The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament and fishing on Cedar Island

Held every summer (typically June) in Morehead City, NC, less than an hour’s drive from Cedar Island, the Big Rock Blue Marlin fishing tournament is one of the biggest and oldest saltwater fishing competitions in the United States. Many of the nation’s most skilled deep sea fisherman congregate on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast for this week-long event characterized by community engagement, celebration, and some of the highest quality sport fishing around.

The official rules for the 2023 Big Rock tournament can be found here: 

But readers should keep in mind that such rules do change somewhat from year to year.
For those not desiring to read the dense rule overview, the following 2023 video directly from the Big Rock organization should be quite helpful:

Further it is worth noting that, in July of 2023, The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has launched a new license and vessel registration system called Go Outdoors North Carolina, which includes new features aimed at increasing convenience and accessibility for users. More information can be found here:  

Although the Big Rock Blue Marlin competition is undoubtedly the premier fishing event and opportunity near Cedar Island, the island remains a popular and bountiful fishing destination throughout the summer, and in portions of the spring and fall. May though October is the most typical season, but fishing can be enjoyed year round. 

For those with boats there is a great public ramp at Cedar Island by the ferry landing– excellent fishing is available just offshore from the landing. It is also wadeable by the rock jetty at the boat ramp. Species of fish in the marshes across Cedar Island and elsewhere off of the Crystal Coast include Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, Bass, Sea Mullet, Spot, Speckled Trout, Gray Trout, Red and Black Drum, Pompano, and Stingrays. For the most part these backwaters are quite shallow. Many people typically fish in the known sloughs and tidal ditches. Most fishermen that make the trip down east also usually fish the inlets on Core Sound Bay, NC (between the mainland of Carteret County and Core Banks, part of the Outer Banks of North Carolina). In addition to fishing, duck hunting, boating, and camping are also popular activities around these parts. 

Happy Hunting! (or fishing rather)