Fishermen have been creative about finding ways to enjoy the stretches of pretty days between the bouts of harsh winter weather that have been bombarding the coast since Late January. Capt. Noah Lynk of Harkers Island hopes spring brings general warming and extended periods of nice weather, but he has found some red drum in the surf and has been chasing them from land and by boat.
Lynk said some fish have moved from the coastal marshes to the surf zone. He said the action was better last week from Cape Lookout up towards Drum and Ophelia inlets, but there were also a few red drum in the surf between Cape Lookout and Bardens Inlet and scattered along Shackleford Banks between Bardens and Beaufort inlets. Lynk also said there were a few black drum and speckled trout mixed in, but has primarily been red drum.
“There are scattered schools of puppy drum roaming up and down the beach, and you could find them anywhere, but I have found the better concentrations around Drum and Ophelia Inlets,” Lynk said. “While they aren’t real aggressive, they are feeding and will hit lures. I’ve caught a few on MirrOLures and hard baits, but I’ve had the best luck with soft plastics.”
Lynk (252-342-6911) said he had been catching the best with a half-ounce Calcutta Flash Foil baits and a Salty Bay Red Devil on a 3/8-ounce jighead. One of the keys with both baits has been the ability to cast them a little farther than others. He said that extra 10 to 15 feet sometimes made the difference between catching a few fish or staying hooked up.
“Scent is important, too,” Lynk said. “While the day may be sunny and bright, and you’re down to a T-shirt casting to them, the water is still cold, and the fish are still cold, so they aren’t moving real quick. Occasionally, they are fired up, but most days they aren’t very aggressive.”
Lynk said on days when the ocean is calm, cruising just offshore of the breakers allows spotting fish in the surf. They may show as a darker area, and many times you can see them swimming through the swells just before they break. Lynk often rides to the back of the islands and anchored, then walks across to fish. The islands are narrow, especially near the inlets, and this avoids having to run a shallow, unmarked inlet. Either way, it’s good to see those fish in the surf, and Lynk is looking for more as spring arrives and warm weather becomes more prevalent.