Lots of people travel to Cape Hatteras to fish the Gulf Stream waters that lie just a short distance from the coast. Many plan a day or two offshore for an exciting activity during their week long stay on the Outer Banks, while others make the drive just for a day's fishing.
Either way, an offshore adventure can be an event of a lifetime, and you never know what will happen from one day to the next. We can, however, try to predict the best time to fish for a particular species based on years of experience, but it's not uncommon for the Gulf Stream to "throw us a curve" from time to time.
The cooler months tend to produce our best catches of yellowfin tuna. I like March and April in the spring, while preferred fall months for yellowfin are October and November.
The month of November also ushers in one of my favorite fisheries. Our "live bait" king mackerel fishing is unlike anywhere else in the world. You just have to experience it, 20-50 pound kings on 20-pound class tackle. It is a blast.
Also in the cooler months, it is not unusual to snag a wahoo.
The last few years have produced some excellent bluefin tuna fishing in the late winter and early spring. February and March have been productive for 80-150 pounders. The bag limits change according to what quota has been caught, but we can normally keep one, and release the rest.
In May, we usually begin to have excellent dolphin (mahi) fishing. We catch dolphin all year, but May through September is the best time.
I like late summer and early fall for wahoos, and we often do well on these lightning fast pelagics.
Hatteras is known for its great marlin fishing too. May through September holds pretty good promise of a billfish bite. I tend to think that our better blue marlin fishing is earlier, May to June, while our white marlin and sailfish bites seem to pick up in July. It is not out of the question to catch any and all of our billfish species through the summer months, and there is always that possibility of a "grand slam," especially in July and August.
This is just a brief overview of what you can expect offshore of Hatteras, throughout the year. For more information, go to the Species Sought page, or feel free to email me with your questions.
~ Capt. Dave