The Outer Banks is a sport fisherman’s paradise. The sheer quantity of angling opportunities makes our waters some of the best in the world. Surf and pier fishing, brackish, fly and sound fishing, inshore and offshore charter fishing – all with the season continuing throughout the year.
Fishing the brackish water of the Croatan, Roanoke and Pamlico Sounds can be very rewarding. Bass season begins in April and lasts through November peaking in mid-April to early June and in September and October. During the summer, perch are prevalent.
Fly fishing has become a popular way to take advantage of the area’s rich and bountiful waters. Numerous world records have been made here. Species caught are determined by the time of year. See our What To Fish When section below to see a listing of the fish that anglers can expect to catch and the best time to catch them.
Offshore and Inshore Charter Fishing:
The Outer Banks is "The Billfish Capital of the World," and for good reason. Hundreds of blue marlin, white marlin and sailfish are caught and released in our waters every year. The billfish season is long, with the peak for blue marlin in June and white marlin and sailfish most plentiful in August and September. All are caught consistently from late spring to early fall. Another big draw are yellowfin tuna, which are caught year-round.
Surf and Pier Fishing:
For the surfcaster, there are more than 100 miles of accessible beach. For pier fishermen, there are several piers located from Kill Devil Hills to Hatteras. Surf and pier season begins in March. The season peaks in May and November.
Sound and Headboat Fishing:
Another great way to fish is by small boat in the sounds. From your own boat, or a chartered vessel, anglers can expect to catch a variety of fishing including spot, flounder, spanish mackerel and cobia. You can also fish alone or with a party on a headboat, which can carry 40-50 people, run half-day trips and stay in the sound and inlet waters. The boats provide experienced and helpful crews, bait, equipment and tackle and restrooms.
What to Fish When
Trout, sea bass, bluefish, bluefin tuna, oysters, striped bass, bay scallops.
Trout, sea bass, blue fish, bluefin tuna, oysters, bay scallops, striped bass.
Grouper, sea trout, sea bass, bluefish, bluefin and yellowfin tuna, oysters, snapper, striped bass.
Bluefish, channel bass (red drum), grouper, snapper, croaker, sea trout, sea mullet, king mackerel, wahoo, oysters, striped bass.
King mackerel, bluefish, grouper, cobia, tuna, dolphin, wahoo, crabs, soft crabs, sea mullet, blue marlin, striped bass, channel bass, spanish mackerel, sot, croaker.
Blue marlin, white marlin, dolphin, wahoo, cobia, king mackerel, bluefish, tuna, flounder, snapper, grouper, spanish mackerel, crabs, soft crabs, shrimp, spot, croaker.
Dolphin, wahoo, blue marlin, sailfish, white marlin, snapper, grouper, sea mullet, flounder, bluefish, spanish mackerel, shrimp, crabs, soft crabs, spot, croaker.
Blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish, dolphin, wahoo, tuna, grouper, snapper, bluefish, flounder, spanish mackerel, some croaker, speckled trout, spot, shrimp, crabs.
White marlin, blue marlin, sailfish, tuna, grouper, snapper, spanish mackerel, king mackerel, spot, bluefish, speckled trout, sea mullet, channel bass, shrimp, striped bass.
King mackerel, tuna, bluefish, snapper, grouper, channel bass, spot, speckled trout, flounder, oysters, shrimp, striped bass.
King mackerel, tuna, bluefish, speckled trout, flounder, oysters, sea mullet, snapper, grouper, clams, striped bass.
Tuna, bluefish, flounder, seabass, speckled trout, clams, oysters, sea trout, snapper, grouper, striped bass.