Wade Fishing the Outer Banks

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of traveling the Kitty Hawk for a wedding…of course I brought my fly rod!  The Outer Banks has a very interesting fishery which is best capitalized if you have a boat to chase bait, explore expansive flats, and chase down fish.  You can also shoot offshore for a little more action.

Unlike the high grass in SC that I am used to, redfish and other species in this area like to explore the coastal waters by utilizing the highway of channels before popping up on adjacent flats.  This is good news for wade fishing which is what this article is about.
The key is getting to the right flat and here are my tips:

  • Utilize Google Earth – look for sand bottom with a deep pool or channel near
  • Blind cast the deep pools
  • Rent/bring a kayak to open up fishing opportunities
  • Bring fast sinking flies
  • Match fly to sky conditions – dark sky, dark fly – chartreuse always works

My Experience

My brother is a spinning rod fisherman and likes to get outdoors when he can. So, we found a flat that is a short walk off the beaten path. If you need guidance, reach out to Harry at OBX on the Fly or shoot us an email. You can find a lot of fishing opportunities by checking different forums, as well.

We arrived at the boat ramp on a cloudy afternoon on a falling tide, put our waders on, and hit the water.  Looking back, I wouldn’t wear waders in the summer and didn’t wear them the following night.  One reason was the cable broke on my boot, but I could move a lot faster without the waders.  Also, you could swim a short distance to a different flat which could be a fun experience for next time.

Our plan was to walk this flat and blind cast into the channel.  So, we were standing in 3’ of water and casting into 4’-10’.  The other goal was to cover as much water as possible to learn the area.  This is a key to anyone fishing a new body of water…cover ground.  We hit two long sections of the channel without luck before hooking this nice flounder on something similar to a Dirty Harry Fly.  I also caught a few other small fish, but the flounder was a cool catch for anyone that hasn’t tangled with one in addition to the last of the day.  Tidal movement was key for the trip. 

The next day I went back out an hour earlier in the tide and saw a huge redfish leaving the flat.  For any wade fisherman, it is tough to check multiple areas which makes putting time on the water that much more important.  I am guessing these fish fall off the flat a little earlier in the tide cycle as they do in the SC marsh.  With that said, I would scout the flat at a higher tide and would have spent more time fishing the channel mid-tide down to the low.  The incoming tide can work in your favor as all types of species use the channels as highways to food sources.

All in all, great wading day.  I would suggest taking a guided trip with OBX on the fly and going solo the rest of the week.  These fish act a little different than ones I am accustom to.

Gear Used

  • 8 wt. – Orvis H3 w. Hydros reel – Scientific Angler Sonar Titan Line – SA 16lb. leader/tippet
  • Flies – Dirty Harry (chartreuse) – White/Olive clouser – SF baitfish white
  • Waders – Orvis zippered
  • Boots – Simms G3…they are old so not Simms’ fault they broke on the cable
  • Stripping basket – I like to use one with sinking line when wading
  • Pack – Fishpond Knife – Spyderco

Share this post

Recent Posts

Smooth Angler Newsletter

Stay in Touch!