Best Time of Year for Fishing in Carolina and Kure Beach


Whether you’re an experienced angler or a beginner, the sandy shores and waters of Kure Beach and Carolina Beach in North Carolina provide an excellent destination for your next fishing expedition. The miles of coastline and wide variety of species make this area ideal for inshore and offshore fishing experiences alike. In this extensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make the most of your fishing adventure at Kure Beach and Carolina Beach, NC.

Fishing Seasons and Species

Inshore Fishing

The prime time for inshore fishing at Kure Beach and Carolina Beach is from July to December. During these months, the coastal waters are teeming with a diverse range of species, offering a unique and exciting fishing experience. Some of the popular species found in the area include:

  • Red Drum: Also known as redfish, red drum can be caught in the area’s inshore waters during fall and winter months. These fish are strong fighters, making for an exhilarating angling experience.
  • Speckled Trout: The cooler months, mainly from October to December, are the best time for catching speckled trout. These fish prefer shallow waters near oyster beds, marshes, and tidal creeks.
  • Flounder: Flounder fishing is productive during the summer and fall months, with peak catches typically happening between August and October. Flounder are known to hide in structures such as docks, pilings, and marsh edges.
  • Black Drum: Black Drum are caught year-round, with larger specimens often found in the colder months from December to February. They are commonly found near structure, bridges, and oyster beds.


Other species that can be caught throughout the year include sheepshead, sea mullet, croaker, whiting, and bluefish. Anglers can enjoy a wide range of techniques for inshore fishing, such as casting artificial lures, live bait fishing, fly fishing, and even sight fishing.

Offshore Fishing

Offshore fishing enthusiasts should visit Kure Beach and Carolina Beach between the months of May and September, as this is when many highly sought-after species like mahi mahi, king mackerel, wahoo, and yellowfin tuna can be encountered. Some of the key species to target during the offshore season are:

  • Mahi Mahi: Often called dolphin fish, mahi mahi can be found in the warm waters of the Gulf Stream during the summer months. Trolling with lures or live bait can be very productive.
  • King Mackerel: King mackerel are prevalent from late spring through early fall, with peak migrations occurring in May and September. They are often caught trolling or live bait fishing around artificial reefs and ledges.
  • Wahoo: Wahoo are known for their speed and agility, making them a thrilling catch for anglers. They are typically caught during the summer months while trolling deep waters around the Gulf Stream.
  • Yellowfin Tuna: Best targeted in the Gulf Stream between May and September, yellowfin tuna are a highly sought-after species. Trolling with lures or live bait is a popular technique for catching these strong fighters.


Further offshore trips may also yield catches like sailfish, marlin, amberjack, and grouper. Offshore fishing in the area often involves techniques such as trolling, deep dropping, and jigging.

Indoor Fishing Hotspots

Kure Beach Fishing Pier


Kure Beach Fishing Pier is a local gem that brims with transcendent beauty and an alluring appeal for anglers. Boasting a picturesque landscape and a broad variety of inshore species, the pier represents an irresistible attraction, not just for passionate anglers, but for anyone who appreciates the tranquility and serenity offered by nature’s expansive water bodies.

Kure Beach Fishing Pier, stretching an impressive 712 feet into the Atlantic Ocean, is more than just a favorite local fishing spot—it’s an attractive destination. The pier’s strategic length allows it to extend beyond the shallower waters and closer to the action, offering anglers a unique opportunity to cast their lines deeper into the Atlantic currents. Consequently, it enhances the prospects of reeling in larger catches that typically are out of reach for most shore-based fishing sites.

One of the core advantages of fishing at the pier lies in its ease of access. Families with small children, individuals with mobility constraints, or those unwilling to charter a boat will find the pier an accessible option. Regardless of your level of angling expertise, Kure Beach Fishing Pier provides you with ample facilities to ensure a fun and successful fishing day. These amenities—such as the close-by bait and tackle shop, rod rentals, and convenient restrooms—make your fishing expedition exceptionally comfortable and hassle-free. For a culinary break, the nearby restaurant serves fresh and appetizing local delights.

Fish commonly caught from the pier include flounder, red drum, bluefish, and Spanish mackerel.

Snow’s Cut

Located near the southernmost tip of Pleasure Island, Snow’s Cut is a man-made Intracoastal Waterway channel that expands over numerous miles of peaceful, scenic waterway. These stretches of tranquil inshore waters provide unrivaled access to bountiful fishing grounds, elevating Snow’s Cut to a prominent hotspot for both local and visiting anglers.

Its diverse underwater geography and natural structure, including oyster beds, docks, marshes, and submerged vegetation, make Snow’s Cut an attractive environment for various fish species and a thriving ecosystem on its own. This habitat creates a natural feeding ground that entices a selection of popular inshore species. This hotspot offers anglers the chance to catch species like redfish, flounder, and sheepshead.

Water conditions in Snow’s Cut can vary significantly due to weather, tides, and various other factors, which can impact the species’ feeding patterns. Therefore, understanding these patterns and using suitable bait for each species can significantly increase your chances of a successful fishing day.

Fishing in Snow’s Cut isn’t all about the thrill of catching fish. Anglers also can enjoy the serene beauty of the Cut, where the calm water reflects the Carolina blue skies, bordered by the lush greenery of Pleasure Island. Along with the meditative rhythm of casting and reeling, it’s a treat for any nature lover.

Offshore Fishing Hotspots

Gulf Stream


Situated approximately 60 miles off the coast of Kure Beach and Carolina Beach, the Gulf Stream is a compelling panorama of life, diversity, and majesty. With waters glistening in tones of sparkling azure, and a depth that tickles the imagination, this vast expanse promises some of the most phenomenal deep-sea fishing experiences. The journey to the Gulf Stream may test your endurance due to its considerable distance from the shore, but the potential rewards awaiting you make the voyage utterly worthwhile.

The Gulf Stream, a warm and swift Atlantic Ocean current, creates an almost magical marine environment with its nutrient-rich waters. This concentration of nutrients fosters a thriving food chain that attracts a multitude of fish species. Likened to an underwater Eden, the Gulf Stream is an ecological paradise where an abundance of pelagic fish species flourish, offering a tantalizing trophy for determined anglers.

This hotspot is well-known for its abundance of fish species, including mahi mahi, wahoo, tuna, and marlin. Venturing out to the Gulf Stream can be challenging due to its distance from shore, but the potential rewards make it well worth the effort.

To venture out to the Gulf Stream, chartering a professional fishing boat is most recommendable due to the distance and the challenging nature of the Atlantic waves. These charters come equipped with experienced crews who not only ensure a safe journey but also share valuable fishing knowledge to maximize your catches. Additionally, the specialized equipment onboard provides you with the necessary edge to reel in these worthy adversaries successfully.

As you head back after an action-packed fishing trip, the awe-inspiring spectacle of sunset over the Atlantic, casting an orange-pink hue on the serene waters, presents a fitting end to an unforgettable day in the Gulf Stream.

Artificial Reefs and Wrecks

Stretching along the enchanting coast of Kure Beach and Carolina Beach lies a treasure trove of marine life, intricately ensconced within a complex system of artificial reefs and fascinating shipwrecks. These underwater havens serve as thriving habitats for a multitude of fish species and present a veritable playground for enthusiastic anglers. Popular dive sites such as the historic Liberty Ship Wreck and the enthralling AR-368 offer anglers an opportunity to experience an extraordinary fishing adventure few can match.

The artificial reefs and shipwrecks that pepper these coastal waters are a direct result of carefully planned and sustained conservation efforts. Purpose-built reef systems and the intentional sinking of decommissioned vessels create invaluable marine habitats, fostering a biodiverse underwater ecosystem. These man-made structures soon become encrusted with algae and coral, attracting numerous fascinating fish species and creating optimum fishing conditions for anglers.

Some of the alluring fishing spots off the Kure Beach and Carolina Beach coastlines include:

  • Liberty Ship Wreck: A relic from a bygone era, the sunken Liberty Ship has forged its legacy as an underwater wonder. Serving as a crucial habitat for an array of marine species, the shipwreck ensnares the interest of both recreational divers and recreational fishermen.
  • AR-368: This popular artificial reef system, situated within a convenient distance from shore, draws in an impressive variety of fish, making it an angler’s haven. The AR-368 encompasses an appealing mixture of concrete pipes, repurposed vessels, and other materials configured together to create flourishing microhabitats.


These underwater hotspots, along with several others in the vicinity, invite an irresistible range of coveted fish species. Anglers who dare to cast their lines in these depths are rewarded with a stunning array of potential catches, including:


  • Grouper: This robust and tenacious game fish calls the crevices and ledges of shipwrecks and artificial reefs it’s home. True to their fighting prowess and fierce reputation, Grouper presents a memorable challenge to any angler.
  • Snapper: With a multitude of species like the Red Snapper and Vermilion Snapper, these vibrant fish can be found throughout the artificial reefs and shipwrecks along the coast. Prized for their pleasing taste, Snapper offers a pleasurable mix of exciting angling and culinary delight.
  • Black Seabass: The dark, alluring Black Seabass finds sanctuary amongst the artificial and natural structures submerged in the waters off Kure Beach and Carolina Beach. Their camouflaged bodies and distinct flavor make them an intriguing and rewarding catch.

As you explore the underwater marvels off the coast of Kure Beach and Carolina Beach, you’ll unravel an experience that highlights the remarkable relationship between human-made structures and thriving marine ecosystems

Fishing Charters and Guided Trips

Whether you’re visiting Kure Beach and Carolina Beach for the first time, or you’re a seasoned local looking to explore deeper waters, fishing charters and guided trips provide an excellent way to maximize your fishing experience. These services open up a world of fishing opportunities, with experienced crews guiding you to the best fishing hotspots the region has to offer.

There is an abundant range of options available, with tailor-made trips designed to cater to the specific needs and preferences of both experienced anglers and beginners. The diverse offering ensures that you can target various species throughout the year and experience different styles of fishing, whether it’s inshore, nearshore, or offshore fishing that you prefer.

These charter services typically include all the equipment you would need, including fishing rods, tackle, bait, and fishing licenses. They also provide professional guidance from experienced captains and crews, who share their local knowledge about best practices, ideal fishing spots, and tricks of the trade to ensure you have an enjoyable and successful fishing adventure.

Besides, opting for a guided fishing charter helps promote sustainable fishing as professional charters are typically knowledgeable about local regulations and conservation measures, ensuring you have an enjoyable time on the water while respecting the local marine life and environment.

Local Fishing Rules and Regulations

Before you hit the water, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the local fishing rules and regulations. In North Carolina, all coastal recreational anglers are required to have a valid Coastal Recreational Fishing License (CRFL), which can be obtained online or from authorized agents. Additionally, be sure to review bag and size limits for the fish species you’re targeting. You can find the most up-to-date information on the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries website.

Tips for a Successful Fishing Trip

  • Always check the weather and sea conditions before heading out and dress accordingly.


  • Bring plenty of sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat for sun protection.


  • Pack a small cooler with snacks, drinks, and ice to keep your catch fresh.


  • Be patient and open to trying different techniques or locations.

We at Carolina Beach Realty aim to provide you with a wealth of information for your trip, from the best local foods to try, unique experiences to not miss, and insider tips that will help you make the most out of your stay at Carolina or Kure Beach. Our extensive range of vacation rental properties are carefully managed by our passionate team, who are longtime locals guaranteed to give you the best recommendations and insights. Our properties range from small oceanfront condos to large beachfront homes, aimed to suit the preferences of any traveler. We prioritize local businesses and the local community, making your vacation experience authentic and closer to the heart of Carolina. Our commitment to excellent guest service, close community ties, and in-depth local knowledge make us your first choice for a remarkable and unforgettable beach getaway. Choose Carolina Beach Realty for your next vacation and experience the Carolina Beach or Kure Beach lifestyle like never before.