Hatteras Offshore

When the weather is favorable boats fishing offshore of Hatteras are finding dolphin and wahoo. Wahoo fishing will begin to pick up as August comes to an end. Sailfish and marlin are still being caught and will improve as we transition into September. Tilefish and groupers are still available to anglers who are deep dropping.

Oregon Inlet Offshore

The 2019 Pirates Cove Billfish Tournament is over. Congratulations to the Desperado for the win. The General took second place, and the Skirt Chaser was third. The boats fishing out of Oregon Inlet are finding yellowfin, and blackfin tuna. Besides the tuna, wahoo fishing is improving along with bailer dolphin. Late August and September is billfish time, with good white marlin and sailfish and the always-lurking blue marlin.

Hatteras Nearshore

Trolling for bluefish and Spanish mackerel should remain good. False albacore will begin to show in large numbers. These are hard fighting game fish that will make any anglers day but most are released as they make poor table fare. King mackerel will also become more prevalent as the end of August comes and get even better into the fall.

Oregon Inlet Nearshore

The fishing along the beaches around Oregon Inlet has improved with good catches of Spanish mackerel and bluefish. False albacore have also been in the mix, as well. The light tackle shark fishing has been good when the water is above 70 degrees F. This action should only get better as we head into September. There is still cobia to be had — nothing like the big migration of June, but sporadic catch are being made.

Hatteras Inlet Soundside

Speckled trout fishing has been wide open and should continue well into the fall (and makes excellent table fare). Speckled trout must be 14” to keep, and each angler is allowed to keep four fish per day. Beside the specks, anglers are enjoying good bluefishing. Bluefish is excellent to eat, as long as they are fresh. Bluefish can develop a strong taste if they are several days old or frozen, and it is best enjoyed the day of the catch or the next day. Puppy drum are still scarce, but, hopefully, will improve in the fall.

Oregon Inlet Soundside

Speckled trout fishing remains strong and should improve as the August moves into September. Bluefish are being to make a showing around the inlet, as well as some puppy drum. Grey trout are starting to appear in the deep sloughs around Oregon Inlet. Flounder will be caught both around the inlet and along marsh points. The headboats are making anglers happy with nice catches of sea mullet, croakers, and the occasional flounder.

Pier Reports

The piers are enjoying bluefish and Spanish mackerel on the ends early in the morning and later prior to sundown. Bottom anglers are finding sea mullets, small pompano, spot, and croakers. Pin rig fisherman on the end of the piers have been catching a few very nice king mackerel.


Sea mullet fishing has been good, as have pompano. From Corolla to Hatteras Inlet surf fisherman are catching these hard biting good tasting fish. The best baits are fresh shrimp and sand fleas. The fish are close in chasing sand fleas. Besides sea mullets, surf fishermen are catching spot, croakers, blues, and puppy drum. The surf action will continue to heat up into the fall.

Fishing Licenses

North Carolina requires a Coastal Recreational Fishing License for freshwater and saltwater fishing. Most charter boats have blanket fishing licenses that cover all of their anglers, but check in advance to be sure. Annual or 10-day licenses are available at www.ncwildlife.org, at many local tackle shops (see the list online) or by calling (888) 248-6834 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.).

More Information

To see the most recent size and bag limits, go to http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/. On the right side, under Hot Topics, click on “Recreational Size and Creel Limits.”

Tackle shops and marinas are super resources for information. They have all the current scoop and are more than happy to help you get rigged up or plan a charter fishing trip.

Get outside and enjoy the fishing, and remember that the supply is not endless – so only harvest what you need.

Wader safety

Fall is coming, and the waters cool down, and the air temps can be a little chilly, but this means the speckled trout, both big drum, and puppy drum can be in the surf. Most anglers wet wade until the temperatures make it uncomfortable. Most anglers who wade the surf and sound don waders. Waders a simply rubber boots with water proof bibs attached, and they are held up by a pair of suspenders. They keep water and wind off the angler, but they can also keep the water in, if the angler should fall and become a pretty good anchor making it hard to swim or stand back up. There are a couple of easy tips/tricks to make your fishing experience much more pleasant and safe.

First buy waders that fit and are easy to move in. Remember, you will have long pants and socks on. The second and most important thing is a belt. A mesh belt that can be fastened tightly around the anglers waist on the out side of the waders is very important. If you fall, the belt will keep the water most of the water from running down into your waders and allow you to get back up to safety. Many seasoned big drum fisherman will put a light raincoat on then fasten a belt around their waist, locking the raincoat and waders to your waist. This way, if there is some spray from white water. it will run off the coat and not down your waders.

Just because you have on a raincoat, waders and a belt does not mean you are a in a wetsuit and swim or play in thorough surf — use common sense, and be safe and catch fish.

Capt. Brian Horsley is recognized as pioneer of salt water fly fishing in the Mid-Atlantic region. A published author and photographer, he and his wife, Capt. Sarah Gardner, own and operate Outer Banks Fly Fishing and Light Tackle Charters (outerbanksflyfishing.com).


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