The puppy drum continue to charge the beaches. Without a doubt, they are the talk of the town.
The puppy drum bite has been epic and those taking the time to pier, surf, or boat fish for them have been rewarded in a big way. These fish have been caught on bait and lures alike and at times–I’ve seen two pups on one bottom rig or double trout rig.
What more could an angler ask for in November?
Some are not that impressed by these fish, because there is a one fish per person limit, but most anglers have had no issue with this and have spent many a day recently chasing them.
It was also an epic season in the sound and backwaters for the puppy drum.
I personally punished them from May to October in my kayak and with guide clients. The inshore boaters, kayakers, and waders hammered them all season long, and they were an excellent class of slot-limit fish.
Now, cooler fall temps have forced those fish out of the sound and backwaters and into the surf zone from Kitty Hawk to Ocracoke.
The weather has been funky as of late. I’ve seen it referred to best online by a friend, who said he had worn both insulated boots and flip flops in the same week. While the weather has leaned more towards a cold and blustery status most of the month, we are still seeing days top out in the 70s.
This weather has really helped to do what I had hoped for and kept these fish close and biting hard.
Rodanthe Pier, Avon Pier, and Cape Point have seen some fair runs of the larger drum this month.
The water and air temps cooled down and triggered excellent bites. It took a little while this year, but it’s a welcome change for the anglers.
I had a friend ask me how I really know the bite is that good. He said, “You can’t be everywhere at once to witness it and how can you trust the reports?”
Actually, I do witness it all day long from one end of the Outer Banks to the other.
The pictures hit Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as fast as they are taken all day and night. I’ve seen videos of a fish fight from only moments before hit the net, while the angler was still hooking other fish.
I’ve done it myself.
And, I can watch live action using local webcams. I’ve seen fish fought and landed from the piers in real time.
Some of those cams pan, and I can see people in the surf or near the shoreline on the pier hauling in pups and specs as fast as they can cast.
I can view all these updates from home or on the go from my iPhone around the clock.
Some people hate this type of media and are quick to speak out about it. I understand this. This type of real-time fishing info can put a lot of people on your spot real quick.
But, for local people who rely so much on the visitor, this is great. The person monitoring at home doesn’t have to question if the report is accurate. They can see it for themselves, and they can make a move to head this way.
As damaging as this can be for a bite, it’s a necessary evil.
I know this is working because I know people who have packed their gear and headed this way because of the flow of pictures and videos hitting the net.
Love it or hate it, this is good for us, and I hope the fish bite continues to produce lots of pictures and videos that draw anglers this way for the remainder of the year.
As I always suggest, you can get the best up-to-date and how-to info from the local tackle shops. A little money spent in a shop can go a long way in gaining some info.
Thanksgiving is a week away and the overall forecasts between now and then aren’t too bad, but that changes next Wednesday and Thursday.
Forecasts show a strong storm system heading this way that may produce a lot of rain and strong winds hitting 40-50 mph. It is still a little early to tell what will happen next week, so don’t let this allow you to change your plans if you have some.
And know this–as of late when the weather has been horrible, the fish have still bit pretty hard from the surf and piers.
A scattered mixture of bottom fish also makes the reports from pier and surf, but the puppy drum bite definitely takes the trophy.
Offshore boats have struggled a little with strong winds, but have managed some king mackerel, small mahi-mahi, and a variety of scattered tuna during their trips.
Offshore wreck fishing has produced excellent catches of triggerfish and snappers.
Inshore boats have been chasing small and large drum and are finding some speckled trout and flounder.
All the bridges in the area have had sporadic reports of “schoolie” stripers. A striper is generally referred to as a schoolie when it’s less then 28 inches long.
These fish have been hitting live eels and lures alike, but it’s far from a consistent bite.
A lot of winter anglers love to chase stripers, and with each approaching season these anglers, myself included, hope that these fish will make a strong showing in our area.
But, it’s way too early in the season to know if this will happen.
One can hope.
So, there are fish to be caught and good times to be had. All you have to do is grab your gear and pick your flavor– you can’t catch them sitting at home.
(Rob Alderman has lived on the Outer Banks for more than 12 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 and Release Reels. You can follow his adventures at www.FishMilitia.com or OuterBanksKayakFishing.com.)