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Eight Top Outer Banks Surf Fishing Tips

An abundance of surf fishing opportunities make North Carolina’s Outer Banks a top east coast fishing attraction. This is especially true in the fall when a big red drum, striped bass, and bluefish have a long list of possible catches.

Any compilation of Outer Banks fishing tips must be preceded by a reminder to ensure you are up to date on fishing regulations for different species as things can change during the season, as well as access permits and your fishing license. That said, here are eight top Outer Bank fishing tips to keep your efforts focused.

  1. If you are new to OBX, how this area is called, and / or are an inexperienced beach angler, chatting with a local surf fishing guide can be a great start to figuring out where and how to go.
  2. At least visit one local tackle shop for not only supplies and bait, but information about what’s happening. Remember, storms are changing beach conditions and Hurricane Dorian had a huge impact on the North Carolina coast this summer. Get as much local information as you can.
  3. Perhaps the most important of all tips for surfing in Outer Banks is this: if possible, try to fish when the correct tide and current coincide with low light, i.e. at dusk. This is the main fishing season.
  4. The staple of surf fishing in Outer Banks is red drums. These fish, which are large, are mostly baited rather than baited. Crab, mullet and spot are the favorites.
  5. There is no substitute for the freshest bait. Buy your bait locally as it will likely be the fish that the fish on the outer banks feed on and that was recently purchased locally. Make sure it stays in top condition.
  6. For larger fish like blues, stripers, and red drums, use only single-hook surf rigs. A two hook rig can be used if your target is smaller species.
  7. Make sure you don’t use a hook that is too small for your bait. Smaller hooks are often made of thin wire and can straighten up under strong pressure. Also, their barbs may not completely penetrate a fish’s mouth, which means they won’t hold up. When large fish land, there is a lot of pressure in the surf and the hook is vital.
  8. Visit beaches where you’d like to fish at low tide to spot sloughs, holes, bars, and other features. This is especially helpful after a storm as the beach and surfing conditions change frequently.

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