“Known for its family-friendly beaches and fresh seafood, the Topsail and mainland areas also feature some amazing opportunities for enjoying the open water while fishing under the guidance of an experienced inshore captain.“
By: Pat Fontana
Capt. Brent Banks grew up on the water in Onslow County. A lifelong passion for fishing began at age 7, when he started fishing with his grandfather, a commercial fisherman in Swansboro. That passion continues today, as Brent offers his expertise to others as the owner and captain of Specktacular Inshore Charters.
Brent earned his Captain’s License in 2006 and has been helping other people, tourists and residents alike, learn about fish and fishing ever since. Specktacular Inshore Charters offers “a memorable fishing experience” so everyone can “catch the fish of their dreams!”
Fishing the waters around New River, Topsail, and the Swansboro area for 35 years has given Brent insight into what kind of fish are mostly likely to be caught during different times of the year and in different locations. During the summer months, he says, “we fish the Sneads Ferry and Topsail area more because the water temperatures get hotter, and the fish tend to come into deeper water.” As temperatures start to cool, the fish start moving up the river and, he says, ” we fish more toward Jacksonville and the New River.”
“Inshore” is the area that includes the “back waters,” such as the Intracoastal Waterway and the New River. The river happens to be Brent’s favorite fishing spot, as it tends to hold more speckled trout. “Near shore” refers to the area about one to three miles off the shore, and “offshore” refers to the deepest part of the ocean, more than three miles out, toward the gulf stream.
Specktacular Inshore Charters takes clients through the waters from Swansboro to North Topsail, as they learn to fish the inshore waters. While Brent’s passion is fishing, he is also excited about teaching people “what to use, how to use it, how to work the bait, and what to look for when you’re fishing.”
He knows what he’s talking about, too. Brent has participated in a number of inshore tournaments and has won or placed in many of them, including the Ocean Isle Spring Classic, Ocean Isle Fall Classic, Fisherman’s Post Trout Division, Jacksonville/USO Trout Tournament, and the Ed Sewell Memorial Tournament.
For a successful charter experience, Brent recommends bringing a cooler for all the great fish you’ll catch as well as food and beverages for yourself during the trip. He supplies all the bait, rods and reels, and fishing supplies. The boat, a relatively new 24-foot Avenger, carries a blanket fishing license that covers everyone on board.
During the summer, Brent likes to use live bait, both because “you’ll catch more with live bait” and to keep kids entertained. As he explains, kids “don’t want to throw a lure all day.” He also does eco tours, so everyone can enjoy watching dolphins, clamming, looking at the scenery, and catching shrimp with a cast net.
Morning and afternoon charters are available, seven days a week, all year round. Each charter trip can accommodate five guests. Most of the time, Brent meets clients at Fulcher’s Landing in Sneads Ferry but occasionally will meet them under the high rise bridge that connects Sneads Ferry to North Topsail Beach.
So, if you want to fish for speckled trout, flounder, and drum, as well as bluefish in the summer months, give Capt. Brent Banks a call at 910-389-4941. As he says, you’ll have a “specktacular time”!