Fishing the North Carolina Beaches

These are just a guideline for how we fish. Trips are customizable and different methods may be employed on the same day as conditions and activity deem necessary. Please let me know what you would like to catch so that I can provide the most productive and rewarding trip for you. I strive to give my clients a fun and exciting day on the water and share in your excitement at catching any and all fish. Beginners and youngsters are welcomed and ENCOURAGED! We can gear a trip towards anyone and really look foward to guiding you to a trip full of memories!

Tight lines,
Captain Jim Sabella

On the PLAN 9 we offer a variety of fishing trips:

Bottom Fishing:

We work the offshore structure, ledges, reefs, wrecks, and live bottom areas off of Topsail Beach and Wrightsville Beach for tasty bottom dwellers. We fish with cut bait, live bait, and jigs for species like grouper, snapper, sea bass, and flounder. Ask about our deep jigging trips for the ultimate bottom fishing experience!

Live Bait Fishing:

Fishing from Topsail Inlet to Southport this light tackle fishing is very exciting with explosive action and screaming drags. The predominate catch is king mackerel and if you are looking for a trophy sized one this is the way that produces the larger ones. Using live menhaden, cigar minnows and other bait fish, we slow troll over productive areas looking for the “big one”. These trips also produce a variety of other fish such as mahi mahi, barracuda, large spanish mackerel, amberjacks, and even sailfish!


The name can sometimes sound boring but the excitement it produces is anything but! Fishing the near shore structure out to 30 miles off Topsail Beach, Wrightsville Beach, and Carolina Beach to Frying Pan Tower we use a variety of baits and lures to entice the speediest fish in the ocean. On these trips we catch Atlantic bonito, spanish and king mackerel, mahi mahi, false albacore, bluefish, and amberjacks. This method allows us to fish a larger area which gives us more opportunity to find the “hot spot”. This type of trip usually produces a good variety of species.


This is for the “big three” speckled trout, red drum, and flounder. Fishing from Topsail Beach to the Cape Fear River we live bait fish, work grubs, Mirrolures, and top water for fast action and tasty rewards. Depending on the season we fish the docks and shore structure, banks, and creeks that make up our interior waterways and sounds. I concentrate on this type of fishing in the early spring and fall when water temperatures are cooler and these fish more active in the areas I fish.

Night fishing:

Who says you have to sleep at night? Most fish do not. In fact certain species such as trout, drum, ladyfish, and bluefish feed better at night! In the summer the cooler nights sometimes produce more consistent action then the scorching days. Ladyfish are strictly a low light and night fishery, “poor man’s tarpon” produce explosive strikes, plenty of jumps and are also a great quarry for the fly fisherman. Night produces some of the largest catches and largest specimens of speckled trout and drum. It is an exciting experience for anyone who loves the water and is looking for a unique type of trip. While certain senses are subdued others are heightened, bringing a new understanding to the aquatic world. Also these trips can fit easily into a busy schedule giving you more opportunity to enjoy strictly “daytime” activities.

Shark fishing:

When you mention sharks most people pause. There is something about these toothsome creatures which brings awe and a little fear into most people. Fishing with light tackle and big hooks we find these just a short distance from the dock, giving us ample time to battle with fish approaching 7 feet and 200 lbs! After a couple of those most people are ready to cry “uncle” and go after smaller fish, not for the faint of heart. There is an atavistic feeling when 6 feet of shark starts to slowly swim up the chum slick in the clear water. At that point you know that you are looking at an apex predator that has no fear, one look into its eye confirms it.

Fly fishing:

Any of the above fish can be caught using the fly rod. For me it is one of the most technical and rewarding method of fishing that I know. Fishing from Cape Lookout to Southport we chase Atlantic bonito, bluefish, spanish mackerel, mahi mahi, false albacore, ladyfish, trout, drum, and sharks on the fly. Sometimes the fly fisherman can score more readily then the gear fisherman when fish are keyed into smaller baits and more delicate presentation. This type of fishing is sometimes considered the ultimate in light tackle saltwater angling.