Atlantic Beach, North Carolina

The Outer Banks hold big fish.

Fall along the southern Outer Banks means false albacore, and if this season measures up to last year it will be another melee of epic proportions. Most people associate the run with Harkers Island, at the end of Cape Lookout. The truth is the albie show up all along this shore, and Atlantic Beach sits in the middle of it.

Atlantic Beach is a small resort town on a barrier island just off Morehead City that can trace its roots as a tourist destination back more than 100 years. If you're looking for comfort, it offers every amenity you could want, from upscale restaurants to posh hotels.

It also has a large resident charter-fishing fleet that includes boats big enough to head offshore in search of migrating bluefin, along with smaller boats that can chase albies down the beach and kingfish and amberjacks over the nearshore wrecks.

Since the albies that show up here are part of the annual migration, you'll want 9- and 10-weight outfits with intermediate lines and a wide variety of flies. When the fish are really on a blitz, any small Clouser- or Deceiver-type pattern will work in nearly any color. If they are keyed in to the area's tiny baitfish, your best bet is to use small, lightly dressed Mushmouths, Clousers, Glass Minnows and even Gummi-Minnows. When the fish are being picky, fly size is of utmost importance and your guide will tell you what patterns have been working best. You'll need a stout reel because albies are famous for their blistering runs, and a large-arbor model will help you pick up line as fast as possible when the fish turns and runs at you. Also, a rod with a bit of backbone allows you to bring the fish in quickly. If you decide to try your luck over some of the nearshore wrecks and reefs, you'll probably want a 10-weight for kingfish and a 12-weight for amberjacks. Some of the jacks are large enough to attack hooked albies, so be prepared. When fishing over structure, use sinking lines and large baitfish patterns.

To find out more about fishing Atlantic Beach, call Capt. Dean Lamont at 252-354-8486 or e-mail thelamonts@mail.clis.com.