I love the Outer Banks area- excellent surf fishing there. The lay of the geography there really brings the fishing right to you. In fact, Cape Hatteras is real surf casting Mecca.
Depending on where you are, you can expect to catch spots, croakers, little sharks, maybe speckled trout, flounders, bluefish, etc. The water temps are warming as I type ( in the 50's now) and the warmer water tends to push the better fish further off-shore, but you can still have a blast.
If you simply want to catch fish, any fish, go with squid. It is tough, will stay on a hook very well and will catch most anything that swims. Croakers, spots, blues, etc will all take squid. If you want to target "better" fish, try shrimp or cut bait like mullet or mackerel. Blues will hit this stuff better than squid, but they can be frustrating to use. Shrimp in particular- I hate usning it because it comes off so easily. Clams are an excellent bait in the surf, but they are like trying to fish with snot- it just doesn't stay on a hook very well. Squid is cheap, shrimp aren't bad and clams will run you a buck a piece sometimes. It all depends on what the tackle shops have. Definitely ask them about what is going on- they depend on tourist dollars and want you to do well. I have always had good luck with them.
Rigs vary depending on what you are fishing for but on the Outer Banks, a 10 foot rod will do fine. Use a spinning reel that will hold a couple hundred yards of 20 lb line and you will be in good shape. The beaches there tend to fall away fairly quickly and super long casts aren't needed. I fished there last time I was there with a 7 footer and threw out into the cut by the first sandbar- maybe 50 yards. I was catching croakers on almost every cast on tackle not much heavier than a bass rig. Made things fun.
I will toss big pieces of cut bait as far out as I can get them- 100 yards is easy with the right rig. I use Power Pro on my 10 footer and can fling a 4oz weight 100 yards with ease. You want to try to get just past the breakers. I have caught all these fish there, plus a few other odd ones. I have not ever caught a puppy drum, although it isn't from lack of trying! Those bad boys can hit the 70+ pound mark.
The best time to fish there is in the fall- October and November when the water is cool. As the summer hits, the better fish move out and are normally uncatchable from the beach. However, you can catch fish all the time if you aren't particular.
One more option- there are a few jetties down there and there are always piers. The jetties in particular can be great places to fish with light gear- you are in deeper water and you can run into some quality fish out there. The rocks hold baitfish and that draws the big boys. I watched a guy destroy a bass size spinning combo down there when he hooked a big king mackerel. Those things are like torpedos- he hooked it within 20 feet of the jetty and it proceeded to strip all of his line and burn up his drag. Never even turned the fish. It was awesome to watch. LOL The reel actually got HOT, believe it or not.
Have a blast- I need to get down there again sometime in the future- I really like it down there.
i was going to say the only thing i can add is if you have 4 weel drive you can axcess oregon inlet or hatteras point and do fairl well their depending ont the tide these are bottlenecks in to the sound.....jim
Thanks for all the info. I am really looking forward to getting up at first light and walking 75 ft to my fishing spot! Are croakers and spots good to eat? I have eaten flounder and bluefish. Flounder is awesome and I thought bluefish was awful!
Thanks again and I will report when I return in June!
Surf fishing at "The point" is usually a good time, even if they aren't biting. Lots of people and lots of hardcore fisherman.....I mean the 2 or 3 day overnighter fishin' when you aren't sleepin' crowd is there. Hammerhead schools find their way there and so do schools of blues and spanish mackeral. It is serious four wheeler territory. I wouldn't recommend taking your own out onto the beach. You can rent one for about $150 per day. It sounds like alot (and it is), but not compared to what that salt mist and sand will do to your vehicle. It is worth the trip to see these two currents smash into each other....very exciting stuff.
Just as much fun to carry a light load and go on a fish-hike. Drive down the old lighthouse road toward the point. And then hang a left on one of those lost side roads that leads to a public parking lot. Walk over the dune and you'll have some isolated stretch of a mile or so in either direction. Find the sloughs....the deep pools along the shoreline. Every 50 yards or so there will be one, but some stretches have none. I know this area used to have many such sloughs, but the storms shift it all around. So talk to some locals and maybe they will point you right. Casting out 25 yards or less is more than sufficient in these pools. Often 10 yards is plenty. The fish come into the surf to eat the sand fleas and small crabs. I have seen mating sharks strolling on the surface less than 10 feet from where you get your feet wet. Grand-daddy would barely throw over the breaker. I always threw out as far as I could. He caught as much as anyone.
Venture down to Okracoke island for 1000 times more isolation and chances for a much more extreme fish-hike adventure.
Blues are really great tasting fish, though there is a strong tasting lateral line section that you can just ignore and push aside. These fish do not keep long...get them on ice right away and clean them right away. Cut the belly sections of some small spots and use them for blue-bait for the best chances.
Flounders love white things jumping. Put a strip of squid on a flounder rig and jig and jig it all over the pier. Frisco pier seemed to have more than other piers for some reason. And then there is a dirt access to the "Hatteras Inlet". Get out to this inlet beach and you will find flounders here too.
One of the best fish in the surf is the 'whiting". It is sort of like a walleye. Abundant in the 12-14 inch size and they love squid. The piers is where I found them the most.
Spots love bloodworms and croakers like squid. I would say that spot show a preference for early morning, and that Croaker go crazy at sunset more so than a catfish. Both are great "panfish". Spots have slightly more meat than a croaker for the same size fish. I would say they are similar to a 10 inch crappie in comparison. But there have been schools of 2lb fish on occasion. Squid is a good all around bait I agree. If you clean it and cut it up into bait chunks first, it will save a heck of a mess.
It never hurts to be ready for the cobia. These 5-20 lb fish run with the giant manta-rays. Used to come by the piers a couple of times per day by the dozens. A big jig head (1.5 ounce or 2.) with a big old hook and a fresh chunk of fish meat from one of those spots or croakers. A simple catch if they come through, but being ready for it is a problem.
When the water is warm in mid-summer, the pompano run all day in the close-in surf - less than 10 or 15 feet from where you get your feet wet. They love the sand fleas, and bloodworms too.
Crabs can be a problem in the mid summer. They'll latch onto anything you throw out there within a few seconds.
The heat can be unbearable. Be prepared to hydrate often. Beer at the swimming pool works best for this. Several hours per day is normal.
The seafood shops will blow you away. Buxton seafoods is good, but most of them are awesome. This is shrimp country big time. Eat dolphin (Mahi) or Tuna steak dinner at The Tides in Buxton and also do the buffet at Sonny's in Hatteras Village. Sonny's is the home of the all you can Soft Shell crab buffet (knock on wood). Billy's fish house down toward Frisco is also very good . Bubba's used to be the most tremendous barbecue I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy. But he franchised a bit and last time I was there it was very ho-hum. A more formal dining is found at the Pilot House in Buxton - very good, very fancy, more expensive, maybe worth it every now and then.
Let us know how it turns out.
P.S. Sinkers are usually 2 ounces for the bottom rigs. That's alot for a fresh water pole. But it can be done. The pier is the best place to use the fresh water equipment for this reason.
give this guy a call and schedule a trip...you won't be disappointed. Small Blues are being caught by the boatload right now. Red and black drum fishing should begin to pick up soon. There are always schoolie stripers around the inlet and in the sounds. Cobia will begin cruising the shorelines from Oregon Inlet on south late May early June and big amber jack can be taken off the radio towers.
Surf fishing will be hit or miss this time of year. If you're shore bound and don't have four wheel drive try the southern point of Oregon Inlet or the catwalk of the Oregon Inlet Bridge. Both can be accessed from the parking area located just south of the Oregon Inlet Bridge. Fish outgoing tides.
Stop by TW's in Nags Head, buy your bait and terminal tackle there and ask some questions. The folks there are usually very helpful and have up to the minute info.
i've fished the banks a few times. it is a great place to go! used a splitter with either shrimp or cut squid on the hooks. we've pulled in lot's of spots and croakers, with a few flounders too. you cast out, next thing you know you're reeelin in thinking there is a 10+ pound fish on the other end. then reality hits when you get them to shore and you have 2 small croakers. i guess they are so strong from fighting the currents? you'll have a good time there.
Wow you guys are great! Thanks for all the tips on fishing and restaurants! I have been there once but did not fish. I am sorry to here about Bubba's BBQ. That is the one restaurant I remember. I will definitely fish Ocracoke. It sounds like an awesome place.
Take the time to check out all the piers, beaches, and bridges with binoculars before you pick a spot. The locals will know where the fish are, and if the bite's on you will be able to tell quickly. If you don't see any fish being caught, drive somewhere else (it will be worth it).
One more thing - don't miss the catwalk on the Oregon Inlet bridge. We tore up the spot last year (2 on every cast, and they were big). Cleaned em, took em to Outer Banks pier, who fried em up for us for $6 with fries and huspuppies. Have a pole rigged with a sassy shad or gotcha for bluefish and mackeral.
On incoming and outgoing tides at the bridge, drop a live pigfish or a spot with a 5 oz. slip sinker, 3-4 ft leader, and # 8 circle hook next to the bridge pylons (warning: have heavy duty rod and reel). You must be holding the rod, feel for the tap-tap and dip your rod down to give line. When you reapply pressure, should have a striper on. Caught a lot of nice "throw-back" stripers this way (21"-27"), but its a heck of a fight when they take off under the bridge and you have to turn em around.
Which village will you be staying in? I was down 2 weeks after the hurricane last october and alot has changed. Pilot House has been closed since '02. The Pole road(dirt road to the inlet) has been closed, but they are trying to re-open it. Don't worry about your vehichle on the beach, don't drive in any water and air your tires down to 18-20 lbs. it creates a ballooning effect and lets your vehichle float across the sand. June is a great time to surf fish all the small stuf will be around and also june is great cobia time if you have the right equipment. If you have a cast net stop by some of the canals in hatteras or the sound and get some live finger mullet. That is the best flounder bait around. If you go to Okracoke make sure you stop at Howards to eat it is a great restaurant, I also have to agree about Tides, Bubbas(way too expensive for BBQ), fish house and the like. Don't forget the Orange Blossom Bakery(in Buxton) they have the best apple uglies(fritter) on the planet. If you are in need of bait or tackle stop by Reddrum(Buxton), The Frisco Rod and Gun(frisco), Frank and Fran's (Avon) or Angler's Headquarters(Hatteras). if you have anymore questions just ask.
P.S. Frisco pier lost about 60 feet in the storm and not re-open yet, avon pier is fine. Jeanettes pier(Nags Head) was destroyed.
Hey guys, I'll be down at Carolina Beach June 19-26 and reading all this info is getting me excited. I do have a few questions of my own. Can I rent all the tackle and equipment needed for fishing off piers or in the surf? I don't want to use my own bass fishing equipment and get salt in the reels. Can I expect to catch some species at that time in close if I try to do some surf fishing?
I am going to throw my bass fishing equipment in the car to bring and find some nearby freshwater lake or river to try when I get down there. Any suggestions for taking that route?
Thanks for the info guys!
Take your fresh water gear just make sure you rinse it down with freshwater after you are done for the day. You should be able to rent tackle at the pier for use at the pier and some tackle shops might rent for the day. In hatteras rentals at the pier are i think$12-$15 and i think the shops are $35- $40 for the day. There should be plenty of the panfish around and also bluefish, spanish makeral and flounder around(all of which i use my freshwater gear for). Make sure you check regulations on sizes and numbers allowed.
*you can usually pick up an inexpensive saltwater combo that will better handle the weights you will be throwing for around $50-$$$$$ so if you go down enough it might be worth it or it can double as a cat or musky outfit!!!
The trip to Outer Banks was great. We had beautiful weather, and ate some great seafood. Fished every morning from the surf right in front of our beach house rental, and caught lots of spot and tons of croaker, a few whiting, one 16 inch flounder, a few sand sharks, and a bunch of skates. All fish were caught on bloodworms, squid, and cut bait.
Awesome redhawk. I can almost feel the sun on my back and the sand in my shorts. Wish I could go. We actually had a trip planned for 3rd week July at Lighthouse View, but the kids (high schoolers now) have too much going on and we had to cancel. Maybe next year. We got to go 20 consecutive years in my teen's 20's and 30's and then hit or miss of late, mostly miss. Sounds like you had a great time.