Don’t know what type of charter is best for you and your family? What follows is a basic definition of the types of Outer Banks fishing charters.

Offshore means fishing in the Gulf Stream or for tuna, dolphin, wahoo and billfish. These boats fish from 25 to 60 miles off the coast. There are many choices that run out of Hatteras Inlet, Oregon  and Ocracoke inlets. As a rule they can take up to six anglers and will always have a first mate. The method of fishing is trolling either rigged natural baits like ballyhoo or lures. These are full-day charters.

Want to catch a dolphin fish (mahi)? An offshore charter is your best bet.

Want to catch a dolphin fish (mahi)? An offshore charter is your best bet.

Nearshore or inlet boats have been around as long as the boats fishing offshore. Nearshore means ocean fishing within sight of land. Like the offshore boats, they usually take up to six anglers and have a first mate. The main quarries are Spanish mackerel and bluefish during the summer. They are also an excellent way to fish for cobia during the cobia run. Besides trolling, they will also fish nearshore wrecks for triggerfish and sea bass if conditions permit. These are either half- or full-day charters.

Open boats have become popular in the past 25 years. These are center-console boats with a captain and no mate. Most take one to four anglers and fish in the sound waters behind the inlets for speckled trout, flounder, puppy drum along with other species. If the ocean is cooperative, they will fish along the oceanfront for cobia, sharks, bluefish and Spanish mackerel. These charters tend to be non-trolling. These are either half- or full-day charters.

Head boats are called this because they can carry many anglers. Most local head boats can carry up to 49 anglers. Several of the head boats limit themselves to sound fishing for croaker, flounder, spot and other bottom fish. These boats are a great way to take young kids on their first fishing trip. These are half-day charters and run twice a day. There are also head boats that fish the offshore wrecks and live bottom and are full-day charters.

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