This time of year in Brunswick County, NC you will see wooden shrimp boats, a dying breed, plying the waters of the Atlantic, reapers lowered, trailing an entourage of seagulls like so may white kites. The shrimping is great and so is the fishing. Surf fishermen abound along the shores of all of the South Brunswick Beaches, sitting or standing in the sun, their lines in the water, the soft breezes blowing. They also line the fishing piers including the City Pier in Southport, NC where you can fish the confluence of the Cape Fear River and the Intracoastal Waterway mixed with a bit of the Atlantic Ocean. On Oak Island, NC, you will find two piers from which to choose: Oak Island Pier and Ocean Crest Pier. Each of the three southernmost beaches has it’s own fishing pier: Holden Beach Pier, Ocean Isle Pier and Sunset Beach Pier.
There is nothing like fish fresh from the ocean and if you are lucky enough to own you own boat and be your own captain, you likely have a favorite water access and your favorite fishing spot. If you don’t own a boat, there are many head boats and charter boats available to take you out to their special spots. You can find a few here: Head Boats and Charters.
Then there are the fishing tournaments which run through the fall on the Brunswick County, NC coast where fish are still plentiful. Beginning this Friday you can participate in the Sudan Daredevils Shallotte Point Flounder Tournament in Shallotte, NC. On Wednesday, June 15, the Jolly Mon King Classic will start and will run through Sunday, June 19. There are no excuses – the fish are there – catch ’em!
Fishing and farming have been the two main ways of making a living in Brunswick County, NC for generations. As you can see by the above map from the NC Department of Agriculture, that’s pretty much true of the whole state. Though times have changed, and technology and tourism have become prevalent, we who live in Brunswick County, NC are still blessed with the sight of shrimp boats in the surrounding waters. I remember an old song:
Shrimp boats are a comin’ their sails are in sight
Shrimp boats are a comin there’s dancin’ tonight…
The menhaden industry and fish factories are gone and fishing is now more of a recreation – especially the tournaments. The waters will be teaming with boats this weekend and celebrations will abound on shore for the Annual U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament – October 1st thru 3rd in Southport, NC.
At the south end of Brunswick County, NC, you can spend the day learning about farming with hands on activities, demonstrations and – of all things – pig races. Sound interesting? Just head on down to Calabash, NC to Farm Heritage Day at Indigo Farms beginning at 10 AM where you can even go on an old fashioned hay ride.
For as long as there have been fishing and boats, many of the residents of Brunswick County, NC have made their living from the sea. The area is one of the few places where you can still see wooden shrimp boats trolling the waters for ‘bugs’. They are, however, a dying breed so I suggest that you enjoy them while you can. Naturally, fishing is an extremely popular recreational sport here as well. You will see people fishing from the piers, surf fishing, throwing cast nets for bait and, of course, fishing from boats. The cool thing is that you don’t have to invest in a boat to fish from one. There are a still a number of boat captains who can take you fishing in their charter boats for half or full days. You can go deep sea fishing or in shore fishing with nearly all the equipment you need provided for you. These local captains know exactly where to take you to ensure that you will come home happy and with the biggest fish or the limit of fish that you are allowed to catch. Charter boats usually can carry four or six persons, so you can make it a family affair or go with a group of your friends if you like. There are even a couple of head boats available where you can fish with a large group of other people. To check out a listing of many of the available fishing boats, go to: http://southport.insiderinfo.us/fishing/head-charter-tour-boat/.
Fishing is a way of life for some in the NC Brunswick Islands. We often see the wooden shrimp boats plying the waters off the coast with their entourage of seagulls floating behind like so many kites. For those of us on shore the sight is picturesque and beautiful. For those on the boats it is their work. However, there are a number of recreational fishermen in the area as well. You see them fishing from the piers, surf fishing, casting for bait, fishing from boats and going to sea on charter fishing boats. Then there are the fishing tournaments. These usually begin in the spring and are held nearly every weekend through the fall. Fisherman enter these tournaments for the camaraderie of fishing with others and the hope of winning a prize. Her are a few upcoming tournaments:
This tournament is actually in process as it began on May 9, however, it runs through May 17. You only fish one out of the eight days and the awards ceremony and dinner will be held on Sunday at 1 PM at OIFC Wing & Fish Company – 4764 Main Street, Shallotte, NC . The next tournament to be held at the fishing center will be the Jolly Mon King Classic on June 20 – 22. (http://oceanislebeach.insiderinfo.us/fishing/salt-water-tournament/june/jolly-mon-king-classic/profile/)The Long Bay Artificial Reef Association and the Teaching Youth to Fish Association are both supported by this event.