November 6, 2014

Outer Banks Angling: The drum keeps
on beating...WITH VIDEO


2014 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 Hatteras beaches.

With the right weather, these larger schools could come racing in at any moment.

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 re
ally good year, and I hope it's a sign of the future for these fish.

Along with 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.

In addition 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 warm.

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.

(Rob 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 or

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