Cape Hatteras Fishing
Of all Outer Banks fishing locations, many would argue that Cape Hatteras is the mecca, the big kahuna, the place that serious anglers call home.
Some would even say it’s the North Carolina sport-fishing capital. And, believe us, Hatteras Island fishing is serious business. Cape Hatteras charter fishing boats go after the big game of the Gulf Stream that’s easily accessible from Hatteras Village marinas year round. The notoriety of the Outer Banks fishing experience has spread so far and wide that many visitors come here for that alone. Nevermind the beach, sound, shopping or whatever else those other visitors come for. For anglers with the penchant for Hatteras Island fishing, nothing else hooks their attention.
So, why is Cape Hatteras fishing such a big deal? It’s the chance to head offshore on a fishing charter to fight blue and white marlin, sailfish and giant bluefin tuna or to bring in a healthy catch of yellowfin tuna and mahi-mahi. If you ever experience the thrill of strapping into a chair, feeling that initial tug and then hanging in through the long, sometimes exhausting and always exhilarating reeling in of that huge fish, you know that it’s an experience you want to repeat. There’s fishing, then there’s Cape Hatteras charter fishing.
We know — it almost sounds like an exclusive club of Hatteras Island anglers in the know, right? But, actually, anyone can charter a boat to take them offshore fishing. The boats take up to six passengers and supply all the bait and tackle you’ll need plus a mate who’ll do everything but reel in your fish. And, with six Hatteras Village marinas, you can get on a boat somewhere!
Of course, offshore fishing charters aren’t the only draw for the fish-afflicted. Fishing the Hatteras Island sound, on near-shore wrecks, in the surf and from piers is equally popular. During certain times of the year, especially fall and spring, surf fishing is phenomenal on the Outer Banks. Red drum, striped bass and bluefish are some of the favorite fall surf catches, along with flounder, trout, sea mullet and pompano in the summer. If you need a little surf fishing advice, ask at the local Hatteras Island tackle shops. Numerous guides are available to take you out on inshore fishing trips in the sound or on near-shore ocean wrecks. There are currently two fishing piers in this area.
A NOTE FOR ANGLERS: Saltwater anglers in North Carolina are required to buy a Coastal Recreational Fishing License. The license can be purchased on a 10-day, annual or lifetime basis or combined with other licenses issued by the Wildlife Resources Commission. Children younger than 16 do not need a license. For-hire vessels and ocean fishing piers have the option to purchase a blanket license that covers all their fishing patrons, so you may not need the license to fish on a certain pier or charter boat; be sure to ask. Fishing licenses can be purchased online at www.ncwildlife.org or by calling (888) 248-6834 or at many of the local tackle shops.
- 57976 N.C. Highway 12, Foster's Quay
- Hatteras Village
- (252) 986-2515
The Albatross Fleet, based at Foster’s Quay, is legendary in Hatteras Village. The Foster family were pioneers of charter fishing on the Carolina coast, and their charter fishing business has been in operation for more than 75 years! The three boats are distinctive, round-sterned vessels that were built specifically for fishing the local waters. Capt. Ernie Foster, who has fished every season for the past 45 years, as well as his other local captains and mates offer offshore and nearshore trips. The Albatross Fleet has its own private dock and fishing-cleaning services.
- 53610 N.C. Highway 12
- (252) 995-5366
Frisco Rod & Gun offers all the goods for the avid outdoor sportsman. Guns, hunting gear, clothing, fishing rods, fly fishing gear, conventional tackle for offshore, inshore and surf fishing, bait, waders, sunglasses, binoculars – you name it, it’s here. You can buy the N.C. Recreational Fishing License here too. It’s also a convenience store selling gas, snacks, drinks and a good selection of groceries and beach gear.
- 58058 N.C. Highway 12
- Hatteras Village
- (252) 986-2166
This full-service marina books offshore and inshore fishing trips year round with a 24-boat charter fleet. They offer deepwater slip rentals with water and electric hookups and sell diesel fuel. Shower and laundry facilities, apartment rentals, a gift shop and the Harbor Deli are on site.
- 23902 N.C. Highway 12
- (252) 987-2428
Advanced Fishing is well-known for its expertise in building custom rods and reels. They also stock all the bait and tackle you could need for a Hatteras Island fishing trip. In addition to their custom rods and reels, Advanced Fishing sells Century fishing rods, the finest in fishing and tournament casting.
Avon Fishing Pier
- 41001 N.C. Highway 12
- (252) 995-5480
Stretching about 650 feet into the Atlantic Ocean, Avon Pier offers excellent fishing plus a pier house store selling fishing gear, bait and tackle, drinks, sandwiches, gifts and T-shirts. You can also rent fishing gear if you need it. Call to ask about fishing prices. Fishing costs $12 for adults, $11 for teens and $8 for kids 12 and younger. Sightseers are charged $1. The pier is open from 6 a.m. until midnight in season; call for off-season hours. The Avon Pier closes in the winter months.
- 57878 N.C. Highway 12, Oden's Dock
- Hatteras Village
- (252) 986-2365
Cap’n Clam is a 68-foot head boat offering daily half-day fishing trips in the Pamlico Sound and Hatteras Inlet area for fish such as flounder, trout and sea bass and many others. The boat makes two trips a day (8 a.m. to 12 noon or 1 to 5 p.m.) every day except Sunday. All bait and tackle is provided, and there’s a mate on board to assist. Half-day fishing trips are great options for families with young children because they are just the right length for a child’s attention span. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights from 6 to 7 p.m., all the rowdy mateys will want to come back on board for the Pirate Adventure Cruise, which promises lots of pirate-style shenanigans. Cap’n Clam will be running a Kids’ Camp this year, which will start with face painting at the docks before moving to the boat where kids will take a ride, do some fishing, pull crab pots, learn boating skills and finish up with snacks and a talk about pirates and pirate lore. Call for days and details. Reservations are recommended for all trips. For celebrations or special events, consider a custom charter of the Cap’n Clam.
- 46792 N.C. Highway 12
- (252) 995-5083
This is really two stores in one. Downstairs it’s a tackle shop with bait, tackle, rods and reels, gas, gear, waders, boots, snacks, rod and reel repair, custom-rod building, tide charts and everything else for fishermen. Upstairs it’s a gift shop and gallery with artwork, prints, ceramics, candles, local interest books, novelties, lighthouse figurines, Vera Bradley purses and accessories, T-shirts and many other gifts and souvenirs. They also have a handy digital photo machine where you can print your photos off your digital camera. Dillon’s Corner recently added a coffee bar, serving Starbucks coffee, espresso, lattes, cappuccinos and more. Free WiFi is available.
Frank and Fran’s Fisherman’s Friend
- 40210 N.C. Highway 12
- (252) 995-4171
This tackle shop calls itself the “Fisherman’s Friend” because it offers everything an angler could need, including a humidor with fine cigars for those times when the bite is slow. Frank and Fran’s sells fresh bait and tackle, fishing supplies and gear, ice, beverages and much more. Stop by for fishing advice, the N.C. Recreational Fishing License, information on Cape Hatteras Anglers Club tournaments and a complimentary cup of coffee. This is an official weigh station.
- 52570 N.C. Highway 12
- (252) 995-3229
Recently under new ownership, Frisco Tackle offers everything you need for fishing — bait and tackle, gear, ice, beer and wine, drinks, convenience items, rod and reel rentals, clam rake rentals and more. You’ll also find a good selection of gifts, T-shirts, beach goods, toys and more.
Hatteras Landing Marina
- 58848 Marina Way
- Hatteras Village
- (252) 986-2077
The southernmost marina on the island, next to the ferry docks and closest to the inlet, Hatteras Landing books both inshore and offshore fishing charters year round, including make-up charters for only $240 per person. Slip rentals for boats up to 90 feet are available, with power and water hookups at every slip. Showers, laundry facilities, a well-stocked convenience store with snack and drink items, and a take-out restaurant are on site.
- 26248 N.C. Highway 12
- (252) 987-2097, (252) 202-8388
Island Cruisers offers a wide variety of car rentals on Hatteras Island, including four-wheel-drive vehicles such as Jeep Wranglers, Cherokees and Chevy Suburbans for both beach and road cruising. They also have regular two-wheel-drive car rentals, ranging from economy to mid-size to multi-passenger vehicles as well as a classic antique car for weddings and special occasions. These vehicles can be used for sightseeing all over the Outer Banks, not just Hatteras Island. You can also rent a classic VW-powered fiberglass convertible Buggy that’s a blast to drive—this is for street use only and is designated for daily sightseeing trips between Hatteras and Ocracoke. Island Cruisers recently added golf cart rentals as well. Fishing accessories are available. Reservations are highly recommended, as they book up quickly.
Mac’s Tackle-Island Convenience
- 23532 N.C. Highway 12
- (252) 987-2239
Island Convenience is a one-stop shop. They sell gas, groceries, beer and wine, beach supplies, propane cylinders, sundries, ice, souvenirs, T-shirts and other clothing, plus they have a bait and tackle shop and a deli for hot, quick meals (see Marilyn’s Deli in Restaurants). Storage for boats, campers and RVs is available on a weekly or monthly basis.
- Oden’s Dock, 57878 N.C. Highway 12
- Hatteras Village
- (252) 986-2365
This 75-foot head boat makes daily trips in season to the fishing grounds, with individuals paying “by the head” or a per-person fee to go along. All the gear and tackle you’ll need, along with instruction from the helpful crew, is provided. Miss Hatteras takes full-day (10 hours) trips to the Gulf Stream to bottom fish for triggerfish, snapper, grouper, sea bass and more. Half-day (4 hours) trips stay closer to shore and target sea bass, flounder, triggerfish and others. If you don’t want to fish, join them on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings from 6:30-8 p.m. for the Dolphin and Wildlife Sunset Cruise. You just relax and enjoy the breezes and spectacular Hatteras sunset while the crew points out dolphin, native birds and other local wildlife. Miss Hatteras is available for private charter for weddings, parties and other events.
- 57878 N.C. Highway 12
- Hatteras Village
- (252) 986-2555
Oden’s Dock books inshore and offshore fishing charters year round. Two head boats operate from here, the Miss Hatteras and the Capt’n Clam. Slip rentals with electric and water hookups are available. Oden’s sells gas and diesel fuel, and the Ship’s Store sells tackle, oil, food and drinks and gift items. Risky Business Seafood Market, Breakwater Inn, Breakwater Restaurant and Parasailing, Jet ski and kayak tours are also on site.
Red Drum Tackle Shop
- 46813 N.C. Highway 12
- (252) 995-5414
The legendary Red Drum, serving Hatteras Island since 1954, offers all the bait, tackle, supplies, gear and advice you’ll need plus rod building and repair. You can buy the N.C. Recreational Fishing License here. It’s in a strip center that also houses a grocery store, a gas station, an auto parts store and an auto repair shop. You can check them out online and on Facebook.
Right on 12
- 46896 Buxton Oaks Lane and N.C. Highway 12
- (252) 986-0051
This little shop has all the tackle you’ll need to head out to nearby Cape Point and start fishing. You can also grab cold drinks, snacks, ice cream and a sno-cone to take with you to the beach. There are T-shirts and souvenirs, too. Right on 12 is located beside Uncle Eddy’s in Buxton. They’re open seasonally.
- 24251 Atlantic Avenue
- (252) 987-0030
At a newly repaired and extended 700 feet, this fishing pier, now under new ownership and management, offers some of the best fishing on Hatteras Island. The pier house has everything you need — bait, tackle sales and rentals, snacks, drinks, beer, beach supplies, souvenirs, restrooms and a fully air-conditioned game room. Daily fishing costs $12 for adults and $7 for children ages 10 and younger. Walk-ons pay $2. Three-day, weekly and seasonal passes are available; call for prices. Ask your vacation rental agency about renting a house that has bought a house pass, which allows up to six people in the rental home to fish for free for the week. The pier is open from April 1 through December 15, but these dates vary depending on the fishing so call ahead. During peak season, hours are 6 a.m. to midnight; off-season hours vary. By the way, several scenes in the movie Nights in Rodanthe were filmed on this pier.
Scotch Bonnet Marina and Campground
- 51684 N.C. Highway 12
- (252) 995-4242, (888) 354-4242
The Scotch Bonnet Marina and Campground offers full hook-up RV sites at weekly, monthly and yearly rates. Whether arriving by land or sea, the marina has a boat ramp and a newly dredged channel to accommodate boats of all sizes. Located at MP 65 1/2 next to the Scotch Bonnet gift shop and just minutes away from Hatteras Inlet, the marina offers boat dockage with electric and water. A large bathhouse and laundromat are also on the premises.
Teach’s Lair Marina
- 58646 N.C. Highway 12
- Hatteras Village
- (252) 986-2460
Teach’s Lair is a full-service marina offering both inshore and offshore fishing charters year round as well as fish-cleaning services. Slip rentals with hookups are available by the day, week, month or year. A ramp for launching boats can be used for a $10 fee. A convenience store, ship’s store and tackle shop are onsite, and you can self-purchase an N.C. Recreational Fishing License on their computer. They also sell gas and diesel fuel and N.C. Education Lottery tickets. There’s an ATM here too. The onsite Billfish Bar and Grill is a great place to get a meal.
The Blue Whale
- 27307 N.C. Highway 12
- (252) 987-2335
The Blue Whale has been in business on Hatteras Island for 42 years. They sell just about all the convenience items you’ll need plus other fun stuff, including bait and tackle, groceries, hot sauces, gourmet coffee beans, imported and domestic beer, wine, beach supplies, ice, gas and diesel fuel, books and magazines. The Blue Whale also has a propane exchange, offers notary service and has an ATM.
The Fishin’ Hole
- 27204 Sand Street and N.C. Highway 12
- (252) 987-2351
In business since the 1970s, The Fishin’ Hole is a full-service tackle shop with bait and tackle plus brand-name rods and reels. It is an official weigh station, and the staff repairs rods and reels. They also sell beer and wine, snacks and drinks, beach supplies (including $9.99 beach chairs), T-shirts, waders, hip boots and clothing. You can buy the N.C. Recreational Fishing License here.
- 57980 N.C. Highway 12
- Hatteras Village
- (252) 986-2522
The folks at Village Marina call this the “best little dink marina anywhere.” Small as it is, Village Marina offers slip rentals with water and electric hookups, a boat ramp with parking ($10 fee), gas and a ship’s store with tackle and supplies. The Village Marina Motel and Dinky’s Restaurant are also on site. (See Accommodations and Restaurants.) You can also check them all out online.