Banks Angling: A Legacy
fall week has passed and so has another red drum tournament.
The North Carolina Beach Buggy Association’s annual Red Drum Tournament
has been run by a few different folks over the years, but continues to
do well amongst participants.
Anglers continue to show up in good numbers to chase one of Hatteras
and Ocracoke’s most prized fish.
Last weekend, 235 anglers were fishing. They caught a total
of 41 drum, 32 of which qualified for the minimum 40-inch length needed
for a North Carolina release citation.
The second-place overall winner in the tournament was a young angler,
15-year-old Logan Sheriff from Palmyra, Pa., with a 50-inch drum.
Despite this win by an angler in the tournament’s junior division, I
have to wonder if there are fewer young anglers in our sport and in the
chase for red drum.
I still see a fair amount of youngsters who travel to the Outer Banks
to chase fish, but in a lot of cases, it seems it’s the same young
faces each year.
I have to wonder why this may be.
Many a national magazine has written about the issue, and the articles
attribute the annual sportsman loss to a variety of reasons -- loss of
access, competition from other sports, extensive fees or rules, and
even just the modern family not having the time.
I don’t know why it is that the fishing world is losing young
I just hate to see a legacy fall by the wayside.
Chasing the red drum on the Outer Banks is a passion.
While most do stand a chance of catching one of these fish by
purchasing a few pieces of gear and finding a decent place to fish,
those who catch these fish over and over again during a season do so
because of skill.
Catching red drum is a game, a sport, and a thought process.
You have to make sure that your gear is constantly right. You have to
have the freshest bait. You have to read the water and understand the
many weather factors that drive these fish.
Being able to chase these fish from pier, surf, and boat truly
separates many red drum anglers from others.
There are only a handful of adult anglers that do so and the youths are
Now only a few young kids follow in the footpaths of those before them.
Boating is getting expensive and it’s hard for adults to afford to own
and operate them.
Piers seem to fall in the water, never to be rebuilt.
And, more beaches become harder to access.
I just hope that someday, in some way, we can find a way to preserve
this art form in our young people.
Yes, being good at Outer Banks drum fishing is an art form and after
decades upon decades of anglers practicing this art form, it would be a
waste to see it lost.
It was a great week for red drum fishermen on Hatteras and Ocracoke
with many citations and fish of all sizes being landed on the South
Point of Ocracoke. And Cape Point saw over 300 fish get caught over a
four to five day period.
Yes, this is considered as good as it gets, especially if you were
there for it.
I just happened to be there for Sunday night’s bite at Cape Point and
it was very good. I was happy to beach a few fish for myself, while
also helping my fiancée’s 14-year-old son catch his second Cape Point
I’ve been very happy to try and pass on to this youngster the knowledge
shared with me by those I consider to be the best.
It has brought me great personal pleasure to watch him try and take to
the sport and to be catching fish so early in his training.
Yes, it is training, and there is a lot to be trained for -- proper
casting techniques, rigging, knowing how to follow your line in a
crowd, knowing when to change your line or re-tie a shock line, how to
properly cut, preserve, and hook your bait, and the list goes on.
Lots of bluefish continue to be reported all over Hatteras and Ocracoke.
Some blues are caught on lures, while others are taken on cut bait.
A variety of small bottom fish are also being caught along the surf and
from the piers, including sea mullet, blow toads, spot, and some
I‘ve heard reports of puppy drum being caught from numerous locations,
although they do not seem to be hot and heavy.
Offshore boats running out of Hatteras seem to still be doing well
with wahoo, with fair numbers being caught.
There were also reports of blackfin and yellowfin tuna being decked
from the area marinas.
Inshore boats around Hatteras have been able to find some speckled
trout, along with some red drum and bluefish.
Oregon Inlet fishing boats are still having good luck with catches of
blackfin tuna, yellowfin tuna, and even a few billfish.
The inshore boats produced some speckled trout, flounder, and even a
few inshore stripers.
So, fall fishing remains good, and while we are currently in the middle
of a serious weather change -- things are cooling down quickly -- I
feel like the fishing still has a week or so of good conditions to
bring fish to the piers, boats, and surf.
Now, all you have to do is come on down and try your luck.
And, don’t forget -- take a kid fishing.
Alderman is the owner of the Hatteras Island Fishing Militia website
and is a kayak fishing guide. Rob has 10 years of fishing experience on
the Outer Banks, and is host of the “Outer Banks Angler” television
show. You can follow more of his extreme adventures or contact him at www.FishMilitia.com)