Congress named it the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area in 1940 and the National Park Service took control of the beaches under a mandate that they would manage Hatteras beaches in a way that the tradition of free vehicle access would always be available to all citizens that wanted to enjoy it. Driving vehicles onto the Cape Hatteras beaches in order to surf and commercial fish was popular even before auto manufacturers started making affordable four wheel drive vehicles! Once 4x4 vehicles became affordable more and more tourists were driving onto the beaches in those same vehicles that they drove to get to Hatteras and enjoy our spectacular surf fishing. Crowded beaches were bound to create some conflicts and unfortunatley the NPS officials had never completed and filed the required ORV plans to manage the rapidly growing tourism in North Carolina.
A lawsuit brought by Defenders of Wildlife along with the National Audubon Society claimed the NPS never instituted the Congress mandated official ORV plan. As a result Hatteras Island beaches are now being operated under a new official ORV plan that has since been instituted. Today less than 20% of our beaches are only accessible at various times of the year but the largest percentage are closed due to wildlife protection efforts and management issues.
Surf fishing is still spectacular but the area that is fishable varies depending on NPS beach closures. Where those small areas of beaches used to be roped off for bird and turtle nesting now the entire beach is closed and made inaccessible. If you are making plans to enjoy our surf fishing on your vacation, it is always a good idea to check this (NPS beach access map) during the time you are here in order to know which beaches are open to four wheel drive traffic or possibly only accessible by foot or even closed completely.
For anglers that want to trailer their boats, Cape Hatteras offers great summer fishing for species like flounder, speckled trout, gray trout, red drum and cobia. Check with a local island tackle shop like Frisco Rod and Gun, Fran and Fran's or Teach's Lair/Hatteras Landing for what species are biting and how to catch them.
Several top quality licensed professional inshore fishing guides are also available at the various Hatteras Marinas (Teach's Lair, Hatteras Landing and Hatteras Harbor Marina). They will provide everything for your trip including the gear, bait, state-of-the-art boats and a thorough knowledge of the local waters.
Tourists travel from long distances to enjoy the exotic Hatteras deep sea fishing. Cape Hatteras Inlet is the closest location on the entire East Coast to the balmy waters of the Gulf Stream which translates to shorter boat rides and more time fishing. The Gulf Stream offers seasonal angling for pelagic species such as yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna, bluefin tuna, wahoo, mahi, sailfish, white and blue marlin.
The Hatteras marinas offer large fleets of licensed professional offshore fishing charters. These charter boats vary from 34' to 60' and they are state-of-the-art fishing yachts which will provide everything including fishing licenses, all fishing gear, bait, ice and an offshore deep sea fishing experience that you will never forget.
Per-person charters have been called many things from walk-ons, makeup charters, group-share and trip sharing charters. The rates for sportfishing charters are based on a full group of six anglers. This means that individual anglers have a difficult time locating enough anglers to fill a full charter. Our program is designed to help individual anglers and small groups locate a charter boat that is looking to fill out a charter group for a certain date. Please visit our Walk-On website and let us know the dates and location you would like to find a group and we will check with our boats to see what is available. When we find a match we will ask the captain to contact you. (Walk-On Charters)