pay close attention to the water and try to cast their line in an area where baitfish are present.

Regardless of where you choose to fish on Topsail Island, you’re sure to have a memorable experience. With a variety of fish species and locations to choose from, there’s something for everyone on Topsail Island.

Types of bait and lures for successful fishing in Topsail Island

Types of bait and lures for successful fishing in Topsail Island

Located in the southeastern coast of North Carolina, Topsail Island is a hub for fishing enthusiasts who wish to engage in an exhilarating fishing experience. The stretches of Atlantic beaches, creeks, coastline, and piers offer plenty of scope for trying out different fishing tactics with suitable bait and lures.

The right choice of bait and lure is essential to entice the fish, and you can catch different types of fish on Topsail Island with the right combination. Many anglers recommend using live bait, for example, shrimp or sand crabs, which is found locally and can be fished using the appropriate techniques. The bait should be active, resistant, and wiggly to attract the fish.

Here are some popular types of bait and lures recommended by experienced anglers:

Live bait

Live bait

Live bait is often considered the most effective way to lure the fish of your choice. There are several types of live bait that you can use on Topsail Island, including shrimp, sand crabs, live and dead squid, and various types of fishlike mullets and bluefish. Many anglers prefer live shrimp as it is versatile, readily accessible, and appealing. Depending on the season and the fish you aim to catch, you can choose the type of live bait that attracts them.

Soft baits

Soft baits

Soft baits are lures that are designed to mimic baitfish that look like worms, grubs, or insects. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and they feature a supple body that also makes them realistic. Some of the popular soft baits used in Topsail Island include jerk baits, curly tail grubs, and swimbaits. These baits work best when paired with a jig head and a slow and steady retrieve. Soft baits, when fished properly, can be deadly for any fish found around Topsail Island.



Jigs are lures made of a lead sinker that is attached to a hook. The hook is usually dressed with soft plastic baits or natural bait like shrimp or cut bait. Jigs are versatile and can be used in both freshwater and saltwater environments, making them very popular in Topsail Island. They are particularly effective in fishing for flounder, trout, and drum. Jigs work best when fished slowly, making them an ideal choice for bottom fishing.

Topwater plugs

Topwater plugs

Topwater plugs are lures designed to replicate the movement of baitfish on the surface, which makes them an effective choice when targeting fish like bluefish, striped bass, and redfish. They are usually made of wood, plastic, or foam and are designed to create a lot of commotion in the water to attract fish. Topwater plugs work best when retrieved with a jerking motion, making them an excellent choice for anglers looking for a more challenging fishing experience.

Overall, selecting the right bait and lure combination is essential when fishing in Topsail Island. With the right setup and techniques, you can catch a variety of fish, from flounder and trout to redfish and bluefish. Test out different combinations and techniques to find what works for you, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of bait and lures. Happy fishing!

Challenges and Opportunities

Topsail Fishing Report Challenges and Opportunities

As a fisherman, you need to have a certain level of knowledge and expertise to succeed. Fishing on Topsail Island is no different; it comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities. One of the major challenges you’ll face here is the strong currents. These currents can make it difficult to catch fish, especially if you’re not experienced enough.

However, with the right kind of education and preparation, these challenges could be turned into opportunities. By having a good guide who knows the currents on Topsail Island, you can learn how to navigate and position yourself in these waters.

Another way to deal with the strong currents is by understanding the different fish habitats that exist on the island. Different types of fish are attracted to different areas, so if you know where to find them, you can increase your chances of having a successful fishing trip.

Using the right bait is another crucial aspect of fishing on Topsail Island. You need to have knowledge about the different types of fish and their eating habits to choose the best bait. This requires patience and attention to detail, but it can pay off big time when you hook that big catch.

Despite the challenges, the rewards of fishing on Topsail Island are equally great. In addition to the thrill of catching fish, you get to spend time in the beautiful natural surroundings and experience the serenity of the sea. There’s nothing like the feeling of reeling in a fish while listening to the sound of waves crashing on the shore.

In conclusion, fishing on Topsail Island is an adventure that comes with its fair share of challenges and opportunities. With the right experience and preparation, you can turn these challenges into opportunities and have an unforgettable fishing experience. Remember to respect the island and its wildlife while you’re out there, and always leave it as you found it for future generations to enjoy.

Regulation and License

Fishing License

As fishing is one of the most popular activities on Topsail Island, regulations are put in place to ensure the sustainability of fish populations and the safety of both anglers and fish. One of the most important regulations that anglers need to follow is obtaining a fishing license.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) requires anglers aged 16 and older to have a valid fishing license to fish on Topsail Island. Those who are exempted from needing a license include residents registered in the North Carolina Disabled Veteran’s License, Native Americans with tribal licenses, and individuals fishing in private ponds.

Fishing licenses can be easily purchased online through the NCWRC website. There are various types of licenses available, including a 10-day, annual, and lifetime license, all of which come at different prices and fees. Additionally, one-day licenses can be obtained from local bait and tackle shops or marinas for those who are visiting Topsail Island for a short amount of time.

It is essential to be aware of the regulations regarding the size and catch limit of certain species when fishing on Topsail Island. For example, the minimum size limit for flounder is 15 inches, while the minimum size limit for spotted sea trout is 14 inches. Anglers must also follow the daily bag limit, which is the maximum number of fish they are allowed to catch in a day.

Overall, following regulations and obtaining a fishing license ensures the sustainability of Topsail Island’s fish populations and enables visitors to enjoy their fishing experience without any legal complications.

The Best Time to Fish on Topsail Island

Best Time to Fish on Topsail Island

Fishing on Topsail Island is possible all year round. But for the best fishing experience, it is important to understand the seasonal changes that affect different fish species. In general, spring and fall are the best times to fish on Topsail Island. In the spring, fish move towards the shorelines to feed before the summer heat sets in. During the fall, fish move back to the shorelines to feed before migrating to warmer waters for the winter months.

Summer can be a difficult time to fish on Topsail Island as the water becomes warmer, and fish move towards the deeper waters.

Winter fishing on Topsail Island can be challenging due to the colder weather, but it is still possible to catch fish. Some fish species that are active during the winter months include red drum, speckled trout, and bluefish.

While there is no best time to fish on Topsail Island, understanding the seasonal patterns of different fish species can increase your chances of catching the fish you want.

The Best Fishing Spots on Topsail Island

Best Fishing Spots on Topsail Island

There are many great fishing spots on Topsail Island, but some are better than others. The beach on Topsail Island is a great place to fish for a variety of fish species, including flounder, pompano, and red drum. The sound side of the island is also a great fishing spot for trout, flounder, and redfish. If you are looking for a more secluded fishing spot, try fishing at the end of one of the island’s many piers or jetties.

In addition to these popular fishing spots, there are also many private charter boats available for hire. These boats can take you to some of the best fishing spots on Topsail Island, including offshore fishing for larger fish like tuna and marlin.

No matter where you decide to fish on Topsail Island, make sure to follow local fishing regulations and obtain the necessary licenses before casting your line.

The Best Tackle for Fishing on Topsail Island

Best Tackle for Fishing on Topsail Island

The right equipment is essential for a successful fishing trip on Topsail Island. The type of tackle you need will depend on the fish species you are targeting and the location you plan to fish. In general, a fishing rod and reel with a test line of around 10-20 pounds should be sufficient for most fishing on the island.

If you plan to fish for more substantial fish species like tuna and marlin, heavy-duty rods and reels with braided line may be necessary.

When it comes to choosing the right bait, live bait is your best option for most fish species on Topsail Island. Some popular live baits include shrimp, blue crab, and mullet. Artificial lures like jigs and spoons can also be effective for catching fish on Topsail Island.

Regardless of the type of gear you choose, always make sure to check your equipment before heading out to the water. This can help you avoid any issues that could ruin your fishing trip.

Fishing Tips for Beginners on Topsail Island

Fishing Tips for Beginners on Topsail Island

For beginners, fishing on Topsail Island can be an overwhelming experience. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your fishing trip:

1. Research the different fish species that are native to Topsail Island and their typical behavior patterns.

2. Talk to locals or fishing guides about the best fishing spots, tackle, and bait for the specific species you want to catch.

3. Be patient. Fishing can be a slow process, and it may take some time before you catch anything.

4. Always wear sunscreen and bring enough water to stay hydrated during your fishing trip.

5. Follow local fishing regulations and obtain the necessary licenses before casting your line.

6. Pack a first-aid kit in case of any injuries while on your fishing trip.

7. Do not fish alone, especially if you are new to fishing or fishing on Topsail Island for the first time.

The Best Fish Species to Catch on Topsail Island

Best Fish Species to Catch on Topsail Island

Topsail Island is home to a wide variety of fish species, making it an excellent fishing destination for anglers of all skill levels. Some of the most popular fish species to catch on Topsail Island include:

1. Red Drum – Known for their aggressive fighting style, red drum is a popular game fish on Topsail Island. They are typically caught using live bait like shrimp or crab.

2. Flounder – This flatfish is a popular target for anglers on Topsail Island. They are typically found on the ocean floor and are caught using live bait or artificial lures.

3. Speckled Trout – These fish are known for their flavorful meat and can be found in the sound, intracoastal waterway, and creeks around Topsail Island.

4. Bluefish – These fish have a distinctive blue color and are known for their sharp teeth. They are typically caught using lures or cut bait.

5. Spanish Mackerel – This fish is a popular target for anglers on Topsail Island during the summer months. They can be caught using lures or live bait like shrimp or mullet.

6. King Mackerel – These larger fish are typically caught offshore and are known for their speed and power.

7. Tuna – For the experienced angler, offshore fishing for tuna is a thrilling experience. These fish can grow to be quite large and require heavy-duty tackle.

No matter what fish species you are hoping to catch on Topsail Island, make sure to do your research and consult with locals or fishing guides about the best tactics and equipment for each specific species.

Fishing Regulations on Topsail Island

Fishing Regulations on Topsail Island

Before embarking on your fishing trip to Topsail Island, it is essential to be aware of the fishing regulations in the area. Some of the most important regulations to keep in mind include:

1. All anglers over the age of 16 must have a valid North Carolina fishing license.

2. There are specific size and creel limits for certain fish species, including flounder, red drum, and speckled trout. Make sure to check these limits before fishing.

3. Some areas of the island may be closed to fishing at certain times or require special permits. Be sure to check with the local authorities before fishing in any restricted areas.

4. Trash and debris must be disposed of properly when fishing on Topsail Island. Littering can result in fines and damage to the island’s ecosystem.

5. Observe catch and release practices whenever possible. This helps to ensure that fish populations remain healthy and sustainable for future generations of anglers.

By following these fishing regulations, you can help protect the island’s delicate ecosystem and ensure a safe and enjoyable fishing experience for yourself and others.


Topsail Fishing Report

Topsail Island fishing is a fun and enjoyable experience for all, whether you are an experienced angler or a beginner. The island boasts a diverse range of fish species, making it an excellent destination for any fishing enthusiast. However, it’s essential to do your research, choose the right gear and bait, and understand the seasonal patterns of different fish species before heading out.

Remember to also follow local fishing regulations, maintain good fishing practices, and respect the island’s delicate ecosystem. By doing so, you can help preserve the beauty of Topsail Island for generations of anglers to come.

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