Hi! My names Jeff Bergs, and I’m known round these ways as The Haddis Catch. It’s a long story as to why I have this name, but it all boils down to a huge fish I caught way back in the 90’s. It was the biggest fish ever caught in the Outer Banks. Since then, I sort of rose to fame locally as the master fisher of the Outer Banks. Nowadays, I’m less celebrity status and more of a hobbyist. I occasionally take people out onto my famous boat tours – showing you the hottest local fishing spots.
I’ll be using The Haddis Catch blog as a way to share my memories in the later parts of my life, and share my wealth of knowledge. You’ll learn a lot too hopefully – whether you’re looking at my list of the Types of Fish in OBX, or simply checking out my blog!
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The Outer Banks refers to a grouping of islands off the coast of North Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean, a popular spot for fabulous fishing. Historically, the area is well-known for the infamous Roanoke Island, where colonists vanished without a trace in 1587. The Wright brothers also made their first flight near Kitty Hawk in… (read more)
Outer Banks is well-known for its fishing areas, long before it was a tourist spot. As often as fishers and tourists visit, the fish population hasn’t decreased, and there a large number of different species of fish to catch. The majority of this depends on where it is you’re fishing in Outer Banks, and luckily… (read more)
OBX Fishing – What You Need To Know
Many people travel to the Outer Banks each year to take their families on vacation. No matter the reason for the trip to this area off of the coast of North Carolina, visitors typically enjoy some of the excellent fishing opportunities during their stay. Before any angler can drop a line in the water, the first concern is making sure that it is legal to fish in the Outer Banks (OBX).
The state of North Carolina requires anglers to have a coastal recreational fishing license to fish in these waters. This means that it is legal to fish in all sea water with this license, but if inland fishing is a goal, another fishing license is required for freshwater pools. Those who are under the age of 16 that wish to fish do not need a license.
Since the Outer Banks is clearly a coastal area, the best fishing is going to be right on the beach, though some would arguably say that the piers produce better results. Each location will yield the same type of fish; it is simply the fishing style of the angler that makes one option better than the other.
Types of Fish
- Black Drum – The Black Drum is a member of the croaker family. This sluggish fish is not typically attracted with lures; shrimp and blood worms are its choice food. They can be caught at two different times throughout the year: during the spring from March to May as well as from September to December in the fall. Most of these types of fish weigh between ten and 15 pounds.
- Bluefish – Bluefish migrate, so they can be found from March to November. Only 15 per day can be kept, and only five of those caught can be over 24 inches long. In addition, they can also weigh up to 30 pounds. Be careful with Bluefish because they have extremely sharp teeth.
- Cobia – These solitary fish can be caught from April to August, but they must be at least 33 inches long and only two can be kept each day. Typically, these fish are identified by the long dark stripe down their side.
- King Mackerel – These fish are best caught off of the end of the pier with a slow reeling technique. They are most prevalent from April to June as well as from September to December. There is a limit of three a day and each one must be at least 24 inches long. They typically weigh between five and 30 pounds.
- Red Drum – These fish are attracted by live bait from March to June as well as September to December. They must be between 18 and 27 inches in length and no more than one can be taken home per day. They have a mildly sweet flavor when cooked, which is why they are a popular fish amongst anglers in the area.
- Spanish Mackerel – These fish can be found from May to September, but if you want to keep what you catch, it must be 12 inches long. You can also only keep 15 of these fish a day.
- Striped Bass – These fish are attracted to basically anything that moves in the water. They are most often caught between the months of October and April. There is a two fish per day limit on these fish, and it must be at least 28 inches long to be kept, anything smaller must be released back into the water.
- Flounder – They are most prevalent from May to December. Flounders must be at least 15 inches long, and only six can be kept each day. These fish can be recognized easily because they have a flat body that is unique for most other fish.
To learn more about the types of fish in the Outer Banks, click here: http://www.thehaddiscatch.com/types-of-fish/
Fishing on the Beach
If casting into the surf is an appealing place to fish, then the Outer Banks has quite a bit of beach options to choose from. Surf fishing is actually one of the most convenient ways to fish while visiting the Outer Banks. Investing in a surf rod will help to ensure the fishing is successful, and if the bait on your line fails to attract fish, simply dig into the sand to find some sand fleas to draw their attention.
Casting into any surf is fine, but any angler who wants to explore will have plenty of beaches to discover. Many of the beaches in the OBX allow anglers to simply drive up onto the sand, but in some areas, a permit may be required. Don’t attempt this without a four-wheel drive vehicle, and make sure to bring along tools in case the vehicle gets stuck. You can also reduce the amount of air in your tires to make it easier to drive on the sand.
One of the best beach locations to fish is in an inlet. This is an area where the waves are gentler and the wildlife is plentiful. Some of the inlets around the OBX are closed during different seasons, so make sure to check with the National Park Service before going to the location. Some of the best inlets to explore are:
- Oregon Inlet – An area of water that connects the Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. It is a 2.5-mile wide area that is located close to the Gulf Stream.
- Hatteras Inlet – This is another inlet that connects the Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, but this one is only about two miles wide.
- Ocracoke Inlet – This is the oldest inlet in the Outer Banks, and it is only about a mile across.
Cape Point is another great location to fish in the surf. In fact, the area connects with the Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current, so it is actually known as one of the top fishing spots on the East Coast. This area can be crowded from time to time, but there are still plenty of fish to go around.
Fishing from the Pier
Not everyone likes to deal with fishing through the surf, so the next best option is fishing from a pier that is still close to the shore. There are quite a few piers around the Outer Banks. Remember that traveling to the end of the pier can be quite a hike, so make sure to pack lightly and take a cooler that has wheels.
Pier fishing does not require a North Carolina fishing license, so if an angler is only interested in pier fishing that is one aspect of the vacation that can be forgotten. Most of the piers in the area do charge a small fee for admission, but it is well worth the fishing options that a pier offers as well as the view of the Outer Banks that you can see from the end of the pier. Here are some of the piers that you can enjoy in the Outer Banks:
- Kitty Hawk Pier – Originally built in 1953, this pier lost a bit of length when Hurricane Isabel hit, but it is still one of the best fishing locations on the East Coast.
- Avalon Fishing Pier – Built in 1950, this is one of the oldest piers in the OBX. There is even a bait shop on the pier for anglers to utilize.
- Nags Head Pier – This 1950s pier is one of the only fishing options on the Outer Banks that is open 24 hours a day. There is also a great restaurant on the pier that offers great food and an amazing view of the Outer Banks.
- Jennette’s Pier – Originally built in 1939, this is the oldest pier in the area. The 1,000-foot pier was reconstructed in 2011. The North Carolina Aquarium also has a lot of exhibits that can be explored as well.
- Outer Banks Fishing Pier – This pier is open 24 hrs during the summer season, and it has a great waterfront grill with delicious eats.
Fishing from a Kayak
Fishing from a kayak is something that gives an angler more freedom to move to different areas. A kayak allows anglers to explore the depths at their convenience, or if preferred, a local kayak company will know all of the best fishing locations. If kayak fishing is a new experience, having a guide is recommended.
There is also charter kayak fishing available in the Outer Banks. This is when a charter boat leads the way. Follow closely as the boat drops entrails into the water to attract the fish in the area. It is one of the best ways to catch larger fish, and it is a thrilling experience that an expert angler would not want to miss.
Deep Sea Fishing
Sometimes an angler may prefer to fish farther from the shoreline, which means that chartering a boat is going to be the best option. There are a number of locations where a boat can be launched from, and many of them are not that far from the Gulf Stream. Fishing in these waters is ideal because the Gulf Stream provides some of the best fishing options for large fish.
When booking a charter, decide whether a half-day or a whole day on the water is preferred. They typically accommodate six people, so if friendly faces are preferred, bring enough people to fill the boat. Also, be aware that the prime feeding time for fish is early in the morning, so most charters head out to sea before dawn to cash in on the prime fishing time.
Deep sea fishing can explore rough waters, especially since the Gulf Stream is not that far from the Outer Banks. Anglers who are not used to rocky waters may want to take Dramamine with them to keep seasickness at bay. A few green apples can help to settle those unsettled stomachs as well. In addition, don’t forget sunscreen with this type of fishing. The boat is going to travel away from the shore so if sunscreen is forgotten, the intensity of the sun reflecting off of the water could result in a severe sunburn.
Types of Fish
Deep sea fishing is an experience that yields larger fish than surf fishing or pier fishing. These fish live farther from shore, so they are able to grow to a much larger size, which means that getting a charter boat helps ensure that fish are caught. Most anglers will go home with a few fish; in fact, ask your captain to drive to an area where specific fish can be targeted. Here are a few of the more frequently seen fish in the deep:
- Mahi-Mahi – This is a unique fish to catch; they can be anywhere from ten to 50 pounds, and they are seen most often in warmer water. One of the most unique things about dolphinfish is that they lose their color out of the water, which makes it a sight to behold.
- King Mackerel – This fish is most likely to be caught during the fall when the waters begin to cool. They typically range from 20 to 40 pounds.
- Tuna – Tuna can be caught all year, but the waters are full of tuna during the spring of the year when the waters begin to warm up. Yellowfin tuna can get to be as large as 75 pounds, which is quite a few meals for an angler to take home. Be ready for a difficult catch because most tuna put up a pretty good fight.
- Amberjack – Since the Gulf Stream goes right through these waters, there are likely a lot of shipwreck in the area where amberjacks can be seen. These fish are not easy to reel in, but an angler who wants a rare catch will be up to the challenge.
- Blue Marlin – These beautiful fish are a rare find in these waters. They typically weigh around 300 pounds, but they can easily be as large as 500 pounds, which means that they are difficult to get out of the water. Since Blue Marlin are so rare, they should be released back into the water when they are caught. May through August is the best time to find these fish.
- Wahoo – Wahoo are in the water of the Outer Banks all year, but catching one will be more likely during the summer months of the year. They are fast fish, so trolling is typically the best way to catch them.
To learn more about the types of fish in the Outer Banks, click here: http://www.thehaddiscatch.com/types-of-fish/
There are also a lot of tournaments that take place in the Outer Banks. Anglers travel from around the country to participate in some of these events. Here are some of the most popular fishing tournaments:
- Alice Kelly Fishing Tournament – This is an annual fishing tournament for the ladies that is held at Pirates Cove Marina. The proceeds from the event go to the Outer Bank Cancer Support Group. The tournament has everything from fishing to boat decorating, and it all takes place mid-August of each year.
- Carolina Boat Builders Tournament – This is a three-day fishing tournament that is designed for anglers of all skill levels to compete for the best catch.
- Hatteras Island Marlin Club Blue Marlin Release Tournament – This is a weeklong competition of fishing and fun that the whole family can enjoy. 2017 marks 59 years that this tournament has been held.
- International Surf Fishing Tournament – Over 90 different fishing teams participate in this annual event each September. Teams consist of six people or less.
- Manteo Rotary Club’s Inshore Slam Fishing Tournament – This tournament has four categories, which include stripers, speckled trout, flounders, and puppy drums. The proceeds from the tournament fund the college scholarships of young members of the community.
- Small Fry Tournament – This is one of the few kid’s only tournaments that is held in the Outer Banks. There are two age groups that can compete; those who are between the ages of three and eight as well as those who are nine to 15. The kid who gets the biggest fish in each age group will receive a reward. Typically, the tournament is held at the beginning of July. Each child also receives lunch and a t-shirt.
When it comes to fishing, there is no place like the Outer Banks. Whether an angler is fishing in the surf, off of a pier, or out in the deep blue from a boat, there are plenty of fish in the water to be caught. Because of the Gulf Stream being so close to the Outer Banks, there are a number of great locations where large, exotic fish can be found. There are some regulations in North Carolina pertaining to certain fish, so check with the National Parks Service before hitting the water. Make sure to obtain your fishing license for the state of North Carolina as well, and don’t forget to check for local tournaments if you are visiting the area.