Capt. Noah Lynk of Noah's Ark Charters in Harkers Island said trout and drum are still in the backwaters and in the surf at Cape Lookout and Shackleford Banks; they're just not as aggressive as they were a few weeks ago. The surf has been a few degrees warmer and the fish, especially the drum, are sometimes biting a little better there.
"I've seen these fish cycle back and forth on what they want to eat this fall and so far this winter," Lynk said. "When the live baits began getting scarce, the trout first began hitting soft plastics, then went to the smaller 17MR and 18MR MirrOdines, and now the inshore trout prefer soft plastics again. I've been using the shrimp shapes from Salty Bay Baits, and they like them. Fishing slow seems to be more important than the color, and they will even sometimes pick them up dead stopped."
Lynk (252-342-6911) said the best trout fishing in the surf had been from late afternoon into the dark of the evening. He said the surf trout were hitting soft plastics, but the longtime favorite for them were the TT and 52M sinking MirrOlures.
"Drum are a little spunkier and handle the colder water better," Lynk said. "They like both the MirrOlures and the soft plastics. I have been finding some large finger mullet and corncob mullet around oyster rocks way back in the back of creeks. When I find a place with mullet, I switch up to a larger size 27MR MirrOlure, which matches their size better, and the drum like them too."
Lynk said his most-consistent lure for puppy drum has been the Salty Bay's Redfish Burner spinnerbait. For best results, he slows the retrieve so the blades are barely spinning.