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Outer Banks where to go?


Rob L
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We are thinking of spending a week this summer in the OB. I would like to take my 2160 for family fun...and some fishing too! I see rental houses are available with bayside docks. So here is my question..

What area of the OB should I be looking at that would allow us to play in the bay with a 21ft walkaround? We are from PA, I am hoping to have to go too far south. We have been in Kitty Hawk area before but not with a boat.

Thanks 

Bob

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I am hoping to not have to go too far south... my brain goes slower than my fingers.

In the greater kitty hawk, Duck, upper end of the OB is the bay deep enough to play in or do I need to look further south? That's my question. 

Bob

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There's a nice marina at Pirate's cove in Nags Head at the Manteo causeway and it's near the channel that leads to Oregon Inlet. You should be able to pick up some Sea mullet, Croakers and Flounder there. There are a bunch of beach rentals there with slips. It's a short drive to Jennette's Fishing pier which was has beach access with bath house. The water in the sound near the soundfront beach houses is shallow so you'll have to find out the depth at low tide if you choose that option. Beware of soft goundings on an ebbing tide.

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Thanks Cape Jeff. Would I find deeper water to play in further south ( the fam wants to do some tubing as well as fishing) or is the sound plenty deep once I get away from the shore? I would like to find a decent chart of the sound. That would help the search. It's tough to vacation with a boat in an area that's new.

Bob

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Don't go north once you hit the island.  Summer traffic going to Duck is terrible on weekends as there is only one lane of traffic to reach points north.  I am not sure if there is a decent public ramp up that way you could launch from.

Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, or Nags Head is where to go.  Forget about a sound side place with dock for the boat unless you can get a place at Pirates Cove, condos around Manteo, or either of the two islands off the causeway between Nags Head and Manteo.

As Jeff said, there is a nice public boat ramp under the bridge on the causeway.  You can also trailer down to Oregon Inlet Fishing Center and launch at the National Park Service ramp.  Either place will put you in nice water in the sound.  Lots of islands and sand bars to take the kids to and tube.  Just be aware that it is real shallow once out of the channels and you will "polish your prop"!  One other thing...if running north of the causeway, pay attention to the water as there is floating grass in the Sound and it will block the water flow to the motor.  

Fishing in the sound can be fun for the kids.  Get some bottom rigs, 2-3 oz weights, squid and drop a line anywhere along the edge of the channel or the pilings of the causeway bridge.  Kids will catch pin fish, small croaker, maybe puppy drum and flounder.  Be careful fishing around the Oregon Inlet Bridge once you get past the shallow areas as the tide rips through there.  Get up close to the pilings in the shallows and you will find black drum and sheepshead.  Ease over to some of the grass beds along the bridge and toss in a chunk of mullet...puppy drum and speckled trout will hammer them (along with a gazillion crabs!)

Running the inlet should only be done on calm days since it is new to you.  The channel can be tricky due to shifting shoals and you cannot 100% trust all channel markers.  If the wind is blowing out of the north east, waves will stack up at the mouth of the inlet big time on an outgoing tide.  Remember this...if it does not look comfortable to you just as soon as you go under the bridge, turn around and go play in the Sound....you can always try fishing outside the inlet another day!

But...if you can get out, it opens up a whole different adventure.  A small planer rig with a #00 or #0 silver or gold Clarkspoon will have you catching spanish mackeral just outside the inlet.  Look for the charter boats doing big, lazy circles...they are on the mackeral.  Run south along the beach about 3-4 miles and you will see what looks like a miniature submarine poking out of the water at about 15 ft depth.  That is the boiler from a shipwreck.  Small baitfish can be caught there with your bottom rigs.  While the kids are fishing, run another line with a big chunk of mullet on a 6/0 hook and a float about 4 ft above the bait...let it drift back about 100 ft and leave it.  Sometimes we get some nice surprises with that line; cobia and sharks.  One year caught a 7 lb mahi at that wreck!

If it is slow there, you can head straight off the beach 2 miles to the State reef in 55 ft of water.  There is a bouy marking it.  Good chance another boat or 2 will already be there; just don't crowd them.  

If the water conditions are perfect, there are a couple of Navy radar towers off the coast.  The closes one is the "C" Tower and is roughly 17 miles from the inlet.  Even though the water is only 20 ft deeper than the artificial reef, you are now clear, deep blue water!  Around the tower you will find hundreds of spade fish, amberjack and barracuda.  We run out there to catch a couple amberjacks just for the fight as we release all we catch!  Pound for pound, those amberjacks are like hooking up to a tractor and will make you work for the catch.  We normally use 6" white bucktails; cast out towards the tower and let them sink a few seconds, then crank real fast so the fish get excited and chase the lure.  Or, if you catch some small croaker or pinfish in the sound, keep them alive in the floor livewell, then hook them with a 6/0 hook and drop in the water, those amberjacks will hit them in real short order.

I prefer going out down there in the mornings.  Always keep an eye on the western sky starting around 11:00-12:00 for any signs of pop-up thunder showers.  If out at the tower, head back towards the inlet so you dont get caught with a storm between you and the inlet.  Also be sure you have fishing license as they do spot checks at the ramps and have your flares, life jackets, whistle (or anything that makes sound), throwable float, and boat registration as the Coast Guard does check a lot of rec boats since their station is right next to the boat ramp.  One other thing...be sure you have at least a hand held VHF; they are good for catching weather alerts.

Let us know when you plan on going.  I am down there fairly often May thru October since it is only a 90 mile drive from my house to the beach house.

 

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Quick question. You said...

Forget about a sound side place with dock for the boat unless you can get a place at Pirates Cove, condos around Manteo, or either of the two islands off the causeway between Nags Head and Manteo.

Is that because of lack of water in other spots or is it just not easy to find a place with a dock on the sound?

I really need to pick up some charts of the area too.

Thanks Bob

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Lack of boat ramps to the north.  The first public ramp I know of is in Kitty Hawk, then another one down the street from me at the 7 mile marker on the sound side.  Also, up my way there are a lot of shallow areas, so local knowledge is helpful.  As you get down around Manteo, Pirates Cove area, the channel is well marked and easy to see, plus decent docks and more public boat ramps.  Google Kitty Hawk public boat ramp and it will show all the ramps on the island.

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Many years ago we stayed at Duck and had a sound side renal with a dock. That was before I had a boat. I was thinking of trying to find a rental w a dock, but we haven't talked to the reator yet to see if that's even an option. Trying to do my homework first.

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Most of those are to give you a nice place to hang out and fish off of.  Be sure to ask the realtor about any local boat ramps up that way that are open to the public, or even pay ramps.  I am not sure if there are any "public" ramps; there may be a watersport rental that might let you pay to launch.

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My wife is looking into a couple bay frontage rentals with a dock in both Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills. I believe the KDH mentioned a public launch within a few blocks. I have to compromise and keep to a rental that's closer to the beach and attractions.  I won't be able to spend all my time on the boat.😇

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Our place is half way between the sound and beach.  I can ride my bike to the beach in 10 minutes...including crossing the main highway.  The nice thing about being between the sound and main road is it is much quieter.  Previously we had a place on the beach road.  Nice walking across the road to the beach access, but traffic until 2 am gets old.  

The boat ramp in KDH is real nice.  2 ramps, floating dock, and nice access and parking.  Located on Bay Drive and Dock St.

If I am down with the wife, 2 days on the boat for the week is fine; it is that 3rd day of her on the beach without me when I start getting THE LOOK.  One week last summer, I had two friends invite me out on their boats 2 days in a row to run offshore.  I had a little difficulty in getting another day that week to get mine in the water.

One thing you can use to convince the family for more boat time is running in the sound between Manteo and the inlet in the afternoon.  Lots of porpoises in that area to see swimming.  Head back to the north side of the causeway and back side of the Island and tie up at Miller's Restaurant.  Good food and nice view from the top deck.  Food is very good, too!  Southside of the Causeway there is Basnight's.  I don't recall seeing boats tied up to their dock.  Over on the Manteo side, Stripers Restaurant in Shallowbag Bay has dockside access.

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Excellent location!  Good water and lots to do very close by.  The kids can entertain themselves fishing and crabbing on the dock.  If you find the beach a little crowded, take the boat through the bridge and just south are some decent beaches along the channel to anchor off of or go down closer to the inlet and anchor along the sandbars....just look where other boats are.  

As for launching, use the public ramp on the other side of the bridge.  As soon as you cross going towards Manteo, turn left at the light at the bottom of the bridge and that will take you to the ramp.  Don't use the ramp at Feather -n- Fin as it is a shallow ramp and your trailer will bottom out if it is still the same as when I tried using it a long time ago.  The public ramp is so much nicer.

Here are some restaurants to check out that are within 10 minutes of Pond Island:

Tale of the Whale - a little expensive, but food is excellent

Basnight's Lone Cedar - a little less expensive than Tale of the Whale, but good food 

Miller's on the Sound - casual, good food and decent price

Ortega's - in downtown Manteo, small restaurant with great fish tacos and steak.  Leave enough time to walk around the waterfront while there 

Striper's - across the sound from your place and I believe they have slips to tie up for customers.

Let me know if you have any questions.  You will have a good time there!

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  • 1 month later...

I hear ya on winter ending!  We have had more rain since the first of the year than I can remember.  At least it has been warm enough to not be snow or ice, though.  Yard is like as swamp!

Just remember...keep it simple on the fishing!  No need to over think it and take any fun out of it.  I am definitely looking to getting back there in warmer temps.  Was down last weekend and drove by the island you guys will be on that week.  No fun when it is 36 degrees, wind and rain, but was better than staying home in the same weather.

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I hear you on keeping it simple.  This is primarily a family vacation, so my fishing is limited. I do hope to get outside the inlet at least one of the days.  I will pick your brain later in the year for some tips on basic rigs to bring for bay and inshore fishing. (I am hoping to catch something tasty to throw on the grill one evening.)  And I am sure I'll be stopping by the tackle shop for what I don't have. There is always room for more tackle!!

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  • 4 months later...

Ok, getting closer to July 18 so following up...

Fishing the pilings for black drum and sheepshead, suggestions for bait and tackle? Same for going out 2 miles to the state reef. 

What is a good bait n tackle shop in the area.

Thank you for the restaurant suggestions. I was told to add ONeil's to the list. My wife is cranked for those.

Any big things we "gotta do" when down there? I want to climb one of the lighthouses and see the big dunes.

Thanks for the tips.

Bob

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Oceans East is a mile or so from where you are staying.  TW's has two locations on the bypass and a little farther away.

Mullet chunks on a carolina rig and fish along the islands were a cut comes out of the marsh is a good place for puppy drum.  Switch over to shrimp and speckled trout and croaker will be readily available.  Ask the people at the tackle shops for where to go and what to use for baits.  They should have carolina rigs if you don't want to make your own.  They are easy to make.  I will post a picture tomorrow when I go out to the shop.

Definitely take the kids to Jockey's Ridge to climb the dune.  You can park at Kitty Hawk Kites across the street from the ridge or go to the National Park Service parking lot about a mile past the ridge.  Best time to climb is just before sunset.

Lighthouse climb...check.

Try to get to Pirates Cove or Oregon Inlet Fishing Center around 4:30-5:00 in the afternoon when the charter boats pull in and see the catch.  I still enjoy doing that.

For the wife, go over to Manteo and walk downtown along the waterfront and let her browse the shops.  It is actually a fun way to kill a few hours.  It if is raining one day, the Aquarium in Manteo is fun to go to.

Kids may like going over to Jennettes Pier, which is the first pier you will come to when heading back to the beach from your house.

I just got back from there Sunday.  Posted under the fishing section about our offshore run....caught a couple of bigeye tuna and 4 smaller blackfins.

Let me know if you have any more questions.

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I read about your offshore trip, sounded fun!! Thanks for the info, great ideas. My kids are all older, daughter is 15, my son and his wife are in their 20s. But we'll have fun!!

You mentioned before about going out to the state reef. What suggestions do you have there?

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Water depth is 55-60 ft.  Will probably have sea bass, croaker, specks on it.  A carolina rig with squid will be perfect.  Also grab a few small whole mullet, rig on on a hook and place a float about 7-10 ft from the hook and let it drift out from the boat.  All kinds of interesting critters (sharks, king mackeral, cobia) will hit that bait!  If you see the charter boats trolling in the general area, they are catching spanish mackeral on #00 or #0 gold Clarke spoon and a 2 oz trolling weight about 10 ft in front of the spoon.  Let the line out about 50 - 70 ft and troll around 7 mph.

The state has been dumping concrete from the old bridge and I think it is near the above reef.  I will find the gps coordinates and post them.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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