Are You Licensed?

North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries requires everyone who wants to fish on the Outer Banks to obtain a coastal recreational fishing license and become familiar with the rules that govern bag and creel limits.

All anglers are required to hold a fishing license if they intend to fish on any beach, bridge or private sound side pier in our local waters. It also applies to whether the angler chooses to fish in salt or fresh water sounds, lakes or ponds. And in some cases, fishing on different sides of a bridge could mean two different licenses – fresh water on one side verses salt water license on the other.

There are some license exceptions but basically, most anglers over the age of sixteen must purchase one before they wet a line. For more exceptions, see the NCDMF web site or check with a local tackle shop.

All ocean piers carry a blanket license that covers everyone who fishes on their pier. Keep in mind that sound side piers may not carry that same license so the angler needs to check with the pier’s owner.

Fishing licenses can be purchased at all tackle shops, pier houses and many small and large retail shops along the Outer Banks as well as on line. The fees are nominal price to help maintain our world class fishery.

Bag and creel limits are also an important component to maintain our fishery. These rules indicate the minimum size and sometimes the maximum size and the number of a specific species the angler can keep.  Pier staff and most local anglers can help with these rules in the field but it is extremely important to know the rules completely.

A copy of the bag and creel limits can be obtained at most locations around the Outer Banks. A copy can also be found on the tab “Fishing Regulations” on the web site.

For a complete list of the rules and regulations, you can check with the authorities at

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony