fishing off the pier on the crystal coast

Strolling Along Bogue Inlet Pier

fishing off the pier on the crystal coast

Strolling Along Bogue Inlet Pier

The storm has come and gone in our area with some in North Carolina still struggling to regain power or even worse. After spending the better half of a week preparing for the impending hurricane, I decided to take the opportunity to venture out of the office in search of blue skies and a calm ocean. The damage from the storm was minimal at best along with our beachfront communities. People are taking advantage of the cool temperatures that were ushered in by clearing yards of debris. Thankfully, most island residents and visitors have power, water, and wifi restored and minimal storm damage.

I decided on the Bogue Inlet Pier and was pleasantly surprised to discover the shop and pier were fully operational. The water, calm, the skies blue, and the catch plenty! Temperatures started in the mid-50’s this morning and aren’t supposed to be higher than the mid to upper 60’s by the afternoon. A little windy but nothing a light jacket couldn’t fix. Strolling along and hanging from time to time off the side to snap pictures of people shelling, surf fishing, walking their dogs, I could see that many folks were just as happy as me to be outside enjoying this beautiful fall day. I strolled along watching people casting out their lines and reeling in mostly Bluefish and Puppy Drum and loading their coolers with their fresh catch. A passerby alerted me that there were dolphins swimming near the pier as well. What a great day to be outside! There were probably 10 dolphins scattered about the area. I walked all the way to the end and up to the crow’s nest for a better view and just sat and marveled. Here are the pictures from my outing, enjoy!

Live Music Returns to The AB Circle

Live Music Returns to The AB Circle

3rd Annual Beach Music Festival and 1st Annual Crystal Coast Music Festival

The Atlantic Beach Circle was known for its live music for decades. The Pavilion in between 1957-1995, Chevyz in the 70’s-80’s, Jolly Knave, Lisa’s, and Big Surf to name a few.  All these establishments brought the jam!  So many musical acts have performed at these spots that we call ‘The Circle’.  Some were coastal favorites others national and international musicians that graced this small coastal town with reggae, shag, rock to heavy metal.  As I explored the Facebook page that immortalize these places; by sharing photos of the glory days on the circle; I realized the huge impact it had on past generations.  The sunny days spent on the sand; dancing and socializing were the norm.  For many years the Circle was silent during a period of redevelopment.  All things come to an end then begin again! The Circle has begun to welcome back the crowds of new beach goers. This year we welcome back the 3rd Annual AB Beach Music Festival and the 1st (and hopefully not last) Annual Crystal Coast Music Festival to the sands of our coast!

The AB Beach Music festival brought the music back to AB in 2014, drawing huge crowds for its 1st annual event! Returning for its 3rd year, May 21st from 11am-6pm on the boardwalk at the Circle, 105 Atlantic Blvd. Admission is free to the public but pets and glass containers are prohibited. People returned to the circle to reminisce of days gone by. Due to the tremendous success of this event, The AB Beach Music festival will return this year with such acts as crowd favorites Holiday Band and Band of Oz.


Emcee John Moore  |  Holiday Band  |  Band of Oz  |  Fantastic Shakers  |  Mighty Saints of Soul

This year the Circle will host the Crystal Coast Music Festival, offering popular 90’s pop rock band Third-Eye Blind along with up and coming Robert Delong an LA based performer. Judah & The Lion an American folk band from Nashville and opening act Amasa Hines which infuses a diverse range of Soul, Afro-Beat, Psychedelic, Blues and Indie Rock. If you’re interested in listening to bands, search them on YouTube and give a listen. (I was pleasantly surprised by Amasa Hines! I could totally see myself at this event.) Sales have began through Ticketmaster or by phone at 800-745-3000 with gates opening at 3pm. Advance admission ticket price is$18 with upgrade VIP tickets available for $75 (This includes preferred entry, viewing area, exclusive cash bar and restrooms) Day-of General Admission goes to $23. If you want more information go to their website to see more.

Seashell Guide on the North Carolina coast

Shelling on the Crystal Coast

The beach at sunrise takes on a different personality, with quiet peaceful sounds, beachcombers searching for the perfect shells, the warming sun shining on small traces of sea glass and shells rolling in the surf just waiting to be found. If you time the tide right – you can find beautiful shells and sea treasures. Spending the morning walking through the cool wet sand and listening to the faint bird chirps through the roar of the ocean to some seems like a fantasy. For the lucky vacationers to the Crystal Coast or our permanent residents that call our beaches home – this is part of their morning routine. The towns along Bogue Banks, knows for their shells, all offer pristine beaches and lush coastline for those early birds looking to hit the beach before the island wakens. Beach-goers that will be joining you in the early morning hours are usually those hunting for shells!

What are the best spots to hunt for shells? Collectors say that Hammocks Beach State Park and Cape Lookout National Seashore are two of the top shelling beaches in our area! If hitting the beach at low tide is not your style, you can visit the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort, NC where they have over 1,000 seashells on display.

Scotch Bonnet
This is an important find – it’s our state shell! Look for the trademark pattern and a curled outer edge.

Mole Crabs (or Sand Fleas)
Dig into the sand just at the water line and you’re sure to find some of these guys. You can scoop up a handful of sand with one in it and watch them move quickly to hide. They move and burrow backwards into the sand! They make great bait for pompano and sheepshead.

Coquina Clams
These tiny shells can sometimes be found still paired! Try stirring up the sand in a tidepool and watching quietly. Many times you’ll find a live one and see it burrow itself back down into the sand. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, and can be very tiny. They are also known as “Angel’s Wings.”

Sand Dollars
Venturing out to barrier islands and the Cape Lookout Seashore will reward more sand dollar finds! You may find some still “alive” with a velvety brownish-green exterior. Put those ones back, only collect ones that are sun-bleached white.

These fan-shaped beauties come in a variety of patterns in bright oranges, pinks and browns. You can sometimes find a pair, but it’s more rare!

Whelk Shells and Egg Cases
You’ll find three varieties here: the Lightening Whelk, the Knobbed Whelk and the Channel Whelk. Their egg cases are long, spriral chains of pods, and are a neat find!

Sea Glass
These rare pieces of glass are naturally weathered by the churning ocean and sand, giving the glass a “frosted” look with smooth edges. Blue and purple pieces are some of the rarest finds!

These shells are easy to find since they dwell in the shallow waters. They are easily recognizable since they have a polished look, they also come in various patterns and sizes.

Seashell Finds from the Crystal Coast

    Come Fish on the Crystal Coast

    Come fish on the Crystal Coast!

    – Clarissa G., marketing coordinator

    A season for everything.

    September, October and November

    Surf fishermen can expect to catch Red Drum, Flounder, Pompano, Sea Mullet and Bluefish. Live bait is best for catching Red Drum and Flounder. Shrimp and sand fleas are fantastic for Pompano and Mullet. Larger fish such as Spanish and King Mackerel can be caught from the pier during September and as we move through October Bluefish, Black Drum and the famous Spots are present and plentiful. November brings Speckled Trout and Puppy Drum to the surf and pier. Bottom fishing offers a variety of fish throughout the fall season including Puppy Drum, Black Drum, Bluefish, Puffer, Pompano and Sea Mullet. Shrimp bait for bottom fishing is the ever popular bait.

    December, January and February

    Fishing begins to slow down as the water becomes cooler. But when the winter is mild and the days are sunny, fish can still be caught. Fishing off the surf can bring in Sea Mullet and Puffer fish using shrimp bait. Red Drum can be found near the beachfront and inlets with Gulp bait or lures. Speckled Trout are mainly found in creeks and Jason says he has found they love Gulp Jerk Shads and Zoom Flakes.

    March through August

    Sea Mullet and Puffer fish start moving back in during the spring once the temperature starts warming up. During the early part of Spring, Skates are caught by using double hooked shrimp in the surf.  Summer is a great time of the year for fishing and as the heat progresses there is always something different to be caught. During the early part of summer, surf and pier fishers can expect to land smaller Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish and maybe a Flounder or two. Marie and Jason have the best luck with Red Drums in the marsh during the early summer and in the White Oak River near oyster bars using live bait. Mid-Summer offers Sea Mullet and small Flounder as well as possibly catching Tarpon with live bait from the pier.

    Moving through late-Summer and into early Fall we see the Spanish Mackerel, more Bluefish, larger Flounder and Speckled Trout moving in. Using Gotcha Plugs and diamond jigs for small Spanish Mackerel and Bluefish is Jason’s recommendation, although Bluefish will bite at Shrimp bait as well! Summer is a great time of the year for bottom fishing. There is a nice variety throughout the season that includes Sea Mullet, Croakers, Pompano, Black Sea Bass, Gray Trout and Gag Grouper.

    One of the whales and a pod of dolphins that made an appearance during our visit to the pier

    We ventured out on the EI pier
    for a live stream video!

    Check out the full video here –>

    Cast a line off a pier or in the surf

    Fishing is a popular pastime for the coastal locals and vacationers alike. From the White Oak River, creeks and inlets to the surf there is opportunity and fun to be had. No matter the time of the year it is there is always a fish to be caught; so bring your fishing rods and you just might land a big one! The most popular time of the year for fishing is during the fall months. The water temperature is starting to cool down and days are pleasant.  You can fish in the surf, off a pier or on a charter.  Just get your fishing license and pick up tackle and bait from the tackle shop, seafood market or grocery.

    Going out to sea

    For the Crystal Coast, charter fishing is not only a leisure sport. With the bevy of tournaments held here, our waters are a playground to many sport fishers around the world. Underwater beauties such as Giant Blue Fin Tuna, King Mackerel, Marlin, Sailfish and Wahoo are popular trophies. Smaller fish that are caught in deeper waters include Red Snapper, Grouper, Triggerfish and Sea Bass.  There are many charter services in the eastern end of the county that will offer half day, full day and specialty fishing charters. Specialty charters can include Sportsfishing, Shark Fishing and even Mahi-Mahi.

    Find what’s running!

      Got bait? Come fish on the Crystal Coast!

      Dolphin Sighting

      Dolphin Sighting in Morehead City

      While inhaling our coconut and shrimp curry soup from Sanitary we moseyed our way out to their deck that overlooks the waterfront like we do every year. But this time we got a treat. TWO DOLPHINS playing in the sunset. That was my first dolphin sighting so close. What a special night!

      My husband and I were lucky enough to rent out the little one to some friends and have a date night in Morehead City. Now this wasn’t just any night, it was the annual Bites and Blues and we scored tickets. Now let me explain this to you. Bites and Blues is an amazing foodie paradise that happens every year. Local eateries come together and station themselves about downtown Morehead City NC and prepare small bites for hundreds of ticket holder.

      You ticket is literally a map of all the restaurants that will be in attendance equipped with check boxes to mark where you have been. You also have a best bite of the night vote ticket stub at the bottom.

      Restaurants in participation this year include places like:

      Fat Fellas (reigning champs)

      Tight Lines — mahi bite with lump crab

      Happy Cakes (mmmmmmm……Oreo explosion- an Oreo inside a cookies and cream cupcake with cookies and cream frosting)

      Promise Land — Brisket

      Sanitary — coconut and shrimp curry

      Rudy Ducks — seviche

      Red Fish Grill — glazed mahi

      Beaufort Olive Oil — the most creative salad I’ve ever tasted

      Dank Burrito — jalapeno hush puppies

      The Boathouse — smoked brisket with collard greens and homemade barbecue sauce

      La Perla –(a new authentic spanish cuisine joint tucked away on 20th st. they had mufungo, which my husband and I hadn’t had since our honeymoon. It is Yuca, plantains and meaty goodness. A must try.)

      Southern Bread Bakery (also a new establishment- very tasty macaroons)

      And so many more places.

      Guys we were waddling back to our car by the end of the night. And this is no big feat. Derrick is a NC State football alum that can put you to shame in a food eating competition. Needless to say we got our money’s worth.

      To the right:

      We are devouring our Fat Fellas Plates

      a rib, hush puppy, amazing mash potatoes and southern sweet tea to complete the bite 🙂

      = 2 happy campers

      Itinerary Full of History

      Those that treasure the past will have a better charted future on the Crystal Coast



      Day 1 Plan a trip to Fort Macon! You can enjoy this best with a tour guide straight from the past.

      Day 2 Drop by The History Place for the morning or enjoy lunch and history with Rodney Kemp. Next, visit Infusion Cafe, a museum with a twist!

      Day 3 Rent a metal detector through Island Essentials to explore what may be hidden below our sandy shores. Your booty awaits!

      Day 4 Explore the Beaufort historic site, the old burying grounds and the Maritime Museum!

      Day 5 Take a ferry to Cape Lookout and climb the Diamond Lady for a breathtaking view!


      Drinks at the Beach Itinerary


      Anything But beach – Have a drink or two and find what grown ups do on the Crystal Coast


      Day 1 Sip on a cup of Joe from 4J’s – complete with specialty flavor biscotti, like Almond Joy. Head to Morehead City for delicious food, cold drinks and to catch a game.

      Day 2 Grab drinks at Harrika’s in Cape Carteret and watch a live band. Later, make your way to Morehead Waterfront to dance the night away at Jack’s!

      Day 3 Work up a thirst with Swansboro Paddle Boarding and keep the spirits rolling with a game of mini golf at MacDaddy’s.

      Day 4 Go clamming and partake in an Eco Tour with Crystal Coast Eco Tours.

      Day 5 BYOB! Take a painting class with Wine and Design at the Islander and various locations in Morehead City.

      Rainy Day at the Beach Itinerary


      What to do when it rains at the beach? There is still lots to do! In the chance of not so sunny skies, here are some ways to keep it fun

      Day 1 Spend the day at the aquarium visiting Nimbus the Albino Sea Turtle, the playful otters and all the sea life in the 306,000 gallon Living Shipwreck.

      Day 2 Flex your competitive muscles at MacDaddy’s where you can prove who the champion of the family really is.

      Day 3 Explore Beaufort – find unique places that line the water like Beaufort Linen Company & Beaufort Pet Provisions!

      Day 4 Have photos printed at your closest corner store to get a head start on your vacation scrapbook!

      Day 5 Head to the nearest seafood market and load up on goods for a seafood boil. Don’t forget the newspaper and Old Bay!


      Itinerary for Kids

      High ResIMG_3390

      Keep the kids occupied – A schedule to wear out the most enthusiastic kids (of any age) on the Crystal Coast

      Day 1 Catch an all-star Marlins Baseball game in Morehead City at Big Rock Park and let the kids meet Finn the Marlin Mascot!


      Day 2 Go Geocaching around town – it’s like a giant treasure hunt! Find the map at Then grab some pizza at Pizza Inn in Emerald Isle.


      Day 3 Have the little ones pick out awesome new beach gear or adopt a hermit crab at Wings. Don’t forget your shark’s tooth necklace coupon!


      Day 4 Paint and glaze a pottery souvenir at Pottery 2 Paint By the Sea in Emerald Isle. Then create a delicious masterpiece at Which Wich!


      Day 5 Ride a Banana Boat at impressive speeds with the whole gang with Water Sports Rentals.

      Turtle Nesting on Emerald Isle

      Turtle Nesting on Emerald Isle

      As a young girl, I participated in the Emerald Isle Sea Turtle Program and walked a portion of our beach located in Atlantic Beach, NC. (linking back to city home searches)   I would walk the beach for a few miles looking for tracks. I was never lucky enough to find any but another girl my age had found a track and a nest with her mom. I attended the hatching two months later. The small group I was with decided to give the baby turtles a head start by digging out the hole, and soon the baby Loggerhead Sea Turtles began to hatch! There were around 65-70 regular hatchlings and about 5 were albino sea turtles. It was a life-changing moment to see. Good luck baby turtles! Since then, I make sure people are well educated on turtles and their habits and you can too! 

      Each year along the Crystal Coast, hundreds of turtles return home to nest. In the summer months of May to October, dozens of nests are found along the beautiful beaches of Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Emerald Isle, Cape Lookout, and Indian Beach. The locals and our beach towns take pride in our wildlife and most importantly our sea turtles! In recent years, we have taken more action to protect our native turtles and their nests. 

      About Our Turtles

      We are home to a few common species of sea turtles including loggerheads, green, and leather-backs all of which are endangered. Each turtle will lay around 100 eggs each season! After a 60 day incubation, the hatchlings will fiercely dig their way out of the sand and maneuver past obstacles while heading for the ocean. Sadly, with development on the beaches, our sea turtles face difficulties.

      What Can You Do?

      There are a few things that you can do to help our turtles: 

      1. Filling in holes in the sand – This way turtles won’t get stuck coming in and out of the water.
      2. Clean up litter! – Turtles will often mistake trash bags for food or get stuck.
      3. Keep beach gear off the beach at night! – Nighttime is usually the best time for turtles to lay their nests and for hatchlings to head home!
      4. Stay back from nests – Stay at least 30 feet away from nests! This will help keep them undamaged and unharmed!
      5. Report any tracks or nests! – Reporting any signs of sea turtles will tremendously help the turtles and keep them safe.
      6. Turn off outside lights – Turning off outside lights at night will help turtles see better. Oftentimes turtles and hatchlings will mistake house lights or road lights for the moon and not make it back to the water.

      Local Programs

      Locals and beach towns have created programs to protect sea turtles. With these programs, volunteers will walk all 21 miles of our white sandy beaches searching for turtle tracks and nests! If a nest is found experts will put up a barrier to mark for a watch. When the eggs are ready to hatch volunteers will come out and make sure the turtles make it to the water safely. If the eggs do not hatch, experts will dig it up and assess the nest.

      Protect the Turtles

      Sea turtles are a precious piece of our beach! As people who love the ocean, we should do everything we can to help protect these beautiful creatures. Remember to clean up after yourself and just be respectful and mindful of the beaches and the animals that have made it their home!

       Visit our local Sea Turtle Patrol Program to follow our local sea turtle progress and find local events.