Outer Banks Angling: The
has been an absolutely stellar year for red drum fishing. Red drum of
all sizes have been caught all year.
Whether it was cold and snowing or it was sunny and beautiful, finding
a red drum in a fishing report has not been hard. Everyone has noticed
the overwhelming puppy drum population in the Outer Banks waters.
Many an angler has had no problem finding these fish this year from
pier, boat, surf, kayak, or while wading in the back waters.
Towards the end of October, the piers on the north beaches -- such as
Avalon, Nags Head, and Jennette's -- saw citation drum runs that can
only be described as epic--with a few hundred plus fish caught on the
piers in two days. At times, every rod on the end of the pier was bent
over from large schools screaming past.
These schools were not only very large ones, but there were also quite
a few of them.
Generally, by late October, those red drum are long gone from the
northern beaches, but not this year. In my 14 years of tracking fall
drum, this has been the best season north of Oregon Inlet.
Given last weekend's weather, it is more than likely they have shot
south and now places like the Rodanthe and Avon piers will have a crack at
them, along with the surf fishermen along the north side of Hatteras.
Typically, these fish do not make it to Cape Point, but given how this
season has played out, anything is possible.
There were several nice drum caught during the annual North
Carolina Beach Buggy Association Red Drum Tourney from the northern
With the right weather, these larger schools could come racing in at
There are many anglers who will not chase large drum because they can't
keep them, and, to a degree, I understand. However, I will turn those
big fish loose all day and keep on chasing them, as I love the fight
that they bring.
Anglers have not been able to keep a red rum over 27 inches for almost
two decades now. The ban on taking these fish is in place because the
older and much larger fish do all the spawning, and red drum can live
well over 50 years. That's a lot of spawns.
Theoretically, if there is more spawning population, then there is more
likely going to be higher numbers in the overall population and a
better chance for good numbers to survive commercial and recreational
harvests, along with cold stuns and disease.
There appears to be a solid number of older fish, which has led to more
younger fish. I am no scientist and I don't pretend to have
all the answers. I just know it's been a really good
year, and I hope it's a sign of the future for these fish.
an incredible red drum bite as of late, there has been really good tuna
and king mackerel fishing.
Offshore boats out of Oregon Inlet have been returning to the docks
early with limits of yellowfin, along with a mixture of blackfin and
bigeye tuna. King mackerel fishing has been hot for the boats out of
Hatteras, along with blackfins, wahoo, and scattered billfish.
A lot of the inshore boats have continued to do well chasing flounder
and puppy drum, but I'd expect that to slow considerably in the coming
weeks as the water temp falls.
to drum, the piers have been seeing sea mullet, spot, croaker, blues,
and flounder and the beaches have mirrored that.
The water is still warm on Hatteras for this time of year, and how
long the good fishing continues will depend on how long the waters stay
I've fished Cape Point from the surf and my kayak, and I've seen a lot of
life out there. I am sure that will keep up for a couple more weeks.
There has already been a fair showing of trout on the north beaches,
and we can hope that will happen also on the southern beaches.
It's November, so don't even try to factor in weather around here. It
changes too quickly.
Just suck it up and come on down. It's the only way you have a chance
of catching fish.
Go fishing and play hard.
Alderman has lived on the Outer Banks for more than 13 years and has
worked in the recreational fishing industry the entire time. A former
variety fishing TV show host, beach fishing guide, tackle shop and pier
employee, Rob currently owns and operates Outer Banks Kayak Fishing. He
is on the Pro-Staff of Bending Branches LLC, Wilderness Systems Kayaks,
Release Reels, Yakattack and is an ambassador for Ugly Stik. You can
follow his adventures at www.FishMilitia.com or OuterBanksKayakFishing.com.)