June is almost gone and the Outer Banks is sliding into July and the heat of summer. Despite the hot summer weather there is still good fishing to be had.

The month has been has been neurotic for the boats fishing out of Oregon Inlet. Dolphin fishing has been good most days with a wahoo thrown in. Bigeye tuna have been around with most days boats have been landing one- to four of this bigger tuna. Yellowfin fishing has been tough mainly due to sharks. There are a ton of sharks waiting to eat the hooked yellowfin before they can be landed. Usually, the sharks thin out as the summer moves on. It is still world-class offshore fishing.

Boats fishing offshore out of Hatteras have reported good dolphin fishing with both gaffers and bailers. A gaffer is a bigger dolphin that needs to be brought on bait with a gaff and bailers are smaller and be swung over the side into the fish boat. Besides dolphin, anglers have been releasing sailfish and a few blue marlin.

Nearshore boats fishing out of Hatteras and Oregon Inlets are in their summer pattern with bluefish and Spanish mackerel. Besides the blues and mackerel boats out of Oregon Inlet have been catching ribbonfish. These weird-looking toothy critters are actually quite good on the table. The occasional big school of old red drum ( big red drum) will keep all nearshore fisherman on their toes out of Oregon Inlet and Hatteras Inlet. As the summer moves on, there will be a few more cobia caught. Nothing compared to the early migration but enough to keep you on the lookout.

Inshore fishing in the sounds behind Hatteras and northern OBX has been good. There are plenty of speckled trout in the back waters behind both Oregon Inlet and Hatteras Inlet. There have also been reports of puppy drum, mostly caught on bait soaked on bottom. Head boots have been catching sea mullet, croakers, and small flounder.

Don’t forget the head boats that run out of Manteo, Wanchese, Oregon Inlet, and Hatteras Village. They are a great way to take a kid fishing for their first trip. Most trips are half-days, so around four hours — just enough time to introduce a youngster to fishing, but not too long for them to get restless. The captains and mates are there to help and try and ensure the trip will be a memorable one.

Pier action will early and late with bluefish Spanish mackerel on the end and sea mullet fishing has been excellent if the water temps are warm. Sea mullet love to eat fresh shrimp, sand fleas, bloodworms as well as fish bites. Fish bites are an artificial bait that is used like natural bait on a top and bottom rigs. The piers on Hatteras Island have reported much the same but with pompano landed, as well.

Most visitors like to dine out several times during their stay. We have lots of wonderful seafood options. Please insist on fresh local — ours is the best.

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. to 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.” There is now a free app you can put on your phone that has the updated bag limits and sizes for the species in North Carolina. But the good thing about this app is that it will update to your location — say, like you are now in Virginia or Florida. It is call Fish Rules.

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.

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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