Outer Banks Fish Species and Seasons!

Spring Fish Species and Seasons (April - May)

As the Outer Banks Spring begins, the fish start migrating north along the coastal waters and the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream is a north flowing warm water current that fish use as a highway. When the air temperatures on land are chilly, the air temperatures in the Gulf Stream waters can be quite balmy. You might leave the dock wearing a heavy jacket or sweat shirt and end up fishing the Gulf Stream in a t-shirt.

Offshore - The deep sea offshore fishing out of Oregon Inlet picks up steam in May with good catches of yellowfin tuna, big gaffer mahi and an occasional wahoo.

Inshore - Inshore fishing is still a bit "iffy" until June but schools of bluefish, red drum or stripers are often hanging around the inlet. Check with our booking desk to see what is biting and what is available on inshore and makeup charters.


Inshore charter catch of Outer Banks spanish mackerel.

Summer Fish Species and Seasons (June - August)

Mid-Summer with tourism season in full swing and the days getting warmer, the Outer Banks fishing season is getting just as heated! Most of the charter boats are fishing every day that the weather is acceptable and the captains are usually right on the location of the fish. Our booking desk is always available to get families and also individual makeup anglers hooked up with those last minute arrangements.

Offshore - Anglers can expect possibility of catching yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna, wahoo, gaffer and bailer mahi, sailfish, white marlin and blue marlin.

Inshore - Massive schools of spanish mackerel and bluefish will be hanging out around Oregon Inlet. Occasionally other species like cobia and false albacore will also be available for inshore boats. This is the time of year that family charters are most popular.


Fall Fish Species and Seasons (Sept - November)

The tourist crowds have thinned out soon after labor day and the fish are getting hungry bulking up for the approaching southerly migrations. For fishermen this can be an exciting time to visit the Outer Banks. As the Carolina inland weather starts cooling off for fall, the Gulf Steam remains warm and balmy while keeping the coastal weather 10 degrees or more warmer all the way through November. Even as late as Thanksgiving the Outer Banks can be a warm weather fisherman's paradise.

Offshore - September still will have some white and blue marlin hanging around as well as some awesome yellowfin tuna and blackfin tuna. Massive schools of mahi seem to be everywhere migrating to warm southern waters for the winter and of course wahoo can show up anytime you're fishing. November is known for the occasional giant bluefin or huge bigeye tuna to be mixed in with the catch.

Inshore - Spanish mackerel schools will begin to disappear during the fall but larger size bluefish, king mackerel and false albacore will sometimes be within a few miles of the beach and inlet. Inside the Pamlico Sound striped bass fishing is a regular fall staple for our boats.


Fall offshore charter catch of Bluefin tuna on Dock.

Winter Fish Species and Seasons (Dec - March)

Occasionally the weather breaks and the winds subside so that our boats can venture offshore. If a captain deems it safe, the fishing is likely going to be exceptional. Winter fishing is normally hit or miss depending on the weather. We watch the weather and let anglers know what the forecast is.

Offshore - The yellowfin tuna , blackfin tuna and king mackerel fishing are normally the main targets. Many anglers keep in contact with us to let them know if the giant bluefin tuna have shown up.

Inshore - Some years the areas around the inlet will have large schools of striped bass or big chopper bluefish. Hatteras and Ocracoke Inlets will also have large red drum available during the winter.


Other Fish Species

The charter fishing on the Outer Banks goes on twelve months a year. The target species often depends on the time of year. Certain species often require unique sport fishing methods that aren't practiced by every boat. Trolling is the most popular method for many OUter Banks deep sea charter boats. Drifting or deep jigging is not as popular but can produce species that cannot be caught with standard trolling methods. We have boats that specialize in deep drop wreck jigging methods popular with many northern anglers. During your conversation with our booking desk we will ask if there is a particular species you would like to catch or method you would prefer to use. We will also tell you what fish have been available and the methods required.

The article above mentions only the most popular sport fish. There are many other species caught regularly on our Outer Banks charters like amberjack, atlantic bonito, various sharks like mako or dusky, triggerfish, tilefish, snappers, ribbonfish and many more.