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16 Feb 2023
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Title Text: A Guide to OBX Fish Species; Image of man fishing from a pier surrounded by fishing poles.
People come from all over the world to go fishing on the Outer Banks. Whether you're passionate about taking an off-shore charter or you prefer the convenience and thrill of fishing from the pier, you're sure to find whatever you're looking for in the waters surrounding the Outer Banks. Keep reading to find out more about the different types of fishing you can do on the Outer Banks as well as the different types of fish that you can expect to catch at each spot. So grab your rod and reel, and let's get ready to go fishing!

And if you're looking for additional ideas, check out our Fishing Fanatics Outer Banks Trip Planner. And don't forget the gear: our guide to buying fishing supplies on the Outer Banks has everything you need to ensure that you're ready to go for your next trip.

*Note: With the exception of fishing from several Outer Banks piers, fishing in NC will require a NC Fishing License. There are separate licenses for saltwater and freshwater fishing in NC and licenses can usually be purcahsed at one of the local bait & tackle shops on the beach. Please contact the NC Wildlife Resources Commission with any questions about licensining. Information about size and bag limits is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. Please consult the NC Department of Environmental Quality for updated limits.

Beach (Surf) Fishing

We know that people come from all over the world to enjoy the beautiful warm sands of the Outer Banks, but it's not just for building sandcastles and lounging on your beach towel as you work on your tan. Beach, or Surf, Fishing is exactly what it sounds like: fishing from the comfort of the beach! Dig your toes into the sand as you cast out your line and enjoy the unforgettable experience of catching a wide variety of fish species right from the shore. And because of the shifting tides, weather, and seasonality of the area, surf fishing also means that you'll have the opportunity to catch a wide variety of fish species throughout the year.

Keep in mind, surf fishing is it's own unique hobby, so you'll want to make sure you not only have the proper recreational fishing license, but also the appropriate gear that is sure to make your experience and unforgettable one. Check out the Best Surf Fishing Gear Guide from here. Keep reading below for a list of some of the major species of fish you can expect to catch from the beach as well as bait suggestions and legal limits for each type.

OBX Fish Species You Can Find at the Beach

Sound Fishing

The Outer Banks and the surrounding Inner Banks regions are unique because of their proximity to both the ocean and the brackish and freshwater regions of the sounds. They species of fish that you'll find vary depending on which sound you visit, but you'll generally be able to find the species below in the larger Currituck and Albemarle Sounds. Keep in mind that if your home is soundside or on one of the canals, you can easily go fishing from the privacy of your own vacation rental (or bring your boat/kayak and head out). Just make sure you have the appropriate license to avoid an unfortunate run-in with authorities.

For more information about a "sound" and the sounds of the Outer Banks, check out our guide to staying oceanside versus soundside.

OBX Fish Species You Can Find at the Sound

Pier Fishing

If you're looking for a fishing adventure that has everything together in one spot, you might enjoy pier fishing! Not only do piers offer gear to rent, restaurants, bathrooms, souvenir shops, and more, but most actively operating piers on the Outer Banks are covered by a blank fishing license, so all you'll have to do is pay for the day and head out onto the boardwalk! There are several options for fishing piers up and down the Outer Banks, so to find one near your vacation rental check out our Guide to Outer Banks Piers! Just like surf fishing, keep in mind that they type of fish you're catching will depend on tidal conditions and seasonality, but here's a list of some of the major species of fish you can expect to find out on the pier.

OBX Fish Species You Can Find at the Pier

Book Your Next Outer Banks Fishing Adventure

If you're looking for the perfect vacation rental for your next Outer Banks fishing adventure, it's time to book your next Outer Banks vacation today! Take a look at our available rentals and book yourself the perfect Outer Banks beach vacation rental today. Whether you're looking for a two-person getaway space or a larger home for your whole family, we've got what you're looking for to make make the best use of your vacation days! Give our wonderful Guest Services Team a call today at (866) 884-0267 to get started planning your next epic Outer Banks getaway.

Hassle-Free Layaway Program

Book your Seaside vacation home using our convenient layaway program—that means booking your trip for only $300 dollars down and paying your remaining balance in monthly installments interest-free! (The payment plan only applies to reservations booked a minimum of 3 months in advance of the check-in date.Learn more about our layaway plan.  

About the Author: Lauren is a mom, author, and travel enthusiast. She grew up on the Outer Banks and only left for a few years to get degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill and the University of Nebraska-Kearney and complete a tour in the Coast Guard before making her way back to the beach in 2017. When she isn’t writing for the Seaside Vacations Travel Blog, Lauren can usually be found with a book and cup of tea in hand, planning her next travel adventure.