Black Sea bass swimming by a shipwreck

Popular Fish Found Along The OBX Coastline

A Joe Lamb Jr. Blog Series –

Welcome back to our Outer Banks fishing blog series. During this second post of the three blog post series, we’ll be looking at different fish species, popular in the OBX area. Be sure to check back next month to find out how we wrap up the world of OBX fishing for our outdoor enthusiasts with some awesome local spots to throw a line in! 

Where two large currents meet, a variety of fish species thrive. To be honest, the waters off of Outer Bank, NC, rank as one of the world’s most productive fishing regions.

There are many ways to fish on the Outer Banks, but last month we broke down the 4 most popular Types of Fishing in the area. 

Are you ready to find out what types of fish you can catch within a short walk, bike ride, or drive from your vacation rental in the Outer Banks of North Carolina as a weekend warrior or a full week fall vacationer?

Beach Fishing

Sea fishing, surf fishing, fisherman into the waves try to cast the line

What can you catch from the beach?

On the Outer Banks’ more than 100-mile shoreline, there are countless opportunities for surf fishing.

In North Carolina, the weather has a direct impact on surf fishing opportunities. Depending on the season, the weather, the tides, and the contour of the shoreline itself, different species can be abundant or non-existent.

Here are 5 types of fish you can catch from the beach in the OBX:

  • Gulf Flounder
    • Also Known As: Flounder
    • Limits: 15” long minimum, bag limit of 4 per day
  • Croaker
    • Also Known As: Hardhead fish, pinfish, kingfish
    • Limits: None
  • Black Drum
    • Also Known As: Drum
    • Limits: 14” – 25” long, bag limit of 10 per day
  • Red Drum
    • Also Known As: Redfish, Puppy Drum, Channel Bass
    • Limits: 18” – 27” long, bag limit of 1 per day
  • Sheepshead
    • Also Known As: None but they are often confused with Black Drum
    • Limits: 10” long minimum, bag limit of 10 per day

Sound Fishing

Group of friends sitting on pier by the sound and fishing.T

What can you catch from the sound?

More than just saltwater fishing can be found on the Outer Banks of North Carolina West of these islands is a complex network of sounds, canals, and inlets where freshwater (from inland rivers) meets salt water (from the Atlantic) to create a brackish mix. 

You can cast a line in some of the local sounds like Roanoke, Croatan, and Pamlico.

Here are 5 types of fish you can catch from the sound in the OBX:

  • Speckled Trout
    • Also Known As: Spotted Seatrout
    • Limits: 14” long minimum, bag limit of 4 per day
  • Gray Trout
    • Also Known As: Weakfish
    • Limits: 12” long minimum, bag limit of 1 per day
  • Spot
    • Also Known As: Yellow Belly
    • Limits: None
  • Striped Bass
    • Also Known As: Rockfish
    • Limits: Varies, contact The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for more info.
  • Summer Flounder
    • Also Known As: Flounder
    • Limits: 15” long minimum, bag limit of 6 per day

Pier Fishing

a pier extrending out into the ocean with people fishing off it

What can you catch from the piers?

Looking for a little more adventure but not too far away from the coast? A few blocks away from our vacation rentals in Kill Devil Hills and Hatteras Island are the legendary ocean piers of the Outer Banks (Avon and Rodanthe). Because blanket licenses cover all fishing piers, you won’t need to get individual licenses. While pier fishing is very accessible, you will have to pay a small fee.

Consider checking a recent fish report before heading out to the pier. Here is a link to Jennette’s Fishing Report.

Here are 5 types of fish you can catch from the piers in the OBX:

  • Dolphinfish
    • Also Known As: Mahi Mahi 
    • Limits: No minimum length, bag limit of 10 per day
  • King Mackerel
    • Also Known As: King, King Fish
    • Limits: 24” long minimum, bag limit of 3 per day
  • Spanish Mackerel
    • Also Known As: Horse Mackerel, Spotted Mackerel
    • Limits: 12” long minimum, bag limit of 15 per day
  • Hogfish
    • Also Known As: Hog Snapper
    • Limits: 17” long minimum, bag limit of 2 per day
  • Black Sea Bass
    • Also Known As: Blackfish
    • Limits: (North of Cape Hatteras) 12.5” long minimum, bag limit of 15 per day | (South of Cape Hatteras) 13” long minimum, bag limit of 7 per day

Charters / Fishing Excursions

Fishing rods are stored on top of a charter boat roof ready to be used for fishing.

What can you catch from the charters and excursions?

Want to catch a few big fish away from your Outer Banks vacation rental? Book a fishing trip to the open seas off the coast of the OBX. There is a higher price tag for these trips, but they can be shared with friends and family, so it’s worth looking into the maximum number of people who can come with you.

A full day of offshore charters begins at 5 a.m. because the trip to the Gulf Stream takes about an hour. Food, drinks, sunscreen, and seasickness remedies are all that you need to bring; the captain and crew will provide everything else, as well as any guidance.  For easy access to the ocean, Outer Banks charter fishing boats are located near the inlets (there are no inlets on the northern Outer Banks so there are no Outer Banks charter fishing boats there either). Marinas usually offer services for cleaning the fish you catch.

Film tourists can visit the filming location of the famous National Geographic show Wicked Tuna North vs. South. All of the boats featured in Wicked Tuna South are slipped out of Outer Banks Marina in the fishing village of Wanchese. Depending on the filming schedule people can book a private charter on a few of these boats.

Here are 5 types of fish you can catch from the open seas of the OBX:

  • Grouper
    • Also Known As: Black Bass 
    • Limits: 20” long minimum, bag limit of 3 per day
  • Blue Marlin
    • Also Known As: Billfish
    • Limits: 99” long minimum, 1 / vessel/trip either Blue or White Marlin
  • White Marlin
    • Also Known As: Marlin
    • Limits: 99” long minimum, 1 / vessel/trip either Blue or White Marlin
  • Amberjack
    • Also Known As: Allied Kingfish
    • Limits: Varies, contact The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for more info.
  • Cobia
    • Also Known As: Black Kingfish
    • Limits: Varies, contact The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for more info.

More To Come

Keep an eye on this blog for some great local fishing hotspots around the Outer Banks in our last blog of the series coming next month! And don’t forget to share your fishing pictures from your OBX vacation with us online! Using the hashtag  #bestcatchjoelambjr. In the meantime, check out some other fun things to do in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and we wish you tight lines until next month!

Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates is one of the most trusted vacation rental managers in the local area by growing into a market leader in the Vacation Rental and Sales Industry. Joe Lamb Jr. and his family have played a vital and intricate role in the Outer Banks Community for decades. 

Over the past 50+ years, Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates have worked diligently to help promote the Outer Banks for the amazing beach and family vacation destination that it is, helping to increase tourism in the area and grow our beautiful community.

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