When searching the east coast for fall fishing opportunities, it’s hard to beat North Carolina’s fabled Outer Banks. The proximity to the Gulf Stream makes the area a magnet for offshore fisherman, and the months of September through November can provide awesome fishing. The summer crowds are gone, the weather can be delightful and the fishing can be red hot. It’s a short 35 to 40 mile run to the Gulf Stream where you’ll find many species of pelagic gamefish. Yellowfin and Bigeye tuna are plentiful, while white marlin, blue marlin and sailfish remain a possibility, with the back side of the full moon of each month the best bet King mackerel, billfish, dolphin and wahoo can still be found, but they too will disappear later in the fall season. The ocean piers, near-shore and inshore waters provide an alternative from offshore action, where striped bass and bluefish catches increase as water temperatures cool. In the sound, look for action with flounder, speckled trout, red drum, bluefish and school-sized striped bass to cooperate and provide fine light-tackle sport.
For visiting anglers, Pirate’s Cove Marina sets the standard for service, amenities, security, cleanliness and location. A well-stocked ship store, charter boat fleet and safe access down the sound to Oregon Inlet as well as access to local historic spots, shopping, land-based sports, fine restaurants and beaches put Pirate’s Cove at the top of the list when looking for dockage. For the boater needing overnight or short-term dockage at the marina itself, the Marina Office and Ship’s Store are located a few steps from the fuel dock. Pirate’s Cove offers deepwater slips, and all have electric, cable TV and city water. Clean showers and laundry facilities are also provided. Diesel fuel and gasoline are available at the fuel dock or via in-slip fueling. A holding tank pump-off station is also available at the fuel dock. Inside the Ship’s Store you’ll find shelves well stocked with all the necessary boating needs, sundries and supplies including light snacks and a limited beer and wine selection. The fishing tackle section is packed with all the goodies needed — whether you’re chasing striped bass or blue marlin or anything in between.
A selection of baits is also available for inshore and offshore angling adventures, along with fishing charts outlining the local “honey holes” available for those unfamiliar with the inshore and offshore terrain. The charter desk can arrange a trip aboard one of the marina’s world-class charter boats if you have a party up to six people, or they’ll gladly put you in a “make-up” charter where you’ll fish with others looking to make a party of six. It’s a great way to make new friends and enjoy a day on the water. For the fitness minded boater there’s a fully equipped fitness center onsite and numerous bike trails. Miles of boardwalks along the numerous deepwater canals offer fishing, crabbing and canoeing opportunities.
Away from the water, the nearby towns of Manteo and Nags Head are a short drive or moderate bike ride away. Downtown Manteo is a popular shopping spot where many local arts and craft-type shops can be found. The North Carolina Aquarium is a short drive away and worthy of a visit. The town of Nags Head runs along the beach and offers miles of shopping opportunities, restaurants, miniature and championship golf courses and movie theatres. Tanger Outlet Center in Nags Head has over two dozen brand name stores with top quality merchandise offered at reduced prices. A little further up the road in Kill Devil Hills you’ll find the Wright Brothers National Memorial. You can also take a stroll in the autumn air on miles of free beaches along Highway 12, also known as the “Beach Road.”
Dining out is one of the best parts of the Outer Banks and, the area is home to many fine restaurants where you can enjoy a “taste of the Outer Banks.” Over the years we’ve developed a list of favorites for dinner including Blue Moon Beach Grill, Owens Restaurant, The Colington Cafe, Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe and Blue Water Grill and Raw Bar which is located right at Pirate’s Cove. For lunch, stop by Sam and Omie’s or Tortugas’ Lie Seafood Shack; both are at the top of the list.
The fall season is an excellent time to visit the Outer Banks. Though summer’s crowds are long forgotten, you’ll find bargains as accommodation prices are reduced, yet as long as the storms stay away the weather remains quite pleasant and the fishing can be excellent. Once you visit you’ll fall for the Outer Banks year after year!