Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Going fishing? Check out what’s biting off Cape Fear piers

Johnnie Mercers Pier, anglers say they're getting a steady bite of chopper blues and false albacore
Johnnie Mercer’s Pier has seen a steady bite of chopper blues and false albacore. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)

WILMINGTON — The piers that dot the Carolina shores can be an anglers dream, but what to fish, and where, can be tough to know. Port City Daily has compiled a list of who’s catching what in our “Weekly Pier Fishing Report.”


Kure Beach Fishing Pier

Chopper Blue Fish at Johnnie Mercers Pier
A big chopper bluefish caught off Johnnie Mercers Pier. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)

Woody Murphy of the Kure Beach pier is reporting a continued solid bite of  “chopper” (big) bluefish. These chopper blues are averaging in the “8-10 lb. range”, and are biting everything from “Gotcha!” plugs to cut bait. Cut bait refers to the practice of using cut pieces of dead fish as bait.

Murphy reports the first king mackerel of the season has been caught, weighing in at 22.44 lbs. The king took a live bluefish fished on a “king rig” off the end of the pier.

According to the Avalon Fishing Pier website, “a king rig is a two rod system used with live bait to catch bigger fish off a pier, namely king mackerel and cobia.”

According to Murphy, there is still a good bite of small false albacore in the early morning hours. These fish are being caught on live bait fished on king rigs.

Kure Beach Fishing Pier is open April 1-Nov. 30, and costs $8 per person with a one rod limit. King fishing is open from May 15-Oct. 1 from 5 a.m to sunset, and costs $16 per person with a 3 rod limit.

Shark fishing is open June 1-Sept. 15 from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m., and costs $16 per person with a 3 rod limit.

Kure Beach Pier is located at 100 Atlantic Ave., Kure Beach, NC 28449. For information contact (910)458-5524, or visit its website at

Carolina Beach Fishing Pier

The Carolina Beach Fishing Pier is reporting a strong bluefish bite, with the occasional chopper blue thrown in.

Fisherman are reporting a good bite of Virginia mullet, or “whiting” as they’re known mixed in as well.

Carolina Beach Fishing Pier is located at 1800 Carolina Beach Ave., N. Carolina Beach, NC 28428. The Pier is open 24 hours a day, pricing for fishing varies. For more information call (910) 458-5518, or visit its Facebook page.

Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier

Joey Jacobs Albacore
Joey Jacobs landed a 17 lb. false albacore off of Johnnie Mercers Pier this morning. Pictured: Drew Cohn (L), Joey Jacobs (C), Mike Kruse (R) and Buck Fisher (Back) (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)

Local angler Drew Cohn from Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier in Wrightsville Beach is reporting a great bite this week, with the majority of the action coming in the early morning hours. Chopper blues are being caught consistently in the 7-11 lb. range, with a few larger fish being mixed in.

chopper blue off johnnie mercers pier
Pier anglers Drew Cohn and Jamie Neal with a nice chopper blue. (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)

Cohn said that “if you’re out here by 7 a.m. with a ‘Gotcha!’ plug, the chopper blues will be biting.” In addition to the chopper bluefish, local angler Joey Jacobs landed a big false albacore this morning, weighing in at 17 lbs.

“The strong wind coming from the southwest always brings on a good bite in the spring,” Cohn said, “in the fall you want the northwest wind to blow.”

Rumor has it the king fish are beginning to show up. Mercer’s pier angler Bob Fish told Port City Daily a friend of his hooked up on a king just off Topsail Beach, and said “he caught a couple more right after that.” Angler Mike Kruse reports anglers trolling within 10 miles of Wrightsville Beach have reported king fish being caught as well.

Virginia mullet continue being caught by anglers fishing along the bottom.

Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier is located at 23 E Salisbury St, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480 and is open 24 hours a day. Typically the cost $8 per rod per day to fish on the pier. For king fishing, it is $24 per day for a three rod setup.

For more information call (910) 256-2743, or visit its Facebook page.

Surf City Ocean Pier

Jackson Lore of the Surf City Pier in Topsail Beach is reporting a solid catch of chopper bluefish this week, with action being reported at all hours of the day. Lore said the bait of choice has been “Gotcha!” plugs.

In addition to bluefish, Lore also reports a good bite of Virginia mullet throughout the day.

A 'Gotcha!' plug like this was used to land a 15.5 lb false albacore this week
‘Gotcha!’ plugs like these have been anglers go to baits for chopper blues off area piers (Port City Daily photo/CORY MANNION)

The Surf City Ocean Pier is located at 112 South Shore Dr, Surf City, NC 28445. The pier is open 24 hours a day from mid March – Dec. 1, and costs $10 per rod to fish for anglers over 11 years of age. For children 10 and under, the cost is $5 per rod.

For king fishing, the cost is $30 per day.

For information call (910)328-3521, or visit the website at

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