There are close to three dozen different species of fish about the waters of the Outer Banks. In this tab, you can find descriptions of the various species, along with many other fun and useful facts.


Spring – March thru May

Spring’s weather may be pleasant, but the ocean is cold. As water warms to 55 degrees, skates, dogfish and puffers arrive. They are followed by croakers, sea mullet, bluefish, speckled trout, red drum and grey trout.

Summer – June thru August

Summer’s warm, clear and calm water triggers the arrival of seasonal visitors such as Spanish mackerel, sheepshead and pompano. They prefer water from 67 to 85 degrees

Fall – September thru November

Fall is the prime time for pier and surf fishing. In September and October, schools of migrating baitfish swim close to shore and are pursued by bluefish, speckled trout and red drum. Anglers line the pier railings when spot, croakers and sea mullet are running.

Winter – December thru February

Winter water temperatures can dip below 40 degrees, and few fish are found in the surf zone. However, striped bass prefer cold water and winter months can be good for striped bass fishing.

“This information the various seasons is courtesy of the Jennette’s Pier.”


Also, the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries has published a tremendous guide identifying the various species along with color photos. The guide is titled, ” North Carolina – Guide to Recreational Saltwater Fishing”. This guide is available at most tackle shops, visitor centers and through the Department of Marine Fisheries.

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