Pamlico Sound

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Fishing in Pamlico Sound

It’s no surprise that the largest lagoon on the US east coast is a hotspot for angling. Fishing the Pamlico Sound is a joy to behold. Protected from the choppy waters of the Atlantic by the Outer Banks (OBX), these calmer fishing grounds offer fun for everyone. Use it as a base for an offshore adventure or come and wet your line in the sound itself, the options are endless!
 
If Inshore fishing is what springs to mind when you hear the word “sound,” you’d be right. These shallow waters are home to exciting Bluefish, Striped Bass, and Black Drum, as well as delicious Redfish and Flounder. Tough-fighting Tarpon even make their way through in summer, so there’s no end to what you can catch without even leaving the sound.
 
Many captains here do offer the chance to go into the Atlantic, however, and the temptation of Kingfish, Cobia, Snappers, and Groupers is hard to deny. Add Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Tuna, Billfish, and Tilefish, and you’ll surely want to come. Trips beyond the inlets last from eight hours to a few days so if you only have a few hours to spare, then an inshore trip is for you.
 
One of the beauties of fishing the Pamlico Sound, though, is that you can’t go wrong. Take a charter out of anywhere from Wanchesee down to Hatteras and you’ll get what you want. This area was built on fishing, and locals are only too proud to keep that tradition going strong.
 

Rules & Regulations

In some other good news, you won’t need a license when fishing with a professional guide in saltwater. Beware of strict seasons and limits, especially for Flounder and Grouper, but rest assured your captain will make sure you're fishing within the law.
Pamlico Sound
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Pamlico Sound Fishing Seasons

With the disruptive weather, a trip offshore could be too dangerous. Despite the disappointment of missing out on the Tuna, you’ll have plenty of Striped Bass to target on the sound, so come fill the boat.
Bluefin Tuna is the aim if you find a day with clear weather to go out to the deep waters. Head offshore on a productive trip as you hunt these delicious beasts along with Yellowfins and Bigeyes, too!
While the Tuna remain a prized target offshore, you’ll also get to take advantage of the inshore coming into its own in March. Black Drum, Redfish, Flounder, and Bluefish join Striped Bass for a thrilling day out.
Both inshore and offshore fishing really start to hit their stride in April and you can sense that the peak season is on its way. Go after Yellowfins along the Gulf Stream or take advantage of the “Drum run” inshore.
Head south to Ocracoke for the famous fishing tournament that’s been running since 1983, as the Drum run continues on the sound, and Mahi Mahi and Wahoo join the offshore party. 
The beaches of the Outer Banks start filling up with tourists, and captains prepare to be fully booked throughout the summer. Book early to make the most of the fishing on the sound and beyond in June.
Nearshore fishing gets going in July and you’ll see why this is the peak season, with incredible fishing everywhere. Go after monster Cobia and Mackerel on the surf, target Tarpon inshore, or hunt Marlin offshore. 
It’s full steam ahead in August as tourists flock to the Atlantic coast and charter boats fill the sound. Whether it’s inshore, nearshore, or offshore action you want – this is the time to try all three.
As the crowds die down, the fishing heats up! Hit up the Hatteras Village Invitational Surf Fishing Tournament for some nearshore action and show off your skills for the chance to win a great reward.
Nags Head is the place to be in October. While it may seem that the fishing is quietening down, it’s far from it. Discover your senses at the Surf and Seafood Festival that is sure to make it feel like peak season.
Despite the waters getting choppier and the weather turning, fishing is still thrilling. The Cape Hatteras surf fishing competition has been running every November since 1957, so come and join in the fun.
See out the year in style with plenty of fishing trips. Head offshore when conditions are good and land a hearty Tuna, or fish the sounds throughout the winter for Stripers, Trout, Drum, and many more.

Pamlico Sound Fishing Calendar

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Top Targeted Species in Pamlico Sound

Spanish Mackerel

Spanish Mackerel

Cobia

Cobia

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Bluefish

Bluefish

Redfish

Redfish

King Mackerel (Kingfish)

King Mackerel (Kingfish)

Wahoo

Wahoo

Tuna (Yellowfin)

Tuna (Yellowfin)