time to get your obx fish ON!
Now that temperatures are finally beginning to rise in eastern North Carolina, you may be daydreaming about wetting your hook in the waters surrounding the Outer Banks. From surf and fly-fishing to casting a line off a bridge, pier, or charter boat, both novice and seasoned anglers will find their favorites among the astounding array of fishing opportunities in the area.
If you are new to the sport, it’s a good idea to acquaint yourself with the state’s rules and regulations, particularly on how much of which type of fish you’re allowed to catch and keep. All fishermen 16 and older are required to purchase a recreational license, though if you’re fishing with a charter, head boat or from a pier, a blanket license will cover you. Individual licenses are not expensive ($5-10 for 10 days) and are available at any bait and tackle shop, marina, or pier, as well as online with the Division of Marine Fisheries. Everything you need to fish may be rented or purchased from bait and tackle shops, marinas and pier stores on the OBX.
The dynamic Gulf Stream churning off the coast creates an incredible ocean fishery within miles of Outer Banks beaches, luring big game enthusiasts from all over the world. Charter fishing is a popular choice for tackling the deep sea, offering the advantage of a professional captain and mate at the helm. With their expert commercial skills offering an unmistakable angling edge, this option with its per-person price tag of $150-300, can be well worth it.
For those happy to remain closer inland, a headboat excursion is a more economical alternative for setting sail. If you are lucky enough to have your own vessel, you can launch it at one of several public ramps, which include free parking for your vehicle. For long-term docking, contact one of the many qualified marinas in the area, where you can also inquire about charter and headboat fishing. In Manteo, try Manteo Waterfront Marina or Pirate’s Cove Marina. In Wanchese you’ll find Outer Banks Marina. Nags Head is the home to Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, while further south there is Hatteras Harbor Marina, and Anchorage Marina is a good option in Ocracoke.
For a fishing experience near the shore, try surf fishing off our more than 100 miles of coastline. If you want to reach into deeper waters, try angling from one of six local ocean piers. The most well known fishing piers are Avalon, Jennette’s, Nags Head and Avon, but there are two lesser-known piers, also worthy of acclaim.
Locals love to frequent the Outer Banks Pier in South Nags Head, where they can listen to live music on the oceanfront deck of Fish Head’s Bar and Grill, as they savor a seafood basket and beer on tap. Another hidden treasure is the Rodanthe Pier, which has recently undergone a major reconstruction after being storm-battered to the point of collapse. Restored with the help of supporters from the community and beyond, the beloved structure is back and better than ever!
With so many ways to get out there and fish, the OBX is truly one of the most angler-friendly locations to visit. With an abundance of knowledgeable fishermen happy to help, those new to the game will find all the support they need to have a memorable and bountiful fishing experience. As an extra special treat, bring your bounty to Nags Head, where the cooks in the kitchens of Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe or Nags Head Pier Restaurant are more than happy to prepare your cleaned, fresh catch, however you happen to hook ‘em.
By Michelle Leckie, HOBX correspondent