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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

Pirate's Cove Yacht Club & Marina
1 Sailfish Drive, Docks at Pirate's Cove Marina, 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

Pirate's Cove Yacht Club & Marina
1 Sailfish Drive, Docks at Pirate's Cove Marina, Manteo
(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.

Grandpa's Charters

OBX Marina
708 Harbor Road, Manteo
(252) 473-1475
(866) 473-1475
(252) 305-8862

See how the local seafood is caught. On this tour, the captain pulls a small, commercial-type shrimp net behind the boat. Passengers get to sort the catch and examine the shrimp, fish and crabs that are harvested — and they get to take home anything that's of legal size. This is a fantastic, hands-on experience for all ages and a great way to learn about life in the sea. Outer Banks Cruises/Captain Johnny Dolphin Tours is the booking agent for this tour; call them and they'll help you arrange your tour.

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 South won.


Pirate's Cove Yacht Club & Marina

1 Sailfish Drive, Nags Head/Manteo Causeway, Manteo
(252) 473-3906
(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, escape from the same old beach routine and head over to Pirates Cove Marina and Yacht Club to experience the thrill of a lifetime fishing from one of their offshore charter boats. Your adrenaline will be pumping listening to the scream of the drag while you are reeling in your tuna, dolphin, wahoo and marlin. Or book a near-shore trip and drop deep to catch tile fish, sea bass, trigger fish and grouper, or troll for Spanish mackerel and bluefish. No matter what you choose, Pirates Cove’s charter fleet will show you a great time. Back at the docks you can stop by the Pirates Cove Ships Store, where you'll find a great selection of T-shirts, resort wear, gifts and one of the best selections of sunglasses on the Outer Banks.

T-Time Charters

Pirate's Cove Yacht Club & Marina
2000 Sailfish Drive, Manteo
(252) 473-3906
Captain's phone
(252) 423-1401

Are you up for a small group charter fishing trip off in the sparkling blue Atlantic waters? The T-Time offers anglers of all ages and skill levels the opportunity to enjoy either inshore or near shore fishing on a 21-foot Carolina-built center console outboard. The boat comes equipped with amenities like a GPS, fish finder, VHF radio, cell phone, 32-gallon live well and spacious dry storage console. The 15 rod holders on the boat help keep your other rods steady if one of them requires putting up a fight with a big catch. T-Time’s captain, Toby Russ, is an experienced fisherman who has led charter fishing trips in the Outer Banks for many years. Give him a call if you’re up for laid-back day of charter fishing.