Piers of the Outer Banks: Outer Banks Fishing Pier

Published 6:25 pm Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The first 60 seconds at Outer Banks Fishing Pier lets you know that you’re in the right place for a good time. A strand of outdoor lights stretch lazily across the line of turquoise barstools and a mural behind the bottlecap-tiled bar shows the mermaid Ariel toasting to her father King Triton.

For over 50 years, the Outer Banks Fishing Pier has been attracting anglers and diners to its South Nags Head location, a 600-foot pier stretching out to the Atlantic. During peak season, the pier is open 24 hours a day and draws locals and tourists alike.

Everyone has a different reason for choosing the Outer Banks Fishing Pier. For Lucy and Larry Turner of Elizabeth City, it’s the most accessible. “It’s straight, there’s no incline,” said Larry Turner, who uses a cane. Within a few minutes of parking, he can be all set up with his line in the water, enjoying the sunshine and the sound of the surf. The Turners have been fishing at this pier for 20 years.

Bruce Jones comes for the proximity to his rental house, which he can see from his spot on the pier. He shows off four stitches on his wrist that he got the day before from a stingray. “It caught me – the barb right under the tail,” he said.

Michelle and Robert Haney drove up for the weekend from Columbia and were surprised to hook a little sea turtle off the pier. They followed the protocols posted on the billboards that line all of the piers along the Outer Banks, and the sea turtle was returned unharmed to the ocean.

Inside the bait and tackle shop, customers will find everything they need for fishing, as well as snacks, Fish Heads t-shirts and helpful people at the counter. Jim Andrews remembers the good old days. “I worked here at the counter fifty years ago. It was paradise back then – there weren’t very many people, you could sleep on the beach, build a campfire,” he recalled. “Then I served as a boat captain for forty years, traveled all over the world and ended up back here. I’m just passing the time. I work here, do a little fishing.”

Fish Heads Bar and Grill is a destination in itself. They offer the famous 15¢ shrimp happy hour from 4-6 p.m. daily, as well as lunch and dinner options available to enjoy at the open-air oceanfront seating along the pier. They are well known for their burgers and, according to Andrews, “We have fresh tuna every day, calamari and the prices are good.” Fish Heads also has 40 craft draft brews, a large selection of domestic and imported beers, wine and cocktails.

Owners Garry and Mary Oliver also own the bait and tackle shop Fishing Unlimited in Nags Head and the Outer Banks Boating Center, which offers half and full day boat rentals. For more information on Outer Banks Fishing Pier, Fish Heads hours and menu, find them at milepost 18.5, visit them online at fishheadsobx.com or call 252-255-1976.

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