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Roanoke Island Fishing & Manteo Fishing

Roanoke Island’s fishing history is notable in the overall legend of Outer Banks fishing. Manteo and Wanchese, the two towns on Roanoke Island, have been home to generations of families who made their living off the water through crabbing, oystering, clamming, shrimping and commercial fishing.
And Wanchese has, until recently when Oregon Inlet’s treacherous shoaling nature made it difficult to navigate with predictability, been the fish-processing capital of the Outer Banks. That commercial fishing business still occurs there but not at all at the same level as before.

What kind of Roanoke Island fishing can you do? Certainly the notorious Outer Banks surf fishing isn’t the draw, and there isn’t exactly a lot of pier fishing happening on the island (unless you count the gazebo that juts out from the waterfront boardwalk, which, if you’re a serious pier fishing angler, we wouldn’t recommend). What you do find here is an easily accessible point of debarkation for a variety of Outer Banks fishing charters, both inshore and offshore. The surrounding sounds and the island’s location very near Oregon Inlet make it the perfect location for fishing harbors, and there are several marinas on the island. Prices for a private, full-day, off-shore charter, usually accommodating six people, run $1,100 to $1,500 a day, not including a tip for the mate. Half-day inshore and inlet charters start around $375 and go up depending on the length of the trip and the type of fishing.

Roanoke Island fishing also includes the Zen-like experience of crabbing — an activity that every visitor should try, if only to make them relax and be very, very still for a little while. We don’t refer here to the business of crabbing where you set the crab pots that dangle from the colorful buoys you see dotting the sounds. No, indeed. That form of crabbing is very hard work. What we mean is the version of crabbing that requires only string, a few good chicken necks, a scoop net and quiet patience to be rewarded with the beautiful blue-shelled, sweet-eating crustaceans. Manteo’s waterfront is rimmed with a boardwalk that provides you with an endless number of locations to try your hand at this form of Outer Banks fishing. Check out our OBX Guides fishing section for more information on Outer Banks fishing.

Country Girl Head Boat

Pirates Cove Marina
1 Sailfish Drive
Manteo
(252) 473-5577

The Country Girl can be chartered for full-day Gulf Stream trips for parties of six or more people. Call for rates and schedules. Gulf Stream trips usually yield tuna and mahi-mahi, wahoo, king mackerel, marlin or sailfish depending on the season and conditions. The Country Girl also offers head boat–style wreck fishing. The 57-foot sportfisher can accommodate up to 30 passengers and provides plenty of room for everyone. This is a great way to get a big group of friends together for a day on the water. You’ll catch a variety of species, including black sea bass, triggerfish, gray tile fish, grouper, amberjack and more. The cost is $120 per person, with a minimum of 15 people. Bait, tackle and license are furnished. The Country Girl is also available for bird watching, marine mammal excursions, bachelor, bachelorette and scattering ashes at sea.

Crystal Dawn Head Boat

Pirates Cove Marina
2000 Sailfish Drive
Docks at Pirate's Cove Marina
Nags Head
(252) 473-5577

Whether for head boat fishing or cruises, you will enjoy the 65-foot, big and comfortable Crystal Dawn. You will fish in the inlet or sound for a variety of fish such as flounder, croaker, spot, trout, sea mullet, sea bass and more, depending on the season and conditions. All bait, tackle and licenses are furnished. Cost for head boat fishing is $45 for adults and $35 for children 10 and younger. Roanoke Island Cruises are $20 adults and $15 for children 10 and younger. The vessel is available for private charters, bachelor, bachelorette, family functions and more. Small coolers are welcome.

Jill Louise Headboat

OBX Marina
708 Harbor Drive
OBX Marina
Wanchese
(252) 453-9501

A new offering from Corolla Bait and Tackle is the Jill Louise, a 50-foot, stable headboat that can take up to 49 passengers out for inshore and offshore fishing. She cruises at 20 knots, so you reach the fishing grounds quickly and have more time to have your line in the water. She's the only headboat out of Wanchese certified to go up to 100 miles offshore. Another plus is that she's air conditioned -- on those hot, summer days, you'll appreciate this feature. Jill Louise also goes out for daily sunset cruises, and she also does Purple Martin tours in late July and August. If you haven't seen this sunset phenomenon at the old Manns Harbor bridge in Manteo, you're missing an image you'll never forget. On the inshore fishing trips, you can expect to catch croaker, spot, sea mullet, pigfish, flounder, bluefish, puppy drum and trout. The captain is a long-time local who knows these waters well. All you need to bring along is a cooler for your fish, snacks, ice, suntan lotion, sunglasses and a hat!

OBX Marina

708 Harbor Drive, Wanchese Seafood Industrial Park
Wanchese
(252) 473-9991

OBX Marina offers centralized booking for offshore and inshore charter fishing equipped with a fleet of 15 charter boats. They have several boats in their fleet, and their booking service provides hassle-free, book-where-you-board convenience. OBX Marina offers many varieties of fishing charters, from full-day excursions to the Gulf Stream to half-day, light-tackle trips in the sound. They also offer several specialty fishing trips, including shrimping and crabbing charters. Feeling adventurous? How about a shark trip? OBX Marina even runs an overnight shark trip. You'll find everything you need for a day of fishing at their ship's store, from beverages, ice and snacks to bait, tackle, rods and reels. They also stock boating accessories, can fill your tank with gas or diesel fuel and carry maintenance supplies plus sunglasses, T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats (see Shopping). Ask about OBX Marina's parasailing and Jet skis operations, two offerings that began in 2014. OBX Marina was also recently home base for a spin-off of National Geographic's hit reality series "Wicked Tuna." "Wicked Tuna: North vs. South" fished Outer Banks waters from this Wanchese marina as part of filming for its 2014 season. The locally filmed shows will be aired later this year.

 

Outer Banks Charter Fishing Adventures/Corolla Bait and Tackle

Thicket Lump Marina
1070 Ocean Trail
Corolla
(252) 453-9500
603 Currituck Drive
The Shoppes at the Currituck Club
Corolla
(252) 453-9690

Corolla Bait and Tackle offers two-hour sunset cruises where you take a relaxing cruise around the sound and see Monkey Island, birds and other wildlife. They also offer a pontoon-boat trip to the winery at Knott’s Island. You enjoy a short boat trip across the sound, participate in a wine tasting at the beautiful vineyards then motor back to Corolla. Be sure to bring binoculars, snacks and drinks. Want a little more action? Ask about the full range of fishing trips offered here; for more information see Fishing. Keith Cummings, owner of Corolla Bait and Tackle, also provides guided fishing opportunities. He’s a pro, and he loves sharing his fishing knowledge.

Pirate's Cove Yacht Club & Marina

2000 Sailfish Drive
Nags Head/Manteo Causeway
Nags Head
(252) 473-3906
Toll Free
(800) 367-4728

Just about every afternoon between 4 and 5 p.m. a dozen or more sport fishing boats return from the Gulf Stream to the Pirate’s Cove Marina to unload their catches of tuna, dolphin, wahoo and other deep-sea fish. If you’re interested in seeing the fish before they’re cleaned, head down to the docks and watch the mates hurl the whopping creatures onto the docks. Kids love this, and the anglers are usually friendly about sharing their experiences of the day.

If you’re more of a hands-on type, you might want to take a fishing trip yourself. Pirate’s Cove offers several options for getting to the fishing grounds. Twenty-one private charter boats are available to take you offshore fishing, and other boats are available for inshore fishing charters. Makeup charters are available. Call for details.

Visit the Ship’s Store to discover something for everyone! There are large assortments of t-shirts, sandals, resort wear and sunglasses as well as tackle, snacks, beverages, toys and gifts!