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Top Fishing Charters in Cape Hatteras

Fishing in Cape Hatteras

Whether you’re yet to earn your sea legs or are a seasoned angler chasing your next trophy, fishing the waters of Cape Hatteras is a thrill unlike any other. If there’s one thing Cape Hatteras fishing charters like to boast, it’s incredible offshore action a short boat ride away from the port. And with bluewater action happening 15 miles away from the coast, they’re right to!

Where To Fish

Inshore

Heading inshore from Cape Hatteras doesn’t mean the hook ups will get any less intense. The shallow Pamlico Sound allows you to wade for miles around, since large parts of it are less than 5’ deep. Hatteras fishing charters heading into the inshore and backcountry waters of the region offer a wide range of species you can look forward to battling.

Fighters like Cobia can offer you with some of the best pound-for-pound challenge for many miles around. Speckled Trout and Redfish are two of the A-listers for inshore trips. An inshore trip is perfect for testing the region’s waters – many captains offer a combination of angling and clamming.

Offshore

Blue waters are where fishing Cape Hatteras really starts to shine (not to say the inshore action isn’t excellent!). The Gulf Stream is just 15 miles away from the island, you don’t even have to settle in before the hook ups start. The edge of the continental shelf is roughly 30 miles away from the inlet, so fans of deep sea fishing don’t have to spend hours traveling. The Gulf Stream brings in a lot of food for predators and allows them to migrate along the coast. Combine that with the really deep waters of the locale and you have the recipe for world-class Blue Marlin fishing. Multiple record-breaking Marlin have been hauled aboard over the past 100 years in these very waters.

If you are looking for the perfect place to experience bluewater angling for the first time, this is it! Blue and White Marlin dominate the top of the target list of the region, with novices and pros alike scrambling to grab as many as possible. They’re closely followed by the Yellowfin Tuna and Wahoo action, a favorite of fishers looking to fill their coolers and try a new recipe. Target Amberjack, Kingfish, Mahi Mahi, and you’re just scratching the surface of the variety of predators that stalk these waters. Experienced charter captains know all the plateaus and underwater structures, so a trip with them will boost your chances of landing that new personal best.

Surf

The proximity of the bountiful Gulf Stream to Cape Hatteras means that fishing the surf here is an experience that’s tough to reproduce! As predators move from the Gulf Stream chasing their prey, they get within your range. You can cast from practically any shore on the island and the excellent conditions attract thousands of anglers to the coast. You can usually see dozens of anglers, if not more, fishing from the sand at one time. The catch list explains just why: Drums, Mackerel, Bluefish, various Sharks, Cobia, and even the occasional pelagic predator define this legendary fishing locale.

Need To Know

If you needed more reasons to choose Cape Hatteras, NC as your next destination, nothing speaks louder than the fact that this island sees numerous fishing tournaments, year after year. Some events are invitation-only for the titans of sportfishing, while others are open to walk-ins. The tournament season is generally from late August to October, so if you want to mingle with the top sharks and pick up a few tricks, this is the time to go. Who knows, maybe this is the year you become the champion underdog and win?

You won’t need a fishing license to fish from a boat, but you do need it to fish from the shore. Many beaches are closed seasonally due to nesting birds. Don’t worry – charters run all year round!

First-time offshore enthusiasts should take some motion sickness medicine so as not to spoil what’s most likely an amazing experience. Pack a windbreaker too, the winds can go up to 20 miles per hour on average.

Budget

Fishing Cape Hatteras varies in price mainly by where you want to go and how big of a boat you’d like. Inshore charters cost around $300-$400 for a half day trip, with full day trips ranging from $600 to $1,000. Offshore trips cost anywhere from $1,000-$2,000. Deep sea angling is awesome wherever you go, but investing the extra money will really take you to the next level. Thanks to its premier position, half day offshore trips are very viable and you can get a proper taste of bluewater action for as low as $500.

Getting There

You can get to the island by car, boat, or plane – the transport infrastructure has improved over the past decades, thanks to many anglers and tourists visiting. There’s a small airport on the island, the Billy Mitchell Airport – you can practically step off the plane and start casting right away. If you’re coming in from the state capital, Charlotte, you’re looking at a 6 to 7-hour drive. Many boat owners in the area offer transportation, they’ll be more than happy to take you to the island for a fee.

Cape Hatteras
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Cape Hatteras Fishing Seasons

Tuna action is red-hot despite the cold weather. Yellowfin, Blackfin, and Bluefin Tuna are very good. Tilefish and Groupers are also attractive targets, as are Amberjack.

Various Tuna species stay strong throughout February, joined by decent Striped Bass and Weakfish hook ups from the shore. Spotted Seatrout can also be targeted.

Inshore action starts to pick up with Black and Red Drum appearing in shallow waters. Bluefish, Striped Bass, and Weakfish are alternate fish you can go after. Offshore, you can look forward to more good Tuna fishing.

Redfish fanatics can enjoy excellent action in April, as the warm waters attract more Black Drum, Bluefish, Cobia, and other species. Offshore, you can look forward to one more month of good Yellowfin Tuna action.

As the Tuna species slow down they’re replaced by numerous Mahi Mahi, Bluefish, Cobia, Kingfish, Redfish, and Spotted Seatrout. Groupers and Tilefish are still good during May.

Billfish time! The hot summer weather brings Blue and White Marlin, as well as Sailfish, closer to the shore and in greater numbers. Delicious Wahoo and colorful Mahi Mahi complement the bluewater catch list.

Billfish and offshore season is in full swing while fans of fishing closer to the shore can hook up Cobia, Spanish and King Mackerel, as well as various Snappers and Groupers.

The last month of intense action off the coast of Cape Hatteras for Blue and White Marlin, and Sailfish. Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Flounder, Groupers, Snappers, and many other species are still very good.

Mahi Mahi and Wahoo are still hot in September. Closer to the coast, Spanish Mackerel, Black and Red Drum, Flounder, and Bluefish, among other species, offer anglers a test of their skills.

Blackfin Tuna makes a comeback as a good target in offshore waters. Most of the action shifts inshore and nearshore with excellent Black Drum, Redfish, Bluefish, Flounder, Kingfish, and Seatrout fishing.

Despite the chill setting in, inshore and nearshore fishing will keep you warm! A-listers like Redfish, Black Drum, Flounder, Seatrout, and many other species are numerous and very hungry in November.

Though it’s far from the tourist season, anglers can look forward to more awesome Yellowfin and Blackfin Tuna hook ups offshore. Make sure to dress well, the wind can get cold out there.

Cape Hatteras Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Cape Hatteras

"great day"

Ollie H. fished with Carolina Girl Sportfishing on September 29, 2018

weather was warm a little rough but OK---hard work by crew to get you fish

"Full Day offshore with Captain John Canning"

Rick C. fished with Reliance Fishing Charters on September 29, 2018

Very close to gulfstream so less riding and more fishing.

"8 hr Deep Sea Trip with Captain Lou and First Mate Jason"

Peter D. fished with Prowler Fishing Charter - Hatteras on August 23, 2018

Great Variety of fish. Can be a little rough with 3-7 foot swells.

"Great Trip with Captain Erik! "

Jim S. fished with Lady Liza Charter Fishing on August 18, 2018

Contact your captain early in your trip so you can look for a date with the best weather possible.

Top Targeted Species in Cape Hatteras

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Tuna (Yellowfin)

Wahoo

Spanish Mackerel

Top Cape Hatteras Destinations