The Outer Banks "The Billfish Capital of The World"
Nowhere on earth does the sun rise and set over waters more abundant or breathtaking than
The Outer Banks. Whether casting off for a leisurely sail, or casting a line for dinner, you’ll
find The Outer Banks is world-renowned for pleasure boating and recreational fishing.
Featuring some of the nation’s best angling waters, The Outer Banks is a sports fisherman’s
paradise. And no wonder. The Outer Banks is comprised of 800 square miles, of which 409
square miles is water. From open sea to sheltered coves, across the gleaming waters of five
sounds, The Outer Banks offers more action per square foot than just about anywhere else.
For good reason, The Outer Banks is known as "The Billfish Capital of the World." Hundreds
of blue marlin, white marlin and sailfish are caught and released in Outer Banks waters every
year. The season for billfish is long, with the peak for blue marlin arriving in June and white
marlin and sailfish most plentiful in August and September. All are caught consistently from
late spring to early fall.
The Gulf Stream runs approximately 30 miles off The Outer Banks coast, providing the
offshore angler with a wide variety of fish all year. Probably the most sought-after species is
the yellowfin tuna, which is caught year round. Another type of tuna that has, in recent years,
made quite a splash in the area, is the giant bluefin tuna. Ranging from 200 to more than 1,000
pounds, they are known to be a challenge for even the professionals. The season for bluefin
tuna is generally early January through late March, and this species is normally caught and
released. Visitors should let the charter boat captain know in advance, if they are interested in
this species. Other species taken while trolling offshore include wahoo, dolphin (the fish!),
king mackerel and mako.
Offshore charter boats usually carry a maximum of six people for a full day of fishing. The
charters are run by professional captains and mates. All bait, tackle and equipment are
provided. Anglers need to bring their own food and drinks as well as a cooler for taking home
their catch. Inshore charters are available for half-day trips and don't venture out as far as the
offshore charters. Inshore, anglers can catch king mackerel, big blues, cobia and amberjack
during the spring and fall and tailor blues and Spanish mackerel from late April through
September. Most inshore boats carry four to six people. Charters can be booked at local
marinas. If visitors are unable to arrange a group, marinas will put together "make-up" charters.
Don't want to go on a boat?
Take advantage of the many piers the Outer Banks has to offer or fish the miles of surf line.