Everything You Need to Know About Fall Fishing Charters on the OBX

Fall Fishing Charters on the OBX

We have a secret here on the Outer Bank we want to share with you. The secret is we have the best fall fishing you'll find anywhere on the Atlantic Coast, right here on the OBX. We're not kidding,...locals are reporting catching Mahi Mahi, Yellow Fin Tuna, and Spanish Mackerel. The crowds have thinned, the temperatures are perfect, and there are plenty of beautiful Outer Banks rentals available for your family to enjoy. Now is the perfect time to join us and enjoy some incredible fall fishing. Today we will give you everything you need to know when choosing an inshore or offshore charter. The OBX's impressive fleet of Head boats and charters, of all sizes and skill levels, are ready to make your Outer Banks vacation a memorable one.

What to Expect 

What To Expect


The great thing about fishing is that anyone can do it and because of that, it is a wonderful family activity. Now that you have decided to take your first fishing charter there are a few things you need to know to get the most out of your day on the water. 

Clothes: You can't enjoy your day on the water if you're not comfortable. Make sure to dress in layers. Remember whether you are 35 miles off the coast fishing the Gulf Stream or fishing in the sound, it will be cooler on the water.  It is much easier to take off layers than it is to borrow a layer from someone else. Come prepared with something to block the wind and make sure to have at least one warm layer.

Catch and Release: More likely to occur while offshore fishing than inshore, it is possible after catching the "big one", that you may have to have to release it. This isn't because the charter doesn't want you to keep your catch. Local fishery regulations determine which species fish must be released in order to maintain healthy populations. Don't despair, this is why you always bring a camera to document your catch.  

Weather: Things change fast on the water, calm seas can become rough seas and rain squalls are not uncommon. If you remember nothing else, remember you will likely get wet. Make sure to bring a gallon ziplock bag to keep your camera and phone dry. 

Tipping: Yes it is customary to tip the first mate and/or the deck hands on your charter boat. These men and women really can make your trip, and you'll find most are incredibly hard working.

Food: Generally you will want to pack a cooler with food and drinks for your trip, this is particularly true of full day offshore charters. Most inshore Head Boats have snack-bars and vending machines. Make sure to pack more than just soda, water is important and will help with any motion sickness. 

Tackle: Whether you decide on a Head Boat or an offshore charter the boats will supply all the tackle and expertise you need to have success on the water.

Cleaning Your Catch: Some boats and crews clean your fish, however, this is not the norm. There are several fish cleaning services located all over the OBX and many are right on the docks where your charter will originate, so you won't have to go far. Of course, you are always able to take your catch home and clean them yourself. 

What You'll Catch 

What Did I Just Catch

Generally, in the fall there is a wide variety of fish to catch in the waters off and near the Outer Banks. Inland waters are full of fish migrating from inland waters to the ocean to begin their southernly migration. Because of this...Snapper, Black Sea Bass, Tilefish are all frequent catches on the inland waters. Some boats will have towers which will allow for site casting and this is great for catching Red Cobia. 

If you're heading off shore towards the Gulf Stream you will likely do what is called Deep Drop Bottom Fishing on the way to the Gulf Stream. This is likely to net you some King Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, and Yellow Fin Tuna. Once off shore, it is likely that you will battle billfish, such as Sail Fish and Marlin. Eat your Wheaties cause these guys are going to put up a fight. These are memory making waters so get the camera out and get ready to make some friends jealous of your Outer Banks Vacation on Facebook.  


Head Boat Fishing 


If you are new to fishing or maybe you want to take the kids on something a little more accessible than a full day off shore adventure. Head boats provide the perfect solution. These large family oriented boats are great for getting the whole family on the water for a reasonable cost.  

Head Boats are generally larger boats that carry between 30 to 60 people at a time. These boats are spacious, with lots of covered room allowing you the opportunity to get out of the sun or weather. Many have snack-bars, all have bathrooms. Tackle and bait are provided so there is no need to purchase a lot of expensive fishing gear. The costs for a Head Boat fishing trip is usually between thirty and fifty dollars per person for a half day excursion.

Off-Shore Charters 

Off Shore Charters


Looking to land the big one? Go ahead and get the taxidermist on speed dial cause this is where the real action takes place, well... to be exact it takes place about 35 miles out to sea. This is definitely the big time of fishing and the most expensive option. Let's talk about costs for a minute. The best way to deal with this is to take advantage of what are called "Make Up Charters". This is where a group of individuals gets together to defer the cost of the charter. Most of these charters will range from between $1,500 to $2,500 a day for the entire boat. Don't worry if it is just you and a buddy or perhaps a father son day on the water than a Make Up Charter will help you find others to share the total cost of the charter.  A Make Up Charter will reduce the cost to a more manageable $200 to $300 per person.

Couple things when booking an off shore charter. First, these can be all day or half day affairs. If you're going out to the Gulf Stream plan on a full day adventure as it takes several hours of cruising to reach the waters of the Gulf Stream. Be prepared to be there early, really early. Also as noted above in the "What to expect " section, weather and sea conditions can be very different off shore. Be prepared. Get a good nights rest, bring lots of drinks, especially water. If you are prone to motion sickness, you should be prepared to have and brought appropriate medication. It is rare that the charter will return to shore just because one person is seasick. Also, weather, unless very rough is unlikely to stop the trip.  

We hope you join us this fall for an amazing OBX vacation, and get a chance to enjoy fishing our local and off shore waters. With lots of charters operating year round, you'll have no problem finding the perfect charter for your family fishing trip. We would love to hear about your day on the water and see pictures of your catch. Now all you need to do is pick your perfect OBX Vacation Rental. 

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