Outer Banks Fish (+Fishing) for Visitors

Outer Banks Fish and Fishing For Visitors

The OBX has over 90 species of common and exotic fish species, so next time your at the fish market or reeling one in you may ask, “What’s this thing?” Now, I may not know all the species but to this question I can confidently respond, “It is some of the freshest fish, you’ll ever find!” The good news is we can help you find it!

One of the many reasons that makes the OBX so special and adventuresome is the wide variety of fish stock. Whether you are in it for the thrill of the catch or prefer to stay on land and simply eat Outer Banks fish, we are all in for a real treat.

Did you Know? Outer Banks Fish on NatGeo TV

Outer Banks Fishing has been featured on National Geographic’s hit series, Wicked Tuna Outer Banks. Be careful, watching this, available on NatGeo TV may increase your appetite for Outer Banks Fish and Fishing.

Outer Banks Fish Wicked Tuna Live Swell

Outer Banks Fish Identification

Fishes of the Outer Banks of North Carolina

The North Carolina Dept. of Environment and Resources has a great guide if you need more specific ID. The best method to confidently catch and ID Outer Banks fish is to have an experienced OBX fisherman by your side or as your captain.

North Carolina Fish Species
Want to catch Outer Banks Fish? Tony, and our good friend Frank, can put you on the meat!

Living in, near and traveling to coastal communities for most of our lives, Maria and I have been very lucky to see and consume really, really good (and affordable) fish. The OBX, for us, certainly in the top 3 we know (Bali and Peru take a couple of the other top slots). Our personal local favorites include, Shrimp, Blue Crab, Oysters, Grouper, Snapper, Sea Bass, Mahi, Flounder. I love grouper so much I actually named one of my surfboards, “Grouper.”

Why is the Outer Banks fishery so unique and special?

Outer Banks Fish Currents
The Warm Gulf Stream and Cool Labrador meet in the Outer Banks

The OBX is uniquely located between the 2 western Atlantic Ocean currents and it is also very close close to the deep continental shelf, rich with life. The one most people know is the warm “Gulf Stream” current flowing north from Florida toward Europe. The the other is the cold “Labrador” Current which flows south form.

Getting Your Hands On Outer Banks Fish

There are two options to get your Outer Banks fish feed, the easy way and the more traditional. We’ll start with the fun way, reeling it in:

Catching Outer Banks Fish

There are many flavors and varieties of Outer Banks fishing. It depends on what kind of action and fish you are looking for. So it ranges from hiring a captain to charter you to their secret spots, going in a kayak, hitting the piers to casting directly from the surf. The best part is you get to choose the adventure best for you and group. Check out the Avalon Pier Fishing Cam.

Check out Live Swell Experience’s for some options we recommend. Our buddy, Capt. Frank, when not in the water, has helped with the Bungalows upgrades and improvements, can put you on the in-season outer banks fish in his boat the Sea Hag.

SeaHag Live Swell Experiences
One of the best ways to catch Outer Bank Fish:
The Sea Hag in Wanchese Marina

Best Outer Banks Fish Markets (We Know 🙂 )

The OBX has so many great fish markets loaded with local catch from the island. Our favorites, in order, are below. At these locations you can get a wide variety of fishes and shell-fishes including the North Carolina “Green Tail” Shrimp (try grilling them “head-on”).

Locally owned, Billy’s Seafood was established in 1971, its offers possibly the freshest seafood on the Outer Banks! Open April through November, visit Billy’s on Colington Road in Kill Devil Hills to check out fresh off-the-boat local seafood including: crabs, clams, shrimp, oysters, and fish. Must try Judy’s Yellowfin Tuna Salad, a Live Swell favorite.

Located on the bustling shores of the Wanchese harbor, O’Neals Sea Harvest, is about 30 minutes from Kill Devil Hills on Roanoke Island, this family owned and operated seafood wholesaler hand selects some of the catch that crosses their docks daily to offer to the general public. O’Neals has both a fresh fish market, you can literally see the fish being filleted. They also have an excellent quick prepared food, that can be consumed on-site. The daily “Fish Basket” and “Soft Shell” a-la-carte are a couple of our favorites here!

A landmark fish market located right next to the Wright Memorial Bridge, Carawan is a family owned business offering some of the best local Outer Banks fish since the 1980’s. Great Shrimp, great fish and great service.

Outer Banks Fishing Report

It is important to be aware of which outer banks fish are biting and when. Yes, many of our outer banks fish are seasonal, like Tuna or Speckled Trout. Trout run along our shores and in the bays in the late spring and early summer before coming back down. Make sure to check the local outer banks fishing report, we suggest the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center Report.

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