'Any Fin' goes with fishing fun at the aquarium

The 200-foot Sounside Pier at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island overlooks the Croatan Sound. 

Calling all watermen, fishermen and sirens! Join us on our beautiful Soundside Pier at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island to practice your fishing skills to reel in a big one and learn about Actinopterygii, or ray-finned fishes, that swim around the Outer Banks.

Our multipurpose pier is 200 feet long and overlooks the Croatan Sound, a unique aquatic habitat named after the Croatan Indians who once inhabited this area. This sound is one of the smaller sounds in the Outer Banks compared to the Albemarle, Pamlico, Roanoke and Currituck sounds. This habitat is very picturesque and worthy of exploration by Roanoke Island visitors and Outer Banks travelers arriving from the west. This brackish water environment provides a habitat for a variety of organisms including juvenile red drum, a species of bony fish many fishermen like to have nibbling on their hook.

Visitors can test their luck at casting out a line and possibly catch a diverse selection of fish, such as juvenile sheepshead and red drum, Atlantic croaker, pinfish and more during our “What’s the Catch?” program. Educators will teach guests how to assemble tackle, bait a hook, identify fish species and practice catch-and-release techniques. This is a great activity for family and friends to expand their angling skills, spend quality time together and learn ethical fishing actions to protect all sounds located in North Carolina.

Looking for a week-long Summer Camp that focuses on cold-blooded, gill-bearing, scaly fish? Fisherman’s Camp welcomes children ages 10-14 to brush off their fishing rods, waders and cast nets and become watermen of local aquatic environments. This camp runs July 30-August 3, 9am-3:30pm each day and allows participants to go fishing every day, identify their catch and take a tour of a local fish-packing house. The adventures also go beyond the shoreline aboard a vessel to practice some fishing techniques and reel in a native fish or two. From catching to conservation, see a waterman’s side of fishing with this Summer Camp.

Visitors looking to independently fish with their own gear may purchase an aquarium ticket to have access to our Soundside Pier during operation hours from 9am-5pm. A saltwater fishing license is required for all Outer Banks fishing. You can purchase one online at ncwildlife.org or from local tackle shops. In keeping with the conservation of fish and shellfish species, the NC Division of Marine Fisheries limits the size and amount you can harvest. Local tackle shops have all the information you need about bag and size limits, or you can see the limits online at portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recreationalfishing.

A simple stroll on the pier will also grant our visitors an opportunity to learn about regional marine life and resources through observation and signage. The Soundside Pier was state funded with half of the funds granted by the N.C. Coastal Recreational Fishing License Fund.

Pre-registration is required for each special activity program. Check out our website for more information on special activity programming at ncaquariums.com/roanoke-island/experiences

Chelsea Miller is assistant PR coordinator, NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island

Chelsea Miller is assistant PR coordinator, NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island

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