Trips start at $600.00
Max guests: 6
Trips start at $400.00
Max guests: 4
Trips start at $625.00
Max guests: 6
Trips start at $225.00
Max guests: 4
For many, the phrase “island time” conjures up images of turquoise blue water and palm tree dotted beaches in the Caribbean. For residents of North Carolina’s Outer Banks however, “Ocracoke time” may be more fitting. Ocracoke is among the southernmost islands in the Outer Banks, accessible only by air or ferry. Although access is limited, the island is home to tranquil waterfront lodges, quaint shops, and fantastic seafood restaurants. Whether you want to spend a quiet weekend relaxing or make a day trip out of kitesurfing, Ocracoke is the perfect getaway.
Not surprisingly, the Atlantic Ocean has played an integral role in the island’s history and contemporary culture. From a pirate hideout in the 1700’s, to a vital shipping waypoint, to a world class sportfishing destination today, Ocracoke’s shores hold centuries of stories. With fishing so accessible, a trip to the island is not complete without wetting a line. Here’s what to expect.
Inshore fishing on Ocracoke Island will give you as good of a shot as any at some of the top inshore targets in the region. Though there are no true fishing piers on the island, there are numerous local charter captains that know these waters well. Book with a professional captain for an opportunity at red drum, black drum, spanish mackerel, bluefish, pompano and more. Of the variety of species you can encounter here inshore, the red drum reigns supreme, and is most often targeted.
Red drum fishing in the Outer Banks is among the best in the world, with anglers visiting from around the country for a chance at a personal best fish. The 94-pound world record red drum was caught off of Hatteras, and their migration patterns bring monster fish through the area twice a year in the late spring and early fall. The spring run is typically on by the end of April, and tapers off in the summer. The big drum are back in September, and stick around through October and early November. During these times, anglers report instances of schools so dense, the water seems to take on a bronze tint.
Bait and tackle vary, and depend on the fishing conditions and environment. Red drum will eat cut or live bait, as well as artificials. Lures that imitate a mullet will typically draw a strike from red drum in a range of sizes and environments. Anglers going for the biggest red drum off the beaches will want to use a nice chunk of cut mullet or menhaden with heavier tackle. Red drum cruising the grass flats tend to be a bit smaller, and are a blast on lighter tackle.
Ocracoke’s proximity to the Gulf Stream makes it one of the world’s premier offshore sport fishing destinations. The Gulf Stream is a warm water current originating in the Gulf of Mexico, hence its name. This current attracts baitfish, in turn attracting offshore predators. Common targets in these open waters include blue and white marlin, along with mahi and tuna.
Mahi are among the best tasting fish in the sea, and put up a great fight on matched tackle. Sizes range greatly, from 3-10 pound schoolies to 60 pound beasts. They are very attracted to floating weedlines, so keep an eye on the water’s surface.
The two main types of tuna targeted off of Ocracoke are bluefin and yellowfin tuna. Though both are great eating, yellowfin tends to be leaner and lighter tasting. You may recognize yellowfin on a menu as “Ahi Tuna.” That being said, bluefin is among the most sought-after and prestigious fish money can buy, in some instances selling for millions at auction. Both provide a true fishing adventure, however the bluefin grows much larger. Anglers who have ever been curious as to what hooking up to a speeding compact car feels like can put their imagination to rest battling a bluefin.
Finally, the marlin. A blue marlin is essentially an internationally renowned symbol of offshore sport fishing. Immortalized in Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, this is a bucket list fish for anglers from around the world. They are typically caught trolling, and require an “all hands on deck” approach to reel a big one boatside. The captain will back down the boat towards the fish while the angler reels furiously to gain line back. As the fish gets closer, the deck mate will grab the leader to control the fish boatside.
Whether you are looking for a personal best Outer Banks red drum or the fight of a lifetime offshore, the quaint island of Ocracoke is the perfect starting point. Book with a local professional fishing guide to truly experience everything that this fishery has to offer. Search Ocracoke charters, and reserve your trip date with a deposit today, only on FishAnywhere.com!