My Favorite Outer Banks Fishing Piers
My grandmother taught my sisters and me to fish when we were little girls. The Outer Banks of North Carolina boasts awesome fishing, thanks to the proximity of the Gulf Stream. But we didn't venture all the way to the Outer Banks fishing piers very often when I was a child, and when we did we usually fished on the sound side.
In adulthood, I've often enjoyed surf fishing on the Outer Banks, especially before Off Road Vechicle access became so restricted in the last few years. But overall, my husband and I enjoy pier fishing the most.
Fishing from an outer banks pier is more convenient than from the surf in many ways, not the least of which is easy access to the bathroom! Even after all these years of practice, I can't cast very far. On a pier, a nice underhanded cast is not only adequate, it's preferrable. Piers are also about the only place you can fish on the Outer Banks without purchasing your own North Carolina Coastal Recreational Fishing License.
The North Carolina Outer Banks boasts seven fishing piers between Duck and Hatteras, but I have a few favorites.
Avalon Fishing Pier
My long time favorite Outer Banks fishing pier is Avalon in Kill Devil Hills. The "newest" of the Northern beach piers, Avalon was built in 1958 and survived the damage of various hurricanes that closed some other nearby piers.
While the pier has a game room and snack shop, we like the convenience of Avalon to Awful Arthurs Oyster Bar and Beach Shop. We especially love the Crab Balls, and I never fail to need something from the Beach Shop - sunscreen, sunglasses, a new bumper sticker or key chain, or a fabulous new t-shirt or two.
I'm sure you want to know the important part - do we catch fish at Avalon? The thing about Outer Banks pier fishing is sometimes you catch 'em, sometimes you don't. We've had our share of not a single bite weekends, but we've also had some of our best cooler-filling visits ever. We've caught sea mullet, spot, croaker, trout, blues and an occassional founder, and we've had a blast watching luckier souls pull in some big ones - drum, Spanish mackerel and cobia.
When the fish are not biting, we sometimes call friends and family and wave to the pier cam. Avalon Pier's website is one of the most fun for fishing reports and chat.
Hatteras Island Fishing Pier
Farther south in Rodanthe, is another of my favorite outer banks fishing piers. The biggest drawback of Hatteras Island Fishing Pier is the very small and sandy parking lot compared to Avalon's large paved lot, but on the plus side, that means the pier is generally less crowded than Avalon. And the water is obviously warmer farther south, which theoretically means better fishing.
We've had good days at Rodanthe, too, particularly for mullet. One April we fished with several friends - my husand and one friend were to the left of me, two other friends to the right. All of them pulled in one mullet after another all day long while I stood in the middle without a bite. But such are the occassional frustrations of fishing.
Hatteras Island Fishing Pier also has plenty of tackle, bait and snacks in the pier house, and while the shopping destinations require a short drive, we enjoy the somewhat quieter community of Rodanthe.
Jeannette's Fishing Pier
In my younger days, Jeannette's Pier would have topped my list of favorite Outer Banks fishing piers, even though I don't have memories of impressive catches there. I do have an old black and white photo of my grandmother on Jeannette's pier when she was much younger than I am now, and in my high school and college days, we met friends at Jeannette's before heading to the beach for sun and swimming.
In 2003, Hurricane Isabel took out most of Jeannette's, then the oldest pier on the Outer Banks. Only the pier house survived, and it was removed in 2008. The property is now owned by the North Carolina Aquarium Society in partnership with the North Carolna Aquariums. Governor Bev Perdue signed a 2009 bill passed unanimously by the state legislature to build the N.C. Aquarium Pier at Nags Head.
I don't know if the new Aquarium Pier will make its way into my favorites, but as long as Avalon and Hatteras are standing, I'm sure we'll hang our gone fishin' sign at least a few times a year and head east for Outer Banks pier fishing.
Eight of Thirty
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