Sportfishing Charter in Morehead City, NC


Introduction to Sportfishing Charters

Are you ready to reel in the big ones? If you’re a fishing enthusiast looking for an adventure-packed excursion, Morehead City, NC, should be at the top of your list. Nestled along the Crystal Coast, this charming town offers some of the best sportfishing opportunities on the East Coast. Every June from  about the second to third Saturday Morehead City plays host to the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament in which boats compete for millions of dollars in top prizes. But from April to November there’s something for novice anglers to seasoned pros in Morehead City’s bountiful waters.

What is a Sportfishing Charter?

Sportfishing charter involves hiring a specialized fishing vessel and crew for a day of angling excitement. These charters cater to individuals or groups seeking thrilling fishing experiences in prime locations like Morehead City.

Why Morehead City, NC is a prime destination?

Morehead City boasts a unique combination of rich marine biodiversity and access to deep-sea fishing grounds. The Crystal Coast sits at the bottom end of the Outer Banks of North Carolina and is home to North Carolina’s second largest seaport. Its proximity to the Gulf Stream and the curvature of the coastline brings in warm nutrient rich waters which ensures a diverse range of fish species year-round, making it a hotspot for anglers worldwide.

Choosing the Right Charter

Before embarking on your fishing expedition, it’s essential to select the right charter for your needs. The time of year will determine the fish that are available to target, along with the general location that the charter will travel. Near shore charters can target various bottom feeding reef species and offer trolling for Spanish mackerel, bluefish, Bonito, and albacore. These are half-day to ¾ day trips and are less expensive. While offshore charters are targeting the pelagic game fish such as Mahi mahi, Wahoo, Tuna, and King Mackerel. They also could specifically target Sailfish and Marlin. These are all-day trips lasting 10-12 hours generally 5am-5pm.

Considering budget and group size

Determine your budget and group size to narrow down your charter options. Whether you’re traveling solo, with a group of friends, or on a family vacation there are charters available to accommodate various party sizes and budgets. Offshore trips for pelagic gamefish are the most expensive. Maybe, Dad and/or Mom like to fish but what about the kids? There are charters that can combine near shore fishing with a little beach time at the Cape Lookout Lighthouse for the whole family!

Assessing amenities and equipment

Consider the amenities and equipment provided by each charter. From state-of-the-art fishing gear to comfortable onboard facilities, choose a charter that offers the amenities you desire for a memorable fishing experience. The larger the boat and the more creature comforts will generally increase the price of your charter.

The Thrill of Sportfishing in Morehead City

Once you’ve selected your charter, get ready to experience the thrill of sportfishing in Morehead City’s pristine waters.

Abundance of fish species

Morehead City is renowned for its abundant fish populations, including mahi-mahi, tuna, marlin, sailfish, and more. Whether you’re targeting trophy fish or seeking a delicious dinner catch, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to reel in the big ones.

Unique fishing spots

Explore a variety of unique fishing spots in the waters off Morehead City and along the Crystal Coast, from shallow to deep-sea reefs, wrecks, and ledges. Each location offers its own challenges and rewards, ensuring an unforgettable fishing adventure.

Experienced guides

Benefit from the expertise of experienced fishing guides who know the local waters like the back of their hand. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned angler, knowledgeable guides will help enhance your fishing skills and increase your chances of success.

Preparing for Your Trip

Before setting sail, it’s essential to make sure you’re prepared for a day on the water. Weather determines the ocean conditions and whether it is safe or practical to fish that day. Captains should provide you go/no go communications by 5 or 6pm on the day before your trip.

Packing essentials

Pack sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and comfortable clothing suitable for the weather conditions. Safe, comfortable footwear is essential for a day on the water which means close-toed, non-slip sneakers are best. Don’t forget to bring snacks and drinks to stay hydrated and energized throughout the day. Remember to bring motion or sea-sickness pills along. It’s your decision to return to the dock early, but don’t expect and refund.

Understanding regulations

Familiarize yourself with fishing regulations and licensing requirements in North Carolina. Ensure that you have the necessary permits and adhere to catch limits and size restrictions to promote sustainable fishing practices. Your charter captain and crew should have the knowledge of what’s legal to keep and how the fish should be handled.

Safety precautions

Prioritize safety by wearing a life jacket at all times while on deck. Listen to the crew’s safety briefing and follow their instructions regarding emergency procedures and onboard protocols.

Day of the Charter

The day has finally arrived for your sportfishing adventure in Morehead City. Here’s what to expect on the day of your charter.

Meeting the crew

Arrive at the marina early to meet the captain and crew of your chosen charter. They’ll provide you with a warm welcome and ensure that you’re prepared for a successful day of fishing.

Boarding the boat

Step aboard the fishing vessel and familiarize yourself with its layout and amenities. Find a comfortable spot on deck and stow your belongings in designated storage areas.

Briefing on safety and procedures

Listen attentively as the crew provides a safety briefing and outlines the day’s fishing itinerary. They’ll explain essential procedures, such as how to operate fishing equipment and what to do in case of emergencies.

On the Water

With preparations complete, it’s time to set sail and begin your sportfishing adventure.

Techniques for sportfishing

Learn various fishing techniques from the crew, including trolling, bottom fishing, and kite fishing. Experiment with different baits and lures to attract your target species and reel in the catch of a lifetime.

Patience and perseverance

Fishing requires patience and perseverance, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a bite right away. Enjoy the serenity of being on the water and savor the anticipation of a potential catch.

Enjoying the experience

Take in the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean as you wait for the fish to bite. Whether you’re swapping fishing stories with fellow anglers or enjoying quiet moments of reflection, cherish every moment of your sportfishing experience in Morehead City.

Catching Fish

When the fish start biting, it’s time to spring into action and reel in your catch.

Common catches in Morehead City

Expect to encounter a wide variety of fish species. Pelagic gamefish such as Mahi-mahi or Dorado Tuna, Wahoo, Sailfish, and marlin (white and blue). Bottom feeding species grouper, black seabass, vermillion snapper, grunts, trigger fish, and amberjack. Each catch presents its own set of challenges and rewards, adding to the excitement of your fishing adventure.

Tips for successful fishing

Listen to the guidance of the crew and follow their tips for successful fishing. Stay alert and be prepared to react quickly when you feel a bite on your line, as timing is crucial when it comes to landing your catch.

Celebrating your catch

Celebrate your fishing success as you reel in your prized catch. Take photos to commemorate the moment and relish the feeling of accomplishment as you add another fish to your tally.

Beyond Fishing

While fishing is undoubtedly the main attraction, there’s more to enjoy during your charter trip in Morehead City.

Wildlife sightings

Keep an eye out for dolphins, sea turtles, and other marine wildlife as you cruise along the coast. These encounters add an extra element of excitement to your fishing adventure and provide unforgettable memories.

Scenic views

Marvel at the stunning coastal scenery of Morehead City and the Crystal Coast, from picturesque sunrises to vibrant sunsets. Take advantage of photo opportunities to capture the natural beauty of the Crystal Coast from a unique perspective. For many trips both offshore and near shore be sure to be on the lookout for the Cape Lookout Lighthouse seen on the portside (left) on the way out.

Relaxation on the water

Unwind and enjoy the tranquility of being out on the water, far from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Whether you’re basking in the sunshine or listening to the soothing sounds of the ocean, cherish the moments of relaxation during your charter trip.

Returning to Shore

As your charter trip comes to an end, reflect on the unforgettable experiences you’ve had on the water.

Generally, and unless other arrangements are made in advance a half-day trip returns to the dock at 11:30am, a ¾ day trip at 2pm, and the full-day trip at 5pm.

Cleaning and filleting your catch

Upon returning to shore, the crew will assist with cleaning and filleting your catch, ensuring that you can enjoy your fresh fish for dinner. Say goodbye to your newfound fishing friends and thank them for a memorable day on the water.



Tipping the crew

Show your appreciation for the hard work and dedication of the crew by tipping them for their exceptional service. A gratuity of 15-20% of the charter price is customary and greatly appreciated.

Reflecting on the experience

Take a moment to reflect on your sportfishing charter experience in Morehead City. Whether you landed the big one or simply enjoyed being out on the water, cherish the memories and start planning your next fishing adventure.

Booking Your Next Charter

Once you’ve experienced the thrill of sportfishing in Morehead City, you’ll be eager to book your next charter trip.

Benefits of repeat trips

Booking repeat trips with the same charter company offers numerous benefits, including familiarity with the crew, personalized service, and insider knowledge of the best fishing spots.

Planning future adventures

Start planning your future fishing adventures in Morehead City, whether it’s targeting specific fish species or exploring new fishing grounds along the Crystal Coast. With so much to discover, the possibilities are endless.

Building relationships with charters

Build lasting relationships with charter companies in Morehead City by staying in touch and sharing your feedback. Your continued support helps sustain the local fishing industry and ensures that future anglers can enjoy the same incredible experiences.


In conclusion, a sportfishing charter in Morehead City, NC, offers an unparalleled fishing experience for anglers of all skill levels. With abundant fish populations, experienced guides, and breathtaking coastal scenery, Morehead City is truly a paradise for fishing enthusiasts.


What types of fish can I expect to catch in Morehead City?

Morehead City is home to a diverse range of fish species. Pelagic fish including mahi-mahi, tuna, bonito, marlin, sailfish, wahoo, and Spanish and king mackerel. Bottom feeding reef dwellers such as grouper, grunts, black sea bass, snapper, trigger fish, amberjack, and many more.

Do I need a fishing license for a sportfishing charter?

Check with your charter, IF YES – YOU CAN DO SO HERE…

How long does a typical charter trip last?

Charter trips in Morehead City typically last between 4 and 12 hours, depending on the type of charter you choose and your preferences.

Can I bring my own fishing gear?

Yes, you are welcome to bring your own fishing gear if you prefer. However, most charter companies provide all necessary fishing equipment as part of the charter package.

### What happens if the weather is bad on the day of my charter?

If the weather is unfavorable on the day of your charter, the captain may reschedule your trip for another day or offer a full refund. Your safety and comfort are always the top priorities.


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