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Top Fishing Charters in Nags Head


Fishing in Nags Head

Nags Head fishing is rewarding, both closer to the shoreline and further out. Some anglers even claim it’s the best fishing on the East Coast. But that’s not all. Deep sea fishing charters are as equally as productive. Fishing in Nags Head is solid year round, as is any other part of Outer Banks. You can easily combine it with stunning sandy beaches, soundfront views, and rich ocean waters.

Known For

Fishing―both inshore and offshore―beaches, piers, water sports, and amazing scenery. The town’s history certainly gives that novel-like touch to your Nags Head fishing. The legend has it that ‘land’ pirates used to put a lantern around the necks of their horses, and tried to lure nearby ships asunder under the cloak of night. They would then storm the ships and wreck them inside out. But, whether or not that’s the real story behind its name, Nags Head lacks nothing in splendor.

Travelers love the city and come here to swim, fish, go kayaking, or trek. Nags Head boasts the biggest sand dune of the East Coast—Jockey’s Ridge. Climb the stairs of the Bodie Island lighthouse and savor the view.

Fishing from the pier is a popular way to wet your line, but the real prize lies off the coast. It’s important to find an experienced guide to show you the best spots. With the right charter, you can even catch some Sailfish, Yellowfin Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, or Marlin.

When fishing inshore, the crew can help you battle Redfish. Fishermen love these fish, and you know why? Because they can grow really big! Fun fact: North Carolina has produced over a dozen of world records for Red Drum. Get your rods, and try making it to history books. Spring and fall are the best time to catch them, and that’s when the famed Drum run takes place. Though puppy drums are everyone’s favorite, you’ll want to go for slots and bulls—you might set a new record.

A truly great thing about Nags Head fishing is the proximity of other hot spots of the Outer Banks. If you want to get off the terra firma and onto a fishing boat, leave your qualms aside—it’s scenic, and it’s filled with fish year-round. And, you don’t need to go far to get a solid catch—half day trips can yield an enviable prize. Think Redfish, Spotted Seatrout, Croakers, and Bluefish. Cobia lurks around seasonally. Families, we know you’ll like it!

To land a bigger catch, pack your backpack and book a deep sea fishing trip. With a good captain by your side (and Nags Head doesn’t lack them), you can land Mahi Mahi, Albacore, Wahoo, or Marlin. At some times of the year, these fish can come as close as 30 miles off the coast. Once done, head straight to the beach for a few more rounds of swimming.

Rules & Regulations

You don’t need a fishing license when fishing from a charter boat. Please remember that fishing rules are strictly monitored. Make sure to read about it online, or ask around one of the tackle shops.

Types of Fishing

Let’s start closer to the shore. You can use light tackle to try and get Redfish. Even smaller specimens can be strong—which just adds more fun to your trip. Use shrimp or crab, or pinfish to get them excited, or spoons as artificial lures. Redfish can get scared easily, so you will need a guide who knows how to get them.

When fishing for Spotted Seatrout, natural bait is the most popular method, but lures can be effective, too. They aren’t fussy even if you bring artificial lures. If you’re fishing for food, make sure to put Trout on ice straight away to get the most out of your catch. They are readily caught around the sounds, and in early spring come around the marshes.

Sight fishing for Cobia and Black Drum is a popular past time. You can also go trolling for Kingfish and Spanish Mackerel, and these fish love moving all over the place. Sometimes, they will be nowhere near the shore, and some days they will decide on swimming within a stone’s throw of your charter boat.

If you really want to get your hands dirty (and we mean no offense!), find a charter that follows the gulf stream. Then go straight for Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and Marlin. Some captains also accommodate kite fishermen—talk about outdoors adventures!

When the season’s open, you can hire a bottom fishing charter to help you catch Grouper or Snapper. This changes on a yearly basis, so check for the info before booking a trip for your date. Most captains will have all the gear onboard, so no need to overpack when coming for a holiday.

Nags Head Fishing Seasons

Near empty beaches, and a few inshore species. New angles will enjoy the peace and can practice casting. Offshore: Yellowfin and Blackfin will reward for the trip.

Tuna time! You can find Bluefins offshore, and some of their Yellowfin and Blackfin relatives nearby. Go on a longer trip, and you won’t regret it!

The prospects are looking brighter. Spots are picking up in numbers, and the action is mostly inshore. Offshore, you can still catch Yellowfin Tuna.

Red is the new black. You don’t want to miss fishing for Red Drum, as their numbers will skyrocket. Out there, bigger fish come following the warm current.

Offshore fishing is improving. You can find Mahi Mahi, and Wahoo or two further out. Inshore, aim for Red Drum—the chase can get epic!

The focus shifts offshore, where you can catch Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo. If staying inshore, get up early—you’ll find Spots.

It’s not just the beach that gets crowded, it’s also the fisheries! Mahi Mahi, Tuna, Sailfish offshore. Inshore, try fly on Spotted Seatrout, Croaker, and Bluefish.

Blue Marlin, Sailfish, and plenty of Tuna, if you plan a longer trip. Troll for Spanish or King Mackerel, or savor the shoreline on an inshore fishing charter.

The weather’s cooling, but inshore fishing is rock solid. Redfish, Black Drum, and Specks can all be caught on a half day trip. And offshore’s excellent!

There’s something to Spotted Seatrout fishing in fall. Spades of fish! Redfish, Black Drum, and Bluefish are also biting. Out, it’s Blackfin Tuna time.

This is the top month for Red Drum. They’re on the move, and can be really big. Offshore is also lucrative—Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna, and some Bluefin.

The action moves back inshore. The safest bet are Striped Bass, Spotted Seatrout, Black Drum. On a nice day, venture offshore and land big Tuna.

Nags Head Fishing Calendar

What People Are Saying About Nags Head

"Captain Bob, mate Steve, half day."

Christopher Cox fished with Fish-N-Fool Charters on November 21, 2017

Relax and enjoy, off season may be fewer bites but it is a great time.

"June fishing trip"

Ryan Hurt fished with Risky Business Sportfishing on June 21, 2017

Go out early and if you have 6 people fishing then ask for 6 poles to be set up. We had 6 people fishing with 4 poles. Not ideal.

Top Fishing Techniques in Nags Head

  1. 1 Deep Sea Fishing

Top Targeted Species in Nags Head

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Spanish Mackerel

Amberjack

Cobia

Nearby Fishing Destinations