We have had a great year and are sad to be leaving for the season and not being at our dock in downtown Southport for the winter. We had a great first year with our new Tour Boat and we really want to thank everyone who came out and supported us this year. We also want to thank all the groups that rented our Carolina Skiffs this year and helped us for the past 3 years of renting boats and offering tours. We really appreciate the support!!!
We plan on opening Mid-March of 2020.
See you all then!
we have a lot of groups ask of about Tours on Oak Island. We do offer tours of Oak Island but we are located in downtown Southport. We are about a 15-20min drive from Oak Island, Caswell Beach, St. James, and Boiling Spring Lakes.
The tours and cruises we offer go to many different locations depending on the weather. The areas on oak island that we normally see are parts of Fort Caswell on the eastern tip of Oak Island. Fort Caswell was in Old fort used during the Civil War. It was also used during World War Two to monitor the Cape Fear River for German submarines. Another area we sometimes travel to is the back side of Oak Island down the Intracoastal Waterway or the ICW for short. This trip is very relaxing and much calmer than the Cape Fear River Tour. There are plenty of birds such as white ibis, great egrets, snowy egrets, and many different types of Herons. We also see the area the old fish factory used to sit on. After that if we have time we will go to the Old Oak Island Bridge. Before that Bridge was built there was an old swing bridge in place. That bridge would swing to the side and allow ships to pass by. Then it would swing shut and allow cars to go back to their normal traffic pattern. There are still some remains of he old swing bridge and if time allows us, we try to get as close as we can to the old swing bridge.
When coming to Southport from Oak Island, St. James, or any of the surrounding areas, don’t forget to eat of one of he delicious local restaurants such as Fishy Fishy or Provisions Company.
For more info call us or check out of website
Hurricane Florence was a very damaging storm but we have rebuilt and reopened. Our docks were completely destroyed and it was very disheartening to watch. Hurricanes are part of life here on the coast and our area is sometimes considered “hurricane ally”.
We are actually pretty lucky compared to some other places and everywhere has its hazards like California has wildfires and Hawaii has volcanoes. All we can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best. We pulled our boats out of the water and put them on trailers. Then we took them to a yard without trees. We stripped the boats of anything that might catch wind, tied them down, and kept a close eye on them during the storm and the days of rain that followed.
After the storm we helped the neighbors with there yards and houses. Robert, one of the owners of Southport boat rentals is an excellent at tree removal and we all got together for a week to help out the community. We got trees cut down off of people’s houses and garages, out of their driveways and off of fences. It was really sad to see all of the damages from hurricane Florence but it felt good to help and see other people helping also.
Then came the time to deal with our docks and problems of our own. It was pretty bad. Everything from our floating docks to our walkways and ramps, even our staircase and sign were all in such poor shape we had to start from scratch. Good thing Robert is also an expert carpenter! We built a new frame for our deck using pilings for support. Instead of stairs like last time, we engineered a handicap accessible ramp on the parking lot side. Mcphearson marine helped us reset our old pilings that hold our dock in place and Chris Lowell built our actual floating docks right there in our parking lot and pushed them in the water at high tide. With the docks in place we measured and built new gangways (the ramp that connects floating docks to a fixed dock or bulkhead). After the gangways were in place it was time to add cleats to the dock. Chris came back and added nice new rub rails for the sides of the dock. Then we started bringing everything back. Our tent, bar, bench, and last but not least, our large Southport Boat Rental sign that has our phone number on it.
The very next day we had 2 boat rentals and the day after we went on a fishing charter. I’m just getting back from a sand dollar safari as I’m writing this and it sure does feel good to get back to work! Thanks for reading.
Flounder fishing is in full swing this time of year and these are our top 3 best fishing tips on getting them on the hook and in the boat.
Tip 1 Location
Flounder and drum can be found around most inlets, in creeks (deeper water), main channels like the icw, and just off the beach.
Tip 2 Bait
Use smaller live bait like mud minnows, finger mullet, and menhaden (pogies). Carolina rigs with live bait rigged on number 1 and 1/0 circle hooks with a 20 pound floro leader will put dinner on the table. Artificial bait like a gulp swimming mullet with a 1/4 once jighead is a great way to find flounder and drum when the live bait is scarce.
Tip 3 Temperature
The flounder aren’t as picky but the red drum bite is usually best in the morning and evening when the water is not so hot. The occasional rain showers we get during this time of year are perfect for cooling he water off and starting the red drum bite. Deeper, cooler water is where these fish are hiding around Southport in July
Hey Everyone, we have been asked by many locals and visitors to do a daily weather report since we at Southport Boat Rentals are on our dock getting our rental boats ready every morning. We are located right in downtown Southport at the intersection of the Atlantic ICW and the Cape Fear River giving us a great vantage point to see the local weather.
Today 8/9/17 we have heavy cloud coverage and light to no wind 1-5 knots out if the NNE. The forecast for today is cloudy early with scattered thunderstorms developing this afternoon. High of 79 and winds increasing to 5-10 mph. Tonight is variable clouds with scattered thunderstorms. Low of 72 with light winds and a 60 percent chance of rain.
We do have a few rental boats out today and might go out for a Sunset Tour if the rain holds off a little longer.
Please check back with us for daily weather reports and information about shipping boats in our area.
Thanks for reading
Oak Island Boat Rentals and Southport Boat Rentals have joined forces to get our renters the best boats for both Oak Island NC and Southport NC.
Renting a Boat From Us
Renting a boat on Oak Island is easy. We have Brand new 2017 Carolina Skiffs that come equipped with Bimini tops, depth finders, chart plotters. live bait wells for fishing, rod holders, coolers, 4 dock lines, 2 anchors, 2017 115 HP Suzuki engines are standard. Swim ladders and all the safety gear you need are on every boat.
How to Reserve your Boat
To reserve a boat in Oak Island, Southport, Bald Head Island, St James, Boiling Springs, or Wilmington all it takes is a quick phone call. We will look at the tides and weather and if you want a half day or full day and we take your boat out of circulation for the specified time you wish to rent. We also have USCG licensed Captains available for rent if you want to have someone run the boat while you relax.
When you Arrive
We are located just beside Fishy Fishy Cafe in downtown Southport. Our boats are docked just behind our sign the the Southport Yacht Basin where the movie “Safe Haven” was filmed. There is a little paperwork to take care of so showing up a few minutes early helps to get out on the Water right on time. We will go over the Boat with you and your group and answer any questions that may arise. Once we are done the dock lines are untied and your day on the Water begins.
Things to do on Oak Island
The icw (intracoastal waterway) wraps itself neatly around Oak Island and has many creeks to explore. Our favorite fishing area is in the Davis canal and we will show you where to go on our chart plotter. The west end of Oak Island is the local hang out spot for sunbathing boaters and Holden Beach has a few sandbars to relax on as well.
Be sure to call Oak Island Boat Rentals, Or Southport Boat Rentals to book your adventure now.
Renting a Boat in Southport is fun and you can make it even better if you know where to go so here are the Top 3 Boating Destinations.
Battery Island (bird Island)
Not far from the old Yacht Basin in southport NC there is a small Island that has attracted birds of all sorts to roost in the trees that cover the sandy Island. Over the years the Island has changed but the bird return year after year and can be observed from the comfortable seating of one of our Carolina Skiffs. The path is direct from Southport across the Cape Fear River to battery Island and the bird sanctuary. Make a left turn out of the Southport Old Yacht Basin and just before the southport fishing pier turn right and head for the the closest Island in sight.
Bald Head Island Creeks
Bald Head Island is an amazing place to visit. It’s also the furthest north that palm trees grow on the east coast. One of the best parts of bald head is its backwater creeks and endless marsh islands and wildlife. The only way to access this area is by small boat. We can provide a uscg licensed Captain to show you the waters and take you places most people don’t know exist.
Lockwoods Folly Inlet
Leaving our dock in the Southport old Yacht Basin between Fishy Fishy Cafe and the Provision Company Restaurant just Head south on the ICW towards Oak Island and Holden Beach. In between there are 13 miles of nature and you will see many different birds, dolphins, and fish. Arriving at the Inlet there are usually plenty of boats anchored and fishing. This area is a hotspot for the many varieties of fish we have in the the Cape Fear Region. Passing the fishing boats and the Oak Island side of the inlet you will see Holden Beach. Head straight for the closest sandbar and anchor your boat for a day at the beach.
We hope you enjoy our Top 3 Boating Destinations for our area and comment some of your own.
BALD HEAD ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE PARTY!
The Bald Head Island LightHouse is celebrating its 200th birthday on April 15th 2017. There will be birthday cake, ice cream, and FREE Tours of the “Old Baldy” Lighthouse.
We at Southport Boat Rentals want to help get you to the birthday party on Bald Head Island. We have a fleet of 21ft Carolina Skiffs available for rent that your family will be sure to enjoy. Rent the boat and be your own captain for a half day or full day. We also offer captains to take you to Bald Head Island for the party and even detour to see the creeks behind the Bald Head beaches.
The public is welcome and there will be a flag ceremony, US Coast Gaurd fly by, and free events and climbing for children.
The event will start at 2pm on Saturday april 15th and end at 4 but the free Tours of the Lighthouse will last all day. We suggest showing up early and staying late if you want to experience Bald Head Island and all it has to offer. Rent a bike and go for a ride! Bike rentals are available on site and is the perfect way to traverse the Island. Cars are not allowed on Bald Head and the mode of transportation is golf cart or bicycle. This makes the Island very peaceful and safe when walking or riding a bike.
We will have most of our boats rented for full days but we will try to offer Water taxi rides over if possible. If you have any questions or ideas for a special day on the Water let us know in advance to plan your trip. We are always available and interested in your ideas.
The Bald Head Island Lighthouse will be reopening and we hope you are there. Just contact Southport Boat Rentals at 910 523-6021 to book your boat for the day!
Located at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, Bald Head Island ends where the treacherous sand bars known as Frying Pan Shoals begin. Large sand bars seasonally emerge from and subsequently retreat into the sea. It is thought that Bald Head Island emerged from one such sandbar, stabilized by the establishment of plant life, creating a permanent island.
Over 400 years ago, Native Americans were fishing and hunting in the creeks, forest and on the shoreline of the Cape Fear River. Midden sites (shell mounds) have been found near the creeks, documenting the Indians’ presence and reliance on the abundant shellfish. Unfortunately, disease and war killed most of the population before much was learned about the original inhabitants.
In 1524, explorer Giavanni da Verrazano reached what is thought to be the Cape Fear River. He was followed by Lucas Vasques de Ayllon and Sir Walter Raleigh, but attempts to colonize the Cape Fear during the 1600s, were unsuccessful. During that period, the area was called Cape of Feare.
In the 1660s, William Hilton initiated an expedition called the “Adventures of Cape Fayre” by English Puritan dissidents. Sandy, barren soil made farming impossible and colonization efforts were abandoned. Hilton tried again in 1667, but efforts were again foiled.
In 1713, the authorities in North Carolina issued a land grant to Thomas Smith for Cape Island, which was then renamed Smith Island.
Many pirates found refuge in the island’s back creeks, the most locally famous of which was Stede Bonnet, known as the “Gentleman Pirate.” Originally a plantation owner from Barbados, he purchased a sloop named Revenge, outfitted it with guns and a crew, and set sail along the East Coast. He sailed as partner to Blackbeard for a time. He was captured and hung in 1718.
In 1776, the British left a small garrison of troops and a few naval vessels to keep the Cape Fear port closed to Continental shipping. They created Fort George on the southwestern corner of Bald Head Island. The Continentals were occupying Fort Johnson across the river. The Continentals launched an attack against the British but were forced to retreat back across the river after the British vessels opened fire. British troops withdrew a month later.
The first lighthouse on Bald Head was authorized by the Commissioners of the Cape Fear in 1789. Land for the light, built on the extreme point nearest the sandbar to warn ships of the great shoal called Frying Pan, was donated by Benjamin Smith. Construction was completed in December 1794. Lightkeeper Henry Long, operated the lighthouse until 1806. Within 20 years of being built, the light succumbed to erosion, being too close to the water. By July 1813, the light was condemned.
Old Baldy was completed in 1817, built farther from the eroding shores. Its purpose was to help vessels navigate the southern entrance to the Cape Fear River. It was first decommissioned when the Confederate states turned off all their lighthouses at the beginning of the Civil War.
Fort Holmes was erected in 1863 and 1864 as part of a defense system for the lower Cape Fear River Basin. Although no major battles were fought here, Fort Holmes was a successful deterrent to the Union army because of its strategic location. Given the presence of two navigable entrances, that at Bald Head and a second above Smith Island at New Inlet, the river was ideal for Confederate supplies via blockade runners. Fort Holmes was constructed of earthen works, reinforced with palmetto and oak logs. Four batteries extended along the east side of the fort. The fifth and largest, Battery Holmes, with bombproof magazines, was at the island’s southwestern point.
From the 1870s until 1937, the Cape Fear Lifesaving Station was active with life savers patrolling the shore day and night watching for ships in distress. No matter how bad the weather, the life savers would row their surfboats out to wrecks and assist survivors back to shore.
In 1854, because there was still a need for a light to aid vessels navigating Frying Pan Shoals, Frying Pan Lightship was positioned on the shoals. However, the lightship broke loose multiple times from its anchor and would be in the wrong place so proposals for a another light house started in 1889. In 1901 construction began Cape Fear Lighthouse, a steel 150’ tall structure. First they laid a railway from the west end of the island to the east, then the railway transported materials and supplies over 3 miles (5 km) to the site of the lighthouse both during construction and operation. The railway is now remembered by the straight portion of Federal Road.
In 1916, T.F. Boyd of Hamlet, NC, purchased Smith Island and renamed it “Palmetto Island.” He built a beach boardwalk, pavilion and an eight room hotel. Boyd managed to sell 40 lots and cleared several streets before he lost the island in foreclosure for back taxes during the Great Depression.
Frank Sherrill bought the island in 1938 and announced he had “big development plans.” In 1964, the public became aware of the grandiose plans and a conservation battle began. Sherrill eventually abandoned his plans and in 1970 the Cape Fear Corporation purchased the island. Honoring the protests against major development, three fourths of Smith Island, its marshes, the east beach, Bluff, Battery and Striking islands were deeded to the state of North Carolina for conservation.
Since 1983, Bald Head Island Limited has been the named developer. Many of the island’s support organizations also began about that time, including the Bald Head Association in 1982 and the Bald Head Island Conservancy in 1983.
The actual Cape Fear itself (the Point), thanks to island inhabitants and the developer, was purchased from the developer and placed in the Smith Island Land Trust, where it will be left in its natural state, never to be developed.
There is a North Carolina Forest Preserve located on Bald Head Island. This forest preserve is an example of the maritime forests that existed at the time the colonists came to America. It is worth the trip to go to the Forest Preserve, walk the nature trail and see sights such as the huge live oak tree at its tail end.
For more history go to the Old Baldy Foundation Website. This information is from Bald Head association.