Outer Banks Fishing

Outer Banks FishA whole other world opens up when you wet a fishing line. Time stands still as you wait and wait, hoping for a little tug on the end of your line. With a lot of patience and a little luck, you’ll encounter creatures that are both fascinating to look at and tasty to eat. Outer Banks fishing is some of the best in the world. Due to the islands’ location where the Labrador Current and Gulf Stream interplay, there’s a wide variety of fish to be caught here. And because Outer Banks fishing is so good, getting to the fish is remarkably easy and convenient. Tackle shops are found in great abundance on these islands, and the people who work in them are very cooperative and helpful. They'll get the novice angler outfitted, share where the fish are biting that day and happily share a finny tale or two.

Outer Banks Fishing Charters

If you don't have a boat or want to be guided by someone who knows the best Outer Banks fishing spots, check out the popular charter fishing trips. Offshore fishing to hunt for big game fish was born here, and the tradition continues in full today. Hundreds of offshore fishing boats leave Outer Banks marinas every day in the summer, and when the fish are biting in the off-season, to go after billfish, tuna, wahoo, maui-maui and more. These offshore boats usually carry up to six anglers plus the captain and a mate. Inshore charters that stay in the sounds and go after flounder, spot, croaker, trout and other tasty treats are also popular. Head boats, large fishing vessels that can hold lots of people and charge by the head, are great ways to experience Outer Banks fishing, especially if you're inexperienced or have a large group that wants to have a day or half-day on the water together. Head boats have mates that help you bait your hook and pull the fish in if you need such assistance. Plus, Outer Banks fishing reports will keep you up to speed every day on what's biting and where. 

Remember, there’s a reason they call it fishing and not catching. You won’t catch something every time you go out – a law that anglers call “paying your dues.” But if you’re persistent, you’ll have something to show for it.

For all the details you need to know about Outer Banks fishing, including fishing licenses, piers, offshore charters and more, go here.

Albatross Fleet Marina at Foster's Quay

57976 N.C. Highway 12, Hatteras
(252) 986-2515

Albatross Marina at Forter's Quay is home base for the three Albatross offshore vessels. It's located between Oden's Dock and the Village Marina in the heart of Hatteras Village. Here you can charter full- or half-day charters with Captain Ernie Foster and his other captains and mates. The Fosters were the pioneers of offshore Gulf Stream fishing on the Outer Banks, starting in 1937!

Corolla Bait and Tackle

1070 Ocean Trail, Corolla
(252) 453-9500
603 Currituck Drive, The Shoppes at the Currituck Club, Corolla
(252) 453-9690

Keith Cummings, owner of Corolla Bait and Tackle, goes beyond the call of duty when it comes to sharing his fishing knowledge. Everyone who comes through the door gets fishing instruction. This full-service tackle shop sells every major brand of tackle for fresh and saltwater plus gear, fresh bait, crabbing supplies, ice and more. The advice is free. Corolla Bait and Tackle rents rods, reels and crab pots. Surf fishing classes are offered as well. See Outer Banks Charter Fishing Adventures for guided fishing opportunities. 

Country Girl Head Boat

Pirate's Cove Yacht Club & Marina
1 Sailfish Drive, Docks at Pirate's Cove Marina, Manteo
(252) 473-5577

The Country Girl can be chartered for full-day Gulf Stream trips for parties of six or more people. Call for rates and schedules. These Outer Banks charter fishing trips usually yield tuna and mahi-mahi, wahoo, king mackerel, marlin or sailfish depending on the season and conditions. The Country Girl also offers head boat-style wreck fishing. The 57-foot sportfisher can accommodate up to 30 passengers and provides plenty of room for everyone. This is a great Outer Banks activity to get a big group of friends together for a day on the water. You’ll catch a variety of species, including black sea bass, triggerfish, gray tile fish, grouper, amberjack and more. The cost is $120 per person, with a minimum of 15 people. Bait, tackle and license are furnished. The Country Girl is also available for bird watching, marine mammal excursions, bachelor, bachelorette and scattering ashes at sea.

Crystal Dawn Head Boat

Pirate's Cove Yacht Club & Marina
1 Sailfish Drive, Docks at Pirate's Cove Marina, Manteo
(252) 473-5577

Whether for head boat fishing or cruises, you will enjoy the 65-foot, big and comfortable Crystal Dawn. You will fish in the inlet or sound for a variety of fish such as flounder, croaker, spot, trout, sea mullet, sea bass and more, depending on the season and conditions. All bait, tackle and licenses are furnished. Cost for head boat fishing is $45 for adults and $35 for children 10 and younger. Roanoke Island Cruises are $20 adults and $15 for children 10 and younger. The vessel is available for private charters, bachelor, bachelorette, family functions and more. Small coolers are welcome.

Hatteras Harbor Marina

58058 N.C. Highway 12, Hatteras Village
(252) 986-2166

This full-service marina books offshore and inshore fishing trips year round with a 24-boat charter fleet. They offer deepwater slip rentals with water and electric hookups and sell diesel fuel. Shower and laundry facilities, apartment rentals, a gift shop and the Harbor Deli are on site.

Jennette's Pier

7223 S. Virginia Dare Trail, The Beach Road, MP 16.5, Nags Head
(252) 255-1501

Jennette’s Pier is a state-of-the-art educational center and fishing pier complete with a pier shop, classroom and banquet hall, and it's the newest Outer Banks attraction, drawing thousands of visitors each year. The pier features wide, clean public beaches, free parking and a bath house with outdoor showers. With its mantra of Fishing, Family and Fun, Jennette’s offers something for everyone. There’s world-class fishing, unique educational programs and excellent opportunities for sightseeing from the 1,000-foot-long pier. Owned and operated by the N.C. Aquariums, Jennette’s Pier was awarded the coveted Platinum LEED Certification by the U. S. Green Building Council in 2012. In addition to its three iconic wind turbines towering over the pier, the green facility boosts a unique reclaimed water system and geothermal wells that provide heating and cooling. Anglers can find everything they need for a day of fishing inside the pier house. Various types of rod and reel combos can be purchased or rented by the day for $10 (photo ID required). There’s plenty of bait and tackle for sale as well as drinks, snacks and souvenirs items. The pier has a blanket license for all anglers, so you do not need a fishing license. A daily fishing pass is good all day and night until the pier closes; call for hours as they change with the seasons.
The pier staff offers educational classes for all ages, and the children’s programs are stellar. Call for more about the pier programs. Jennette’s is open year round and is a fun Outer Banks thing to do in any weather.

Miss Oregon Inlet

Oregon Inlet Fishing Center
98 N.C. Highway 12, Nags Head
(252) 441-6301

Miss Oregon Inlet is the resident head boat at the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, the closest marina to the renowned fishing grounds of Oregon Inlet. The head boat takes up to 49 people for half-day inshore fishing trips every day except Sunday. From Memorial Day through Labor Day they run two trips, the morning trip leaving at 7 a.m. and the afternoon trip leaving at noon. In May, September and October they run one trip a day, in the morning, starting at 8 a.m. Arrive 30 minutes early for all trips. All bait and tackle are supplied, and the boat has a blanket fishing license that covers all its anglers. Bring your own snacks and drinks, but make sure your cooler is 13 inches or shorter so it will fit under the bench. Tickets cost $46 for adults and $35 for children 6 and younger. You’ll find the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center about 8 miles south of Nags Head just before you get to the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet.

OBX Marina

708 Harbor Drive, Wanchese Seafood Industrial Park, Wanchese
(252) 473-9991

One of the most popular Outer Banks things to do is fishing. OBX Marina offers centralized booking for offshore and inshore charter fishing equipped with a fleet of 15 charter boats. They have several boats in their fleet, and their booking service provides hassle-free, book-where-you-board convenience. OBX Marina offers many varieties of fishing charters, from full-day excursions to the Gulf Stream to half-day, light-tackle trips in the sound. They also offer several specialty fishing trips, including shrimping and crabbing charters. Feeling adventurous? How about a shark trip? OBX Marina even runs an overnight shark trip. You'll find everything you need for a day of fishing at their ship's store, from beverages, ice and snacks to bait, tackle, rods and reels. They also stock boating accessories, can fill your tank with gas or diesel fuel and carry maintenance supplies plus sunglasses, T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats (see Shopping). Ask about OBX Marina's parasailing and Jet skis operations, two offerings that began in 2014. OBX Marina was also recently home base for a spin-off of National Geographic's hit reality series Wicked Tuna. Wicked Tuna: North vs. South fished Outer Banks waters from this Wanchese marina as part of filming for its 2014 season. The South won.


Oregon Inlet Fishing Center

98 N.C. Highway 12, Nags Head
(252) 441-6301

Charter a variety of inshore and offshore fishing ventures here including half-day and full-day trips and head boat excursions. Trips are booked year-round with experienced captains and mates (weather permitting). Anglers go for a variety of species depending on the season including marlin, tuna, dolphin, king mackerel, stripers, drum, bluefish and cobia. All tackle and bait are provided. Bring your own food. The center includes a store chockfull of tackle, bait, snacks, T-shirts and hats. Check out the world-record blue marlin mount (1974) displayed in an outdoor case, and take a photo of your group in front a record setting 805-pound blue fin tuna mount. The giant was caught in 2011. Air pump, boat ramp, restrooms and ample parking are available.

Pirate's Cove Yacht Club & Marina

1 Sailfish Drive, Nags Head/Manteo Causeway, Manteo
(252) 473-3906
(800) 367-4728

Just about every afternoon between 4 and 5 p.m. a dozen or more sport fishing boats return from the Gulf Stream to the Pirate’s Cove Marina to unload their catches of tuna, dolphin, wahoo and other deep-sea fish. If you’re interested in seeing the fish before they’re cleaned, head down to the docks and watch the mates hurl the whopping creatures onto the docks. Kids love this, and the anglers are usually friendly about sharing their experiences of the day.

If you’re more of a hands-on type, escape from the same old beach routine and head over to Pirates Cove Marina and Yacht Club to experience the thrill of a lifetime fishing from one of their offshore charter boats. Your adrenaline will be pumping listening to the scream of the drag while you are reeling in your tuna, dolphin, wahoo and marlin. Or book a near-shore trip and drop deep to catch tile fish, sea bass, trigger fish and grouper, or troll for Spanish mackerel and bluefish. No matter what you choose, Pirates Cove’s charter fleet will show you a great time. Back at the docks you can stop by the Pirates Cove Ships Store, where you'll find a great selection of T-shirts, resort wear, gifts and one of the best selections of sunglasses on the Outer Banks.

T-Time Charters

Pirate's Cove Yacht Club & Marina
2000 Sailfish Drive, Manteo
(252) 473-3906
Captain's phone
(252) 423-1401

Are you up for a small group charter fishing trip off in the sparkling blue Atlantic waters? The T-Time offers anglers of all ages and skill levels the opportunity to enjoy either inshore or near shore fishing on a 21-foot Carolina-built center console outboard. The boat comes equipped with amenities like a GPS, fish finder, VHF radio, cell phone, 32-gallon live well and spacious dry storage console. The 15 rod holders on the boat help keep your other rods steady if one of them requires putting up a fight with a big catch. T-Time’s captain, Toby Russ, is an experienced fisherman who has led charter fishing trips in the Outer Banks for many years. Give him a call if you’re up for laid-back day of charter fishing.

Tradewinds Tackle

1094 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke
(252) 928-5491

There’s no question that Ocracoke is an angler’s paradise. When you’re ready to sink a line, head here for a complete line of bait and tackle for inshore, offshore and surf fishing. They also offer current fishing reports and equipment for other activities such as clamming and crabbing as well as visitor information. Follow recent catches on their Facebook page. They’re open daily spring through fall.

TW’s Bait and Tackle

815 B Ocean Trail, Corolla
(252) 453-3339
3864 N. Croatan Highway, The Bypass, MP 4, Kitty Hawk
(252) 261-7848
2230 S. Croatan Highway, The Bypass, MP 10.5, Nags Head
(252) 441-4807

TW’s Bait and Tackle stores in Corolla, Kitty Hawk and Nags Head have been an angler’s landmark destination for many years. Each location is a full-service tackle shop offering the latest and greatest selection of inshore, offshore, surf, fly and freshwater tackle. TW’s stocks quality tackle from some of the top manufacturers such as Avet, Daiwa, Shimano, Costa Del Mar, Black Bart Lures, Berkley Gulp, Bluewater Lures and Yeti Coolers to name a few. When it comes to bait, TW’s has it covered, from lively eels, bloodworms and minnows to a huge selection of fresh and frozen fish-catching delicacies. TW’s also carries ballyhoo, high-speed jigs and accessories for the offshore angler. They also carry fun and functional clothing for the whole family, stocking brands such as Columbia, Under Armour, Pelagic,Salt Life, Calcutta, Guy Harvey, Costa Del Mar, Buff, Heybo and Drake. Get your “Fish On” with their awesome selection of gifts, fish mounts, Tervis and Signature Tumblers, custom T-shirts, sweats, hats and decals. TW’s is one-stop shopping for those who love to fish or just look like they do. The shops have a warm friendly atmosphere and a helpful experienced staff. Stop by, weigh a fish and share your fishing story.