Are you interested in spearfishing off the beautiful coast of North Carolina? If you are, keep reading on to find out about the 10 best places to spearfish and types of fish you will come across. I will also give you an overview of the spearfishing regulations you need to know when spearfishing in North Carolina.
The North Carolina Coastline stretches for 322 miles along the Atlantic. That’s not counting almost another 12,000 miles of estuarine coastline. The result is North Carolina has a plethora of fantastic spots to fish and to spearfish.
There’s a lot to do along the North Carolina coast from exploring its beautiful sandy beaches to all the beach towns in between, but what I love to do is to go spearfishing in North Carolina. It is truly a fantastic experience.
You’re here because you have never explored spearfishing in North Carolina or you’ve already love spearfishing in this great state and hopefully I can provide you information on a couple of spots you’ve never been to. So, let’s do it and take a look at the top 10 spearfishing spots off the shore and by boat that North Carolina has to offer.
North Carolina Spearfishing Regulations
Generally speaking when spearfishing in North Carolina the same rules and regulations apply as they do when fishing with a pole or line recreationally (license needed). That would be for types of fish, limits, and size. Check the latest on Red Drum due to ever-changing regulations (see link below). Here are a few examples (always check the latest regulations):
King Mackerel – 24″ Fork Length, 3 Per Day
Spanish Mackerel – 12″ Fork Length, 15 Per Day
Tuna – Bigeye and Yellowfin – 27″ Curved Fork Length, (Yellowfin Tuna, 3 Per Day)
Wahoo – Size None, 2 Per Day
Tarpon – Size None, 1 Per Day
Bluefish – Size None, 3 Per Day
Cobia – Click Link
Best Places To Spearfish
Let’s start off with Oregon Inlet. Oregon Inlet is the northernmost inlet situated on the Outer Banks. It separates Hatteras Island from Bodie Island. Like many inlets along the North Carolina Coast, Oregon Inlet was formed by a Hurricane (1846). The inlet is fantastic for shore and boat spearfishing.
Find your spot off the beach and just go and explore, you won’t be disappointed. Also, check out the shipwreck The Oriental as mentioned below under Outer Banks – Ship Wrecks.
A word of caution, Oregon Inlet can get very busy with fishing charters and boating in general up and down the waterways, so always be hyper careful and look out for boats and people…boating, kayaking, and swimming.
Masenboro Inlet and Wrightville Beach are in the same general area, but go explore the different spots within the area. Slack tide is generally the best time to go. Good times!
Wrightsville Beach has beautiful blue water with a fantastic beach just east of Wilmington (Google Map). Go out to the jetty and have a great time. A great place to spearfish. Last time I was there we took a couple of jet ski along the jetty and worked the rocks. If you’re interested in a spearfishing tournament click here.
Outer Banks – Ship Wrecks
Are you Interested in spearfishing some shipwrecks? If you are North Carolina can’t be beaten. There are an estimated to be about 2,500 – 3,000 wrecks off the NC coast.
Many of these shipwrecks can be reached by just swimming off the beach, by kayak, or of course by boat. Here’s a couple that you will enjoy. Wrecks are always a great spot to find fish. On a side note always check conditions (tides, surf, etc.), recreational swimmers and divers when spearfishing. Always side on caution.
- The Triangle Wrecks – The Triangle Wrecks are located in the Kill Devil Hills area (Google Map) close to 2nd Street. Roughly about 125 yards off the beach you will come to the start of two shipwrecks – The Kyzickes and Carl Gerhard. The wrecks take on the appearance of a triangle, hence the name…The Triangle Wrecks.
- The Huron – The Huron is located in the Nags Head area (GoogleMap), close to Blanden Street beach access (near Milepost 11/12). In the summer it’s typically marked with buoys about 180 – 220 yards offshore. The depth to the wreck is about 25′ or so.
- The Winks Wreck – Sits in about 18 – 20′ of water approximately 115 yards off the shore. It’s located in the Kitty Hawk area near Milepost 2, just off Luke Street (Google Map). It’s named after the Winks store located just off the beach road at Eckner Street.
- The Oriental – The Oriental is located directly across Pea Island Visitor Center, Google Map (3 miles south of Basnight Bridge). The wreck is about 80 – 110 yards offshore in about 25′ of water.
Hatteras Island is one of the barrier islands off the North Carolina coast. It’s absolutely beautiful with sandy beaches that go on and on. You can spearfish right off the beaches or I would recommend taking a boat out to the Gulf Stream and go after big pelagic fish. The last time I was out there we got are limits on wahoo and king mackerel. Also, expect to see mahi-mahi, grouper, snappers, sheepshead, and amberjack. The shipwrecks are awesome spots to spearfish out there as I mention above.
Frying Pan Shoals Tower
The tower is a former lighthouse situated at the end of the Frying Pan Shoals. The tower is 45 miles south of Wrightsville Beach N.C. It was formerly a U.S. Coastguard Frying Pan Light Station, it is no longer. There are some fantastic shoals in the range of 30 – 40′ under the tower.
The waters underneath the tower and the surrounding ledges are a spearo’s dream. Get ready to spear some fish, including some big pelagic fish. If you get a chance to spearfish this spot…do it! You won’t be disappointed. Last time I was there I got a couple of nice wahoos and a king mackerel.
Bald Head Island
You will love Bald Head Island. Bald Head is located just NW of Cape Fear and east of the Cape Fear River. If you get a chance to use a boat expect to come across tuna, mackerel, blue fish, and grouper. There are multiple charters, so take your pick.
You will enjoy spearfishing around the Wilmington area. I recommend taking a boat out to hit the many spots in the area.
For those of you that would like to change it up, a little, Meg Ledge is really cool. That’s right Meg is short for Megalodon. The giant prehistoric shark that apparently reached lengths of 65′ and weighed 50 tons plus. Megs used to shed their giant teeth and you can find them on the ocean floor at “Meg Ledge”. Scuba gear is needed for this adventure. In some spots, you will need to go past 100′ to find the giant teeth. The time I went I was purely hunting for teeth, but I saw plenty of nice sized fish in these waters, so bring your speargun if you desire. My buddy has done just that and pulled in a couple of nice king mackerel and lobster.
Oak Island is well known for its King and Spanish mackerel. If you have access to a boat or want to go out on a charter you will enjoy Oak Island. I’ve never gone off the beach here.
Some recommended gear suggestions are below. Here’s also a link to my Recommended Gear page where you can find other useful gear when spearfishing.
Here are a few of my top recommendations, I found super useful when spearfishing:
Having the opportunity to spearfish off the North Carolina coast is an experience that I will never forget and can’t wait to go back…it’s been two years!
You really have it all. From beach dives, wreck dives, and boat dives, it’s a spearo’s dream. Plus when you’re not going after fish the beaches and boating are a lot of fun.
Always check the daily conditions, have a dive plan, and take a buddy. Always side with caution. Spearfishing is all about having a good time and respecting Mother Nature. Now go out and discover the beauty of North Carolina.