Nags Head Fishing: The Complete Guide

Studying Time: 9 minutes

Nags Head, NC, sits within the north of the Outer Banks – a string of islands separating sheltered sounds and open ocean. Life revolves across the ocean right here, and Nags Head fishing is particular to say the least. With enormous fish in each depth of water and probably the most legendary fishing heritages on the East Coast, it’s nearly impolite to not fish when you’re on the town.

In every single place within the OBX has fish, however this easy-going city balances all that motion with easy accessibility and lots to do off the water, making it the proper place for a trip. On this article, you will discover out all in regards to the native angling scene so that you’re rigged and prepared while you arrive. Species, spots, seasons – there’s rather a lot to cowl, so let’s soar in!

Nags Head Fish Species

Nags Head is actually surrounded by water, so there’s no scarcity of fish to catch. If something, there are too many species on supply. That will help you slim issues down, listed below are a number of of the highest targets to tackle throughout your keep.

Purple Drum

There’s no disputing who guidelines the shallows right here. Purple Drum swarm the seashores and sounds round Nags Head, straining muscle tissues and filling bellies all around the island. It’s not only a numbers recreation with Drum, thoughts you. The IGFA world report was set simply down the coast in Avon, and trophies nonetheless high the 50 lb mark yearly.

The sportfishing crowd will need to get their arms on Nags Head’s Bull Reds. Nevertheless, in case you’re in it for the meat, you’re significantly better off with smaller “Pet Drum.” They’re completely scrumptious, a lot simpler to catch, and you will discover them in all however the depths of winter. What’s extra, protecting smaller fish doesn’t impression the species practically as a lot as harvesting a giant breeder Bull.


Nothing tells you that the fishing season has began just like the arrival of Cobia. These brown bruisers roll onto the wrecks in early Could and stick round nicely into the summer time. The simplest method to goal them is to chum the water and wait. Curiosity kills the Cobia, and so they can’t assist trying out what’s happening when there’s blood within the water.

“Cobia sound nice, however I’m not visiting till the autumn!” Not an issue! There’s one other huge, hard-fighting fish to look out for on the finish of summer time: King Mackerel. Huge “Smoker Kings” are the speak of the city from October. Opinion varies on how they acquired their title. Some say it’s as a result of they’re scrumptious when smoked. Others assume it’s from the way in which they smoke your reels in case you’re not cautious. Each are actually true.


Yearly, the Outer Banks are house to not two, not three, however 4 species of Tuna. Yellowfin can be found many of the yr, peaking in late spring and fall. Visiting in summer time? Strive for scrumptious Bigeye, or load up on small-but-mighty Blackfin which stick round till the top of autumn.

Even with none of these species, Nag’s Head remains to be one of many hottest Tuna spots on the planet. Why? Due to the enormous Bluefin Tuna that come crashing into city in winter. That is actual bucket-list fishing, and you’ve got two pictures at it annually. Go to in December for smaller fish near shore, or courageous the February chills to battle 500 lb monsters additional out.


If something might high a day battling Tuna, it will be releasing a number of Billfish alongside the way in which. Blue and White Marlin spend their complete summers within the heat waters of the Gulf Stream, simply off Nags Head. They’re additionally joined by Sailfish and Spearfish for a correct household reunion. 

Blue Marlin are the most important fish within the household. They common 200-500 kilos within the OBX, however there are a lot larger fish on the market, too. Simply ask the man who landed a 1,228 lb beast in 2008. White Marlin are smaller, usually weighing 60-80 kilos. They’re way more athletic, although, and nonetheless lots large enough to place cramps in your arms for days.

And Extra!

Shark fishing is extremely widespread right here, each inshore and offshore. The Flounder chew is nice, though the season’s quick to guard the species. There are Striped Bass in winter, Tarpon in summer time, and Amberjack all yr spherical.

We might spend all day speaking about what you may catch in Nags Head and we’d solely be midway by the checklist. Try our full fishing calendar in case you’re fascinated about a selected species or a sure time of yr.

Learn how to Fish in Nags Head

As you’ve in all probability gathered, anglers are spoiled for selection within the Outer Banks. No shock, then, that you’ve a number of choices of easy methods to moist a line right here. These are the most well-liked methods to fish in Nags Head, and the professionals and cons of every one.

Surf Fishing

Hit the seashore to reel in Purple Drum, Bluefish, Flounder, and Sharks all through many of the yr. You may also discover Tarpon through the summer time, in addition to Striped Bass in case you’re round throughout winter. We’re not simply speaking about slot-size fish, both. A number of the largest Drum of the season are caught from shore annually.

The fish themselves are solely a part of the enchantment of surf fishing. You’ll be spending the day on a good looking sandy seashore, casting into crashing waves and basking within the morning solar. Even higher, you are able to do all this whereas having fun with a household day trip. The draw back is that seashores get very busy throughout vacationer season, so make sure to hit the sand early.

Pier Fishing

Nags Head doesn’t have a fishing pier – it has three! Jennette’s Pier and Nags Head Fishing Pier are the most well-liked. They each have sort out outlets and restrooms, and placed on numerous occasions all through the summer time. In the event that they’re just a little too busy, head all the way down to the Outer Banks Fishing Pier for extra of an old-timey, sluggish lane vibe.

Not that the fishing will likely be anyplace close to sluggish. Count on all of the species you’d discover within the surf, plus Cobia, Kingfish, False Albacore, Black Seabass, and far, way more. Simply roll up, lease a rod, and reel in dinner! Pier fishing lacks the complete outdoorsy really feel that you just get on the seashore, however it provides a significantly better catch charge.

Head Boat Fishing

Head boats are an inexpensive method to get onto the water and catch fish which you can’t attain from shore. The principle targets are backside fish and reef-dwellers like Black Seabass, Kingfish, Cobia, and Amberjack. You might also see bluewater brawlers like Mahi Mahi and Tuna in case you’re fortunate. All this, for about the identical value as a day on a pier when you embrace rod rental.

Head boat fishing is enjoyable, however it’s not for everybody. It’s possible you’ll be sharing the deck with 30 different anglers. The crew will do rounds helping the place they will, however it’s worthwhile to be assured with untangling traces and rigging baits in case you don’t need to wait. On the similar time, eager anglers might discover themselves aching for the world’s well-known huge recreation chew.

Constitution Fishing

Put merely, charters are the final word method to fish. Goal what you need, the way you need. Load up on meals very quickly or head offshore searching for Marlin, Tuna, and deep-water backside fish. The one limits are your ambitions and your price range. Constitution fishing is dearer than different types of angling, however you get your cash’s price.

For those who’re a newbie, the captain will present you the ropes and show you how to deliver the fish aboard. They’ll additionally act as a neighborhood information, instructing you in regards to the space. For expert sport fishing varieties, personal charters supply the possibility to battle the most important and meanest fish within the sea. Count on top-notch tools and profession crews on all native fishing charters. That is the Outer Banks, in any case.

Nags Head Fishing Spots

You realize what you need to catch and the way you need to catch it, however the place do you have to go? Listed below are a number of productive spots to get you began. After that, speaking to native anglers is all the time one of the simplest ways to search out the native honey holes.

  • Oregon Inlet: Whether or not you’re on a ship, a kayak, or fishing from shore, this is likely one of the greatest locations to go. Large Purple Drum, Bluefish, Mackerel, Cobia, and way more hand around in this deep passage between sound and ocean. Be careful for boat site visitors in case you’re getting onto the water, although.
  • Albemarle Sound: Sound fishing is an OBX specialty. Albemarle Sound isn’t the closest, however it provides an unbeatable mixture of contemporary and brackish water. Wade out or take a constitution to battle Striped Bass, Purple Drum, Noticed Seatrout, Flounder, Catfish, Perch, Crappie, Shad – the checklist simply retains on going.
  • Jennette’s Fishing Pier: The entire fishing piers round Nags Head are nice. This one’s the longest, although, stretching 1,000 toes into the ocean. Pull in tasty Drum and Sheepshead close to the seashore or sight solid to indignant King Mackerel and Cobia on the finish. Both approach, you’re in for a load of enjoyable.
  • Advance II Wreck: A big wreck in round 80 toes of water, simply eight miles offshore from Nags Head. It is a widespread spot with each anglers and divers, and is house to Triggerfish, Spadefish, Cobia, King Mackerel, Amberjack, and even Mahi Mahi, relying on while you go.
  • Tuna Gap: You don’t want three guesses of what you’ll goal right here. This legendary Tuna fishing spot sits round 40 miles out from Oregon Inlet, proper on the sting of the continental shelf. Whether or not you need Yellowfin, Bluefin, and even Billfish, that is the spot to strive.

When to Fish in Nags Head

It’s possible you’ll not have the luxurious of timing your holidays with the fishing seasons. Fortunately, the chew’s all the time on in Nags Head. Relying on while you’re on the town, you may additionally be capable to participate in a neighborhood fishing event – as if the fish themselves weren’t sufficient of a problem!

Fishing Tournaments

The aggressive season kicks off in April with the Nags Head Surf Fishing Membership Member-Visitor Event. Head to Jennette’s Pier in June for the Fritz Boyden Memorial Youth Event, and once more in October for the NC VIP Fishing Event. Formidable ‘yakkers can even paddle out for the Outer Banks Kayak Fishing Event in September.

And that’s with out even beginning on the world’s deep sea occasions. Jump over to Manteo for the Pirate’s Cove Billfish Event, and Alice Kelly Girls Billfish Event, the place you’ll battle monster Marlin and aggressive anglers from all around the nation. These occasions often run on consecutive weeks in August, so you would even join each in case you assume your arms can take it!

Fishing Seasons and Rules

Most species are open for harvest year-round in Nags Head, with a number of vital exceptions. You may solely hold Flounder in August and September, whereas Cobia are protected January by April. Black Seabass are solely open for harvest in February, so make sure that to bag some in case you’re on the town over winter!

Rules apart, it’s price noting that almost all constitution boats solely function spring by fall. You need to e book nicely prematurely if you’d like an opportunity on the winter Bluefin chew. The identical is true of lots of the native fishing piers, so make sure to name forward if you wish to go pier fishing out of season.

Nags Head, NC: A True Angling Paradise

Nags Head has one thing for each angler. Make a few casts off a neighborhood pier or velocity out to the sting of the continental shelf. Reel in one thing tasty for dinner or battle the oceans’ high predators. It’s all right here, with some beautiful views to maintain you content when the reels aren’t screaming. Discuss a dream angling vacation spot!

What would your dream Nags Head fishing journey seem like? Have you ever fished right here earlier than? What did you catch? Drop us a line within the feedback beneath. We’d love to listen to from you!

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