The Outer Banks began as a fisherman's paradise and continues its reputation today as one of the best fishing destinations on the East Coast. In Kill Devil Hills, anglers will find plenty of good catches on the beaches, from the pier, and even in the open Albemarle Sound waters, making the town a great, central locale to cast a line.
All anglers over the age of 16 require a NC Saltwater fishing license, also known as a Coastal Recreational Fishing License (CRFL), in order to fish off the local beaches and soundfront waters.
Licenses vary in price, but non-resident North Carolina visitors can typically obtain a temporary 10-day license for around $10. (For NC Residents, the cost is $5.00.)
Licenses can be obtained online at the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commissions' website at http://www.ncwildlife.org/, or can be picked up at area tackle stores, as well as the Kmart in Kill Devil Hills and the Walmart in Kitty Hawk.
Surf fishing regulations
Fishing is allowed on all beaches along Kill Devil Hills, provided the angler has a valid saltwater fishing license.
Because the Kill Devil Hills beaches are typically busy in the summer months, anglers will want to pay close attention to the beach-goers around them and abide by the following guidelines:
- Do not cast out in an area where people are swimming or surfing.
- If accessing the beach via a public access, walk approximately 40-60 yards away from the entrance to the walkway to avoid beach crowds.
- Avoid lifeguarded beaches which can be more populated.
- Fish in the evenings and early mornings to avoid beach crowds. (Bonus - these are also the best times of day to fish.)
- Do not leave behind ANY hooks, fishing line, or assorted tackle in the sand.
- Beach driving is allowed in Kill Devil Hills from Oct. 1 thru April 30th although some beaches may be closed due to turtle nesting or coastal erosion. The speed limit is 25 mph unless otherwise marked.
Where to fish
Anglers will have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to where to go to reel in the best catches.
Albemarle Sound - On the soundside, mariners who are fishing by boat will find a NC Wildlife boating access at Dock Street which includes vehicle parking, a boat launching area, and picnic grounds. Soundside anglers can also head to the small piers and soundfront gazebos found at the Hayman Boulevard and Third Street Estuarine Accesses.
Surf Fishing - There are numerous public beach accesses in Kill Devil Hills for anglers, and surf fishing is allowed throughout the town. Many vacation rental homes also offer fishing cleaning tables with water and / or lights for visiting fishermen.
Pier Fishing - Anglers on the oceanside may have the best luck at the Avalon Pier. This historic fishing pier that was built in 1958 is nearly 700' feet long, and is open in the summer months from 5:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m. In the spring and fall, the hours of operation vary, and are generally from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.
The daily rate at Avalon Pier is $12.00 for adults, and $6.00 for ages 12 and under, and a day pass is good from the time of purchase until 5:00 a.m. the following day. A 3-day pass is $33.00, while a weekly pass is $69.00. Season passes can also be purchased for around $300.00.
Types of Fish to Catch
What an angler catches is very dependent on the season and the region, but fishermen should be on the hunt for the following species.
The Albemarle Sound is known for crappie fishing and striped bass, especially in the regions that are closer to the adjacent rivers. Close to shore, anglers will find good clamming and a selection of saltwater species including flounder, sheapshead and baiting mullet.
On the oceanside, surf and pier fishermen can expect to reel in bluefish, croakers, flounder, sea trout, sea mullet, pompano, Spanish mackerel, spot, and stripers, just to name a few. Bigger fish, including cobia and kings, are also seasonally available, as well as red drum.
The Avalon Fishing pier has a fishing report as well as a pier cam that can be found online at http://www.avalonpier.com/index.html so visiting anglers can see what's biting. Note that shark fishing is NOT allowed from the Avalon Pier.
The Outer Banks is home to a wealth of fishing tournaments, both inshore and offshore, thanks to its reputation as the Game Fish Capital of North Carolina.
Locally, Kill Devil Hills visitors can take part in a number of fishing tournaments that are held at Jennette's Pier in Nags Head, including the July Nags Head Youth Fishing Tournament.
Pirate's Cove marina in Manteo, located a quick 20-30 minute drive away, has a wide range of offshore tournaments throughout the year, including the famed Pirates Cove Billfish tournament - now in its 30th year - and the Alice Kelly Tournament for female anglers. (Both tournaments target marlins in the offshore Gulf Stream.)
Further south, anglers will also find a huge range of surf fishing tournaments on Hatteras Island, including the annual Red Drum Tournament, which has been going strong for more than 60 years.
Tournaments are announced months in advance, and usually require an advanced reservation fee or registration. Check out the Jennette's Pier website at http://www.jennettespier.net/ for information on surf fishing tournaments that are close to home.
There are a surprisingly large number of inshore and offshore fishing charters found in Kill Devil Hills, which are primarily concentrated along the soundside, just north of the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center.
Inshore charters concentrate on the Albemarle Sound waters, adjacent rivers, and estuaries where striped bass and crappies can be found, while offshore charters head to the Gulf Stream via Oregon Inlet, which is allocated about 20-30 miles away.
Charter boats that are conveniently located for Kill Devil Hills visitors include the following:
- Rock On Charters - (252) 982-6557
- Sea Hunter 2 - (252) 312-7858
- Seaducer Sportfishing - (252) 216-8658
- Beach Bum Fishing - (252) 449-0232
- Dreamgirl Charters - (252) 473-5157
- Carolina Sunrise - (252) 256-8083
- Outer Banks Fishing Charters - (252) 256-2047
- Rebait Charters Inc - (252) 441-9785
- DOA Charters (in Nags Head) - (252) 202-5565
- Obsession Charters (in Nags Head) - (252) 480-0094