The 10 Best North Carolina Fishing Piers: Expert Guide

Oak Island Pier North Carolina Fishing Piers

Whether you have never dropped a line into the water or you’re an old fishing pier pro, North Carolina offers an abundance of the best fishing piers that are perfect for anglers of all levels. You can find a wide range of fish species throughout the year, including red and black drum, trout, and flounder, to delicious table fare such as Spanish mackerel and big kings.

Whether you prefer live bait or artificial lures, there is a fishing style and technique to suit your preferences. Cast into deeper waters, do some bottom fishing near the pilings, or target specific structures like oyster beds or sandbars to haul in your next trophy. This guide will cover 10 of the best North Carolina fishing piers around the coastline, including some of my personal favorites.

  1. Oak Island Pier
  2. Surf City Ocean Pier
  3. Jennette’s Pier
  4. Avalon Pier
  5. Oceanana Fishing Pier
  6. Johnnie Mercer’s Pier
  7. Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier
  8. Nags Head Fishing Pier
  9. Rodanthe Pier
  10. Holden Beach Pier

Full Reviews of the 10 Fishing Piers in North Carolina

1. Oak Island Pier

Oak Island Pier North Carolina Fishing Piers

Found in Oak Island, this fishing pier is one of my favorite fishing spots for good-sized pompano, but you can also find large numbers of Spanish and kings, bluefish, red drum, and flounder here. It’s also the tallest pier in the state, measuring more than 27 feet above sea level.

Most of the success I have had at this stunning North Carolina location was using jigging spoons, but I have heard from other Oak Island anglers that get plenty of bites with live worms on a Carolina rig, Gotcha plugs, and more.

This Oak Island fishing pier is very easy to access and has plenty of parking available, making it a great destination for the whole family to come to enjoy a day or two of the best pier fishing. There’s also a tackle shop and other necessary spots right at the pier for your convenience.

2. Surf City Ocean Pier

Surf City Ocean Pier North Carolina Fishing Piers

Located conveniently in Surf City, this is just a fishing pier loaded with sheepshead and trout. You can also find a healthy population of red and black drum, bluefish, flounder, and pompano right off the fishing pier without having to get your feet wet or set off in a boat.

You can use various techniques at the Surf City Ocean Pier and still have great results, such as using live worms on Carolina rigs or popping corks with soft plastic lures purchased from the nearby tackle shop. Even during the busy season, the fish here are willing to strike and won’t usually hesitate to snag a meal.

3. Jennette’s Pier

Jennette's Pier North Carolina Fishing Piers

Located in the Outer Banks right off Nag’s Head, this fishing pier is a true gem for speckled trout and Spanish and king mackerel, which makes it a great spot to come if you’re looking for some fish for the table. Bluefish, red drum, and flounder can also be found here, with sheepshead being extremely common for beginners to land too.

I’ve had the best luck with bottom rigs using both cut bait and artificial lures. The fish here are willing enough to strike at a huge range of different baits and lures, so don’t hesitate to try out something new.

Parking is plentiful, and accessibility onto the fishing pier is great; plus, you have excellent views of the ocean and sunrise when you’re casting lines out in the early mornings. For one of the best fishing piers in North Carolina, complete with pool tables and a game room in the pier house, this one should definitely be on your list to visit.

4. Avalon Pier

Avalon Pier North Carolina Fishing Piers

Located in the Outer Banks in Kill Devil Hills, this Atlantic Coast fishing pier is a very popular local spot with some truly beautiful coastal scenery for photographers and nature lovers. The most common species here are red and black drum and bluefish, but flounder, big Spanish and kings, and trout can be found at times.

Most local North Carolina anglers will use spoons, but a variety of different soft plastic baits as well as live or cut bait, can bring successful results. Don’t be afraid to visit a tackle shop and grab something to experiment with for day or night fishing.

5. Oceanana Fishing Pier

Oceanana Fishing Pier North Carolina Fishing Piers

As the only fishing pier on Atlantic Beach, the Oceanana Pier measures just under 1,000 feet long and gives you an incredible diversity of fish to haul in. You can find sheepshead, black drum, Spanish and king mackerel, bluefish, flounder, pompano, and various types of shark relatively easily. For more ambitious anglers willing to cast further from the end of the fishing pier, you have the chance to land blue marlin, black sea bass, cobia, amberjack, and more.

Fish here will take a wide range of artificial lures, including casting spoons, jigging spoons, Gotcha plugs, and various soft plastics. For live or cut bait, consider sand fleas, bloodworms, squid, shrimp, eel, and small baitfish.

Parking is right next to the start of this North Carolina fishing pier and provides easy access for anyone wanting to spend the day fishing, including those in wheelchairs. Additionally, a nearby pier house restaurant provides an enjoyable place to relax with an oceanfront grill, pool tables, and a game room if you aren’t able to catch your own dinner.

6. Johnnie Mercer’s Pier

Johnnie Mercer's Pier North Carolina Fishing Piers

Located on Wrightsville Beach, the JM Pier is the only concrete pier in the state of North Carolina and one of the best spots for red drum and black drum. You can also find the usual abundant Spanish and kings, pompano, and flounder here, with the occasional albacore, bonito, and tripletail being hauled in.

Anglers will use pretty much any type of lure or bait here with success, but jigging spoons will get the most results on average. This North Carolina beach fishing pier is a very popular and convenient fishing location for anglers of all experience levels, so you’ll have plenty of company when fishing here.

And since it’s the only pier made from concrete, you’ll get a very unique mix of fish that love feeding on the barnacles and other sea life attached to the concrete pier features below. There’s also a massive pier house tackle shop in case you forget anything and don’t want to travel out of Wrightsville Beach to get it.

7. Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier

Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier North Carolina Fishing Piers

Located on the beautiful Bogue Banks Island in Emerald Isle, this fishing pier is a true hotspot for Spanish mackerel and sea mullet. Other common catches are bluefish and pompano, with the occasional flounder, redfish, and mahi mahi.

Carolina rigs do extremely well out here, with shrimp or squid being very well-received cut bait. You can also use live sand fleas, bloodworms, or soft plastics with success. Casting spoons and jigging spoons are also very successful in Emerald Isle, especially when used by experienced anglers.

8. Nags Head Fishing Pier

Nags Head Fishing Pier North Carolina Fishing Piers

Located on the Outer Banks, this Nag’s Head fishing pier is an extremely well-known and popular fishing location with a little bit of everything available here. Spanish mackerel, big kings, blue fish, red drum, black drum, sheepshead, flounder, spotted seatrout, goliath grouper, various sharks, and even larger gamefish can be caught from the fishing pier.

Some of the best rigs to use at Nags Head are quick-sinking bottom rigs, but if you are going for shark or other topwater fish, consider doing some float fishing. Bucktail jigs, casting spoons, and jigging spoons are some of the most popular lures used in this spot, but cut or live shrimp works exceptionally well too.

Parking at the Nags Head pier is convenient to this beautiful fishing pier, and there is plenty of room for dozens of anglers to enjoy a day out in the sunshine catching their favorite fish species.

9. Rodanthe Pier

Rodanthe Pier North Carolina Fishing Piers

From April to September, this Outer Banks fishing pier is the place to be if you want to enjoy a full day of fishing. There are no fishing fees at this wooden pier and no parking fees either unless you plan to visit the beach.

Instead, you’ll have access to a huge number of bluefish, red drum, pompano, mahi mahi, various sharks, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, and many other species depending on the season.

Results are excellent with the simple Carolina rig, but bottom rigs and float fishing do well here too. Casting spoons are always going to get some strikes, as are soft plastics and cut shrimp or squid.

10. Holden Beach Fishing Pier

Holden Beach Pier North Carolina Fishing Piers

Located right on Holden Beach, the Holden Beach fishing pier is one of the top spots for huge numbers of Spanish and King mackerel. It’s not uncommon to see sharks and rays at the Holden Beach fishing pier as well, not to mention huge pompano, mahi mahi, and even some inshore sailfish on occasion.

For lures and bait off the Beach fishing pier, Gotcha plugs are the chosen tackle to use, but a variety of spoon types and sizes do well. You can also try straight bare hook fishing with cut bait or live sand fleas for a quick and easy strike from the schools of mackerel that circle around the fishing pier features and supports.

North Carolina Fishing Pier Tips and Final Thoughts

North Carolina offers some outstanding pier fishing locations for both beginners and experienced anglers alike, many of which include fishing tournaments or host fishing classes. Not to mention the scenery is gorgeous, which makes for the perfect backdrop when you photograph your trophy catch.

If you’re planning on visiting any of the fishing piers in North Carolina on this list, here are some very useful fishing tips to keep in mind during your next fishing adventure:

  • Check local regulations and obtain the necessary fishing license or pier permits
  • Research the size limits for different species
  • Pay attention to tide and weather conditions
  • Bring a variety of tackle options for different fishing conditions
  • Most NC fishing piers have a bait shop for equipment rentals, rod rentals, and to purchase live bait
  • Engage with local anglers and pier staff for valuable tips and insights
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses
  • Don’t forget to visit the pier gift shop for some memorable postcards
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Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village. Jeff is based in Pennsylvania and loves exploring the waterways of that state in pursuit of smallmouth bass, largemouth, panfish and trout.
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