Wrightsville Beach Intracoastal Fishing Tips

by Tatyana Ivanov
Flounder is a popular catch at Wrightsville Beach's portion of the Intracoastal Waterway.

Flounder is a popular catch at Wrightsville Beach's portion of the Intracoastal Waterway.

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From saltwater fish along the beach to freshwater fish along the area's estuaries, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, has a variety of options for anglers of all skills. Wrightsville Beach provides a great opportunity for fishermen because of its location on a small strip between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean. When fishing the Intracoastal Waterway, you have the opportunity to catch both fresh and saltwater fish.

Types of Fish

Fishing the Intracoastal Waterway in Wrightsville Beach provides anglers with the opportunity to catch red drum, flounder, black drum, mackerel and croaker. Red and black drum are bottom-feeding fish found throughout the Intracoastal Waterway in both North and South Carolina. Flounder are also bottom-feeders, and are found in the Intracoastal Waterway's saltwater estuaries. Spanish and king mackarel travel in schools along the waterway, and can be found in Wrightsville Beach. Croakers are saltwater and freshwater fish that feed on small invertebrates at the bottom of the Intracoastal.


North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has one Intracoastal Waterway location for Wrightsville Beach anglers. Just below the bridge off U.S. Highway 74-76, anglers can launch boats or fish from the shore. Once a boat is launched, anglers can pick a location best suited for the type of fish they're aiming for. For instance, flounder fishermen can drift into the estuaries of the Intracoastal to find an abundance of these bottom-feeders. Shore fishing is most successful for anglers after the red and black drum fish. Since these fish are frequently found in shallow water, they can be easily caught from shore.


Wrightsville Beach's fishing season along the Intracoastal Waterway goes from spring until fall. Anglers will have better luck catching specific fish during certain seasons. Flounder are particularly abundant during the height of summer, unlike the Spanish and king mackerel, whose numbers diminish after the beginning of the spring season. It is beneficial for mackerel fisherman to cast off at dawn or dusk; this is when these fish are most active. Anglers looking for red and black drum should fish late in summer or early in fall, so juvenile drums, which it is illegal to catch, can grow to their legal full size -- up to 30 pounds.

Bait and Tackle

Angling with bait and tackle specific to the type of fish you are trying to take will help you bring in a greater catch when fishing Wrightsville Beach's portion of the Intracoastal Waterway. For instance, Spanish and king mackerel are successfully fished using live bait fish, such as menhaden. The bait fish is trolled or drifted under a float. Flounders also prefer a live bait common to shallow areas, such as mud minnows. Since black and red drum feed on crustaceans, blue crab is excellent bait for them. The bait can be threaded onto a 5/0 to 9/0 hook for this fish.

Photo Credits

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