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Oregon Inlet

Fly fishing the Outer Banks of North Carolina
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:12 am

Oregon Inlet

Postby pbramble » Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:29 am

Hey folks, I'm somewhat new to the board, but have been checking in here for quite some time, great forum.

At any rate, I'm bringing the family down to Nags head in August, and also bringing my 23' C-hawk. I have heard bad things about Oregon Inlet, and I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on what I should look out for when using the inlet? Are there some tides better than others? Winds better than others? etc. etc....

Thanks for any help!
Paul Bramble

Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:47 pm

Re: Oregon Inlet

Postby Tailwalker » Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:00 pm


Your boat is plenty big enough so that will not be an issue for you. What you need to watch out for is any wind from the NE, E or SE. Add an outgoing tide to that and WATCH OUT! That inlet gets ugly fast when the wind and tide are against one another and any wind coming from offshore will make it bad. Any wind over 10 knots from those directions and you are probably better staying on the inside. Those conditions cause large breaking waves at the mouth of the inlet and it usually is not worth the risk in a smaller boat. I've done it in those conditions but I've been running that inlet for 30 years. I've been with experienced boat owners that literally though have come unglued approaching the inlet only to see head high or bigger breaking waves. Once you've committed there is no turning back or stopping, you will have to continue through and if you want to try to run it when it is rough you would be wise to tuck in behind a charter boat and let him beat the waves down some. Just don't get in between them because they punch through fast and if you slow or hesitate they literally will run over you. They too have to get through so once they start going they are not going to stop for you.

On a nw, w, sw, s wind the inlet is usually pretty calm. It will get somewhat snotty when the tide is coming in on those winds because the tide rips in and out so fast there but it will be more mixed up chop then large standing or breaking waves.

If there is any offshore swell be very careful as well as it can cause really large waves at the inlet when it meets an outgoing tide. You've probably heard about some of those breaking onto boats trying to get out of the inlet and those are the ones that fool people because the inlet does not look bad and then all of a sudden this large wave will seem to come out of nowhere.

One tip for you. If you are running out or in and a charter boat or boats stop ahead of you make sure YOU STOP! They are usually stopping due to breaking waves so they can time their entrance and you don't want to try and go by them as that is a quick way to get into trouble. I've seen guys slingshot around a charter boat that pulls back just as they get to the inlet only to be met with a wall of water. I watched one boat flip on the right side going out one year in February that we were running out behind because he did this. :shock:

Just to put you at ease though I used to run in and out of that inlet years ago in a 13' Whaler. Never had a minutes problem. I was down there last week and ran out a couple times in a 17' Jones Brothers. No problems. Again though, just be smart, use your common sense and probably stay away from the inlet on a NE, E or SE wind.

Hope this helps. Brian can certainly give you much more info since he runs it daily as can some of the others. Just don't let the scary stories you've heard on the other boards keep you from running the inlet. Good common sense and plain old paying attention will keep you from being a victim like some of these other folks you've heard about. :)

Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:12 am

Re: Oregon Inlet

Postby pbramble » Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:22 pm

Thanks for the info, its greatly appreciated!

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