Fishing School


Thad Wester Fishing School

The Conservancy’s Fishing School began in 1983 and continues to generate great enthusiasm for fishing, from beginners to seasoned pros. Fishing School was started by the Conservancy’s founder, Dr. Thad Wester, and we are thrilled to continue his legacy. Now in its 39th year, the Fishing School offers a format that is as educational as it is enjoyable with classroom learning sessions and lots of surf fishing with knowledgeable instructors.

Join us on a fishing adventure—you might just catch a HUGE Red Drum! This weekend-long event will cover fishing basics as well as fishing safety and educate participants about fishing on Bald Head Island. Space is limited and usually sells out fast, so make sure to reserve your spot today.

37th Annual Thad Wester Fishing School

Friday, October 14-Sunday Oct 16, 2022
Saturday Night Fish Fry Social: $30/Guest
Children must be accompanied by a paying adult.
Limit of 20 total participants- register early, as we sell out every year!


Please reach out to Chris Shank for questions.
Register Here
$325/Adult (13+) | $175/Child (9-12)

Check-in will begin at noon on Friday, October 14 with the first session commencing at 100 PM at the Conservancy.  Friday afternoon will include classroom sessions on tackle/rigging/bait and where/when to fish, followed by a beach session to practice cast netting and casting.  Students will spend Saturday morning and afternoon fishing on the beach in small groups with our experienced instructors, and on Saturday night, celebrate the day’s success with a fish fry social.  On Sunday morning, participants will have the option to fish at their favorite BHI spot. Participants may bring guests to the Saturday fish fry social for $30/person. Tickets for guests must be purchased in advance so we know how much food to prepare – no sales at the door.

  • North Carolina Fishing License
  • Rod & Reel
  • Terminal Tackle – several 2-hook bottom rigs, 2, or 3 oz. sinkers (or weights appropriate for your rod), 2/0 – 3/0 Circle Hooks. (Note: Some terminal tackle will be provided)
  • Knife & Pliers
  • Hat, Sunglasses, Sunscreen, and Insect Repellant
  • 5 or 6 Gallon Plastic Bucket & Lid, and/or Tackle Box if you prefer
  • Hand Towel
  • Light Rain Jacket & Sweatshirt
  • Pen, paper, and personal laptop or tablet for classroom sessions

"The teachers were great and I learned a lot even though I have fished all my life. The interns did a wonderful job. What a great event and way to meet people!!"
Brady Anderson

"I have a ton of passion for the parent/child partner involvement in Thad Wester’s Fishing School. I think that was part of his original intent...It’s so much more than just fishing. What a gift that I’ve been a part of that."
Steve Montgomery, Instructor

Have a question?