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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.

Albatross Fleet

Albatross Fleet Marina
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 54 years, as well as his other local captains and mates offer offshore and nearshore trips. The Albatross Fleet has its own private dock and fish-cleaning services.

Hatteras Harbor Marina

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.

Miss Hatteras and Cap'N Clam

Oden’s Dock
57878 N.C. Highway 12
Hatteras Village
(252) 986-2365

Miss Hatteras, a 75-foot head boat makes daily trips in season to the fishing grounds, with individuals paying a per-person fee to go along. All the gear and tackle you’ll need, along with instruction from the helpful crew, is provided. On Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays Miss Hatteras takes full-day (6:30 a.m to 4 p.m.) trips to the Gulf Stream to bottom fish for triggerfish, snapper, sea bass and more. Half-day (4 hours) trips stay closer to shore and target sea bass, flounder, triggerfish and others on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. 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, memorial services and other events.

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 bluefish and many others. The boat makes two trips a day (8 a.m. to 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 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. On Thursday nights from 6:30 to 8 you can join them for a Groove Cruise, featuring live music and dancing while touring the Pamlico Sound at sunset with your favorite beverage. Reservations are recommended for all trips. For celebrations or special events, consider a custom charter of the Cap’N Clam.  

The Tuna Duck

Hatteras Harbor Marina
(252) 216-6160

Captain Dan Rooks and mate take the 50’ custom-built Tuna Duck out of Hatteras Harbor Marina in Hatteras Village, meaning you’re just a short run to the famous deep-sea fishing grounds of the Gulf Stream. Rooks has decades of charter boat experience and knows the waters and how to follow the fish — you can count on a great day on the water. You’ll be going after yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, dolphin, wahoo, blue and white marlin, sailfish and king mackerel. He specializes in the jigging and popping style as well as live bait fishing.