When it comes to fishing on the shores of North Carolina, there’s something quite special about it. As with all fishing, it’s an exciting and rewarding experience. However, when you can add in some live bait, a few different rigs, and multiple locations – it really kicks things up a notch. Below you will find a rundown of the types of fish you can target, different types of locations, and the rigs you’ll need to make it all possible.

Types of Fish

Using a couple more elaborate fishing rigs and live fish opens you up to a whole new level of angling. Let’s just say you won’t be catching pinfish. The shores of North Carolina offer the following fish:

  • Larger gamefish – Depending on the season, you could find yourself snagging a king mackerel, cobia, false albacore, big bluefish, mahi, bull redfish, or tarpon.
  • Medium or larger sharks
  • Large rays


Another important aspect of North Carolina shore fishing is your location. You shouldn’t expect to cast a few yards offshore to land sharks, rays, or large gamefish. Not to mention, the types of rigs I’ll go over in the next section require specific locations in order to be successful.

You’re normally going to look for places to fish right around the oceans “ledge.” The ledge is anywhere a drop off point to much deeper waters occurs. The easiest way to reach a drop off point is from piers 1000ft or longer.

If you’re not pier fishing, you’ll need to fish from shore by using a drone or a kayak to get your bait out far enough.

Rigs Rundown

Below you’ll find a modified “trolley rig” pictured. This rig works best the higher up you can go from the ocean bottom, at the steepest angle possible. Ideally, you’ll be fishing from an oceanfront balcony several stories up or a long pier which can reach deeper water. It’s by far the simplest, but not the best for species feeding near the surface of the water column.

Image003 (1)

When fishing from a pier, you can also use a classic trolly rig as shown below. The classic trolley rig is certainly a bit more intricate and requires two polls. However, this rig can keep the bait higher in the water column and offers more control over where the bait is placed.

Image006 (2)

If you find yourself fishing in conditions where the wind and/or current is blowing from the west, you can use this simple balloon structure to keep your fish at the top or middle of the water column. It’s important to note this rig will not work if the wind or current is blowing back toward the shore. It’s also not going to be an everyday rig since it can only be used under the right conditions. Conditions aside, you can fish from the shore or piers.

Image008 (2)

Finally, we have come to my favorite rig as of late. This last one is best used for shore fishing with either a drone or kayaking the bait out. I prefer using the drone. It’s a bit more exciting and far quicker than using a kayak! This can work even if the wind/current isn’t ideal. You may notice that it’s basically the simple balloon rig above, but this one adds a weight to anchor the balloon in place. With the balloon anchored, you don’t have to worry as much about the wind or current bringing the rig back to shore before you’re ready.

Image009 (1)