The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

June 29, 2012

Jennette’s Pier offers fishing, education, and family fun

Rick Goines

TARBORO — It’s vacation season, and I am sure many of you have plans to visit the Outer Banks (OBX) this summer.  Put Jennette’s Pier on that to-do list.  It is a wonderful fishing pier, and offers something for everyone in the family.  It is located at milepost 16.5 on Beach Road at Nags Head.  From June-September the pier is open 24/7.

The Jennette family built the original pier in 1939.  It was an OBX’s first pier, and well received by fishermen all along the eastern seaboard.  It weathered many storms and hurricanes over the years, but Hurricane Isabel in 2003 did a knock-out blow destroying 540-feet of the existing pier.  It was time to redesign and rebuild.

Bowman, Murray, and Hemingway Architects of Wilmington were tasked with this challenging undertaking.  Chip Hemingway, son of George and Lynn Hemingway of Tarboro, was one of the leading architects and designers on this project.

The original 1939 wooden structure was removed, and ground breaking for the new North Carolina Aquariums’ Jennette’s Pier was May 22, 2009.   It was a mammoth construction project amid pounding, breaking surf.  The $25 million dollar project was funded from existing non-General Fund receipts, and perpetual funding comes mostly from admission receipts and private funds.  This historic landmark property, purchased by the Aquarium Society and transferred to the State of North Carolina, continues to make history with its high levels of sustainability and LEED “green” building and operating methods.

The pier is designed to withstand hurricane-force winds, and generates about half of its energy needs with three 105-feet tall Bergy wind turbines, 240-feet apart, 10 Kw each, that illuminate the 1,000-feet long pier.  It includes solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, and gray water reuse plumbing systems are also among the sustainable green building components featured at the facility, plus a waste-water treatment system that can recycle water for toilets, significantly reducing water usage, capable of handling 15,000 gallons per day.

The two-story 16,000-square-foot pier house features a tackle shop, public bath house, indoor and outdoor educational classrooms with live animal tanks, and  a conference center on the upper floor to accommodate large meetings, school groups, conferences, dinners & receptions.  Jennette’s Pier educates about the oceans, inspires appreciation and conservation of North Carolina’s aquatic environments, as well as being a premier state of the art recreational fishing destination.

Hot Spot:  A wealth of helpful information about pier activities, special events, and schedules can be found on their web site at  Fishermen will be pleased to find daily up-to-date fishing reports, tide tables, and real time wind alerts.  Info by phone can be accessed at 252-255-1501.

Summer fishing staples at the pier include the usual bottom feeders:  spot, croakers, flounder, sea mullet, trout, blues, and Spanish mackerel.  Saltwater piers offer up a variety of different and interesting fish.

 Care to share?  Tight Lines welcomes your fishing success stories and “fishy’ photos at

 See you on the water, my friend!