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
Trips start at $200.00
Max guests: 3
A potential advertisement for vacationers to Portsmouth and Portsmouth Island, North Carolina would go something like this: “No lodging. No restaurants. No businesses. No bait shops. No electricity…well, pretty much no nothing. Accessible only by boat or ferry. Bring your own everything. And that’s a good thing.”
That’s why there’s a short list of visitors who come to this stretch of the Outer Banks compared to other hotspots along the East Coast. But this small 13-mile-long island is appealing to a large number of people who often make more than one trip to Portsmouth. And they don’t seem to mind roughing it as campers, enjoying incredible fishing from the shore and having the island pretty much to themselves, even if they do have to bring everything with them.
Getting to the island isn’t as hard as it might seem. There is a daily tour that leaves out of nearby Ocracoke Harbor that takes visitors to the island and includes a tour of the historic and deserted island village. It also takes guests to the beaches that are covered with seashells and solitude. Portsmouth Island is a shellers paradise, with uncounted numbers of intact seashells washing ashore daily. Folks that come to the island on their own can ride in a boat and bring enough gear for the day or even a long weekend of camping and roughing it on the last little stretch of undeveloped coastal island in the state. Campers must follow Cape Lookout National Seashore guidelines including leaving nothing behind and taking nothing but pictures, fresh catches of fish and seashell finds. The National Park Service Campground, located at the southern end of Portsmouth Island next to the Morris Marina Ferry docks offers a little bit more organized “camping” experience. The cottages have generators to provide lighting, functioning stoves, hot showers, and even air conditioning in the summer.
Portsmouth does also have a group of about 20 historical cottages and buildings clustered on the southern part of the island. The National Parks Service manages those and they are part of an organized tour. Included are the old Life-Saving Station, Henry Pigott’s House, the Methodist Church, a one-room school, and the Salter House Visitor’s center. Many visitors to Portsmouth often stay in Hatteras or Ocracoke Islands and make day trips. From there, you can also find some fantastic fishing charters for a trip either inshore into the Pamlico Sound or off the coast in the Atlantic Ocean.
Fishing on Portsmouth Island is like most other areas of the Outer Banks: seasonal. The time of year will determine what you’re catching. The variety here matches anywhere on the coast, and has the added benefit of not having much competition. Anglers can catch everything from trout, flounder, mackerel, mullet and more. The big redfish that run the shores are also a big draw for both local and visiting anglers.
The inshore fishing in Pamlico Sound is good all year round. Some species like the big migrating red drum and striped bass are seasonal, but you can always go catch speckled trout, flounder and puppy drum. There are also good populations of bluefish and weakfish. The Pamlico Sound and rivers that feed it are all great fisheries and just a short boat ride away. Numerous guides in the region offer a variety of trips based on what is biting best and what you like to catch. The entire Albemarle-Pamlico Sound system makes up the second largest estuary in the entire United States.
Taking a charter offshore from the Portsmouth area opens up the entire Atlantic Ocean along the North Carolina coast. There are easy nearshore trips where you can troll for mackerel or drop down a jig for redfish and flounder. Or you can go long and hit amberjack, Mahi Mahi, large flounder, cobia, barracuda, tuna and billfish out near the Gulf Stream.
Striped bass also roam the shores of the island at certain times of the year and put up a fight that makes a lifetime memory.
No matter what kind of adventure you’re looking for, we recommend hiring a local professional guide to take your group. They can customize a great trip on these waters for good catches and safety out in the big waters.
With a history that is unmatched and a present that offers something most places don’t offer – solitude, the Portsmouth area is an exciting adventure for those who take it on. While fishing can be great right off the shore, those that take their angling seriously will also want to mix in a charter from one of our FirstAnywhere captains. Paired with the perfect guide for what you like to catch, you are bound to have a great time and just enjoy the fishing while they do all the work.