Summer is here bringing with it warm weather, and the fishing has heat up, as well. The Outer Banks are situated in the middle of a migration trail for several fish species. Two that get a lot of attention are the dolphin (mahi) and cobia. They ride the warm water as it moves north. The cobia prefer the nearshore waters, and the dolphin are a pelagic species and prefer the edges of the Gulf Stream.

Hatteras Offshore

Fishing out of Hatteras Inlet has been excellent and should continue. Boats are finding great gaffer dolphin. Gaffer dolphin gets its name because they need to be gaffed because of their weight, otherwise the leader would break. Besides great dolphin, they are also finding blackfin tuna, and a scattered yellowfin tuna. A few wahoo are being brought back to the dock. Early June out of Hatteras is a great time to do battle with a big blue marlin or other billfish. If you are staying on Hatteras Island, check out the docks in Hatteras Village in the afternoons for the latest catches.

Oregon Inlet Offshore

Boats out of Oregon Inlet are experiencing great gaffer dolphin fishing, as well. Dolphin — also known as mahi mahi or dorado — are excellent eating and are highly prized by anglers. Besides trolling for dolphin, boats have been deep dropping for tilefish and the occasional grouper. Yellowfin tuna are available but the sharks are making things difficult. Things on the tuna front should improve. Besides dolphin and tuna, bottom fish anglers have also been catching king mackerel.

Hatteras Inlet Nearshore

Bluefish are in abundance as well as s few Spanish, but most nearshore boats have been looking for cobia. Cobia fishing has been good — good numbers of fish from 20 to 60 pounds. While anglers are looking for cobia, they have run across schools of big red drum and black drum. All three of these species can be caught by casting buck-tail jigs on spinning rods.

Oregon Inlet Nearshore

Bluefish are here —nearshore boats have had excellent catch of these tasty fish. Besides the bluefish, there will be cobia on their way north into the month of June and beyond. Anglers have also found schools of big red drum moving north for the summer. Both of these fish will readily eat a buck-tail jig. Spanish mackerel are starting to be caught with regularity, as the warm water temperatures become more stable.

Hatteras Sound Report

Plenty of bluefish to be found, as well speckled trout and few puppy drum. Besides speckled trout, flounder and grey trout have also been reported.

Oregon Inlet Sound

Big news in the sounds behind Oregon Inlet is the speckled trout have returned in force. Most have been under the 14-inch keeper size, but they grow quickly. Besides speckles, anglers are finding bluefish and a few flounder. 

In the Sand

Surf fishing has been good with great catches of sea mullet, speckled trout. Anglers are also catching a few big cobia from the beach, as well. Check with your local tackle shop for the up to the minute reports.

Pier Report

Anglers fishing on the piers have had good sea mullet fishing, as well as a few speckled trout. Bluefish and Spanish are also available to anglers fishing off the end of the piers.

Tackle shops are wonderful places for current up to date information. Stop in one of our many local tackle shops. Summer is here, so get out and enjoy the water.

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, at many local tackle shops (see the list online) or by calling (888) 248-6834 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.).

More Information

To see the most recent size and bag limits go to 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.

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 (


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