Noah Lynk of Noah’s Ark Charters in Harkers Island said it’s hard to ignore the lure of chasing huge bluefin tuna within a few miles of the beach at Cape Lookout, but for fishermen who don’t have the heavy duty equipment or the desire to get pulled around by a 700-pound fish, the inshore fishing around the Cape has been good.

“For the rest of us, there is a good red drum and black drum bite, and there are also some bluefish, gray trout and sea mullet at the Cape and along (Shackleford Banks),” Lynk said. “The red drum action has been getting better for several weeks. They aren’t particularly large right now, but they are biting really well. Most of them are lower- to mid-slot size fish, but occasionally we catch an upper- slot fish or one large enough we have to release it. The black drum are mostly slot fish.

Lynk (252-342-6911) said the hot spot for red drum and black drum has been along the Cape Lookout rock jetty, with the surf along Shackleford Banks and on Cape Lookout shoals – particularly around Shark Island – competing for the runner-up position. The drum have been moving along both sides of the jetty and will usually sweep past fishermen with the patience to wait for them. The drum are actively feeding, but having bait or a lure with scent is important. Lynk said they will hit scented soft plastics, soft plastics with scent added, whole bait shrimp and pieces of cut mullet.

“There are also some bluefish around the jetty that will swoop in and grab a bait or lure intended for something else,” Lynk said. “You will also see a few bluefish on the shoals and in the surf, but they have been thickest around the jetty. 

“Speckled trout fishing is slowing along the jetty,” Lynk said. “We’re still catching a few, but most of them are small to barely keepers. There are also some gray trout out near the end of the jetty, and it’s pretty easy to get your one-fish limit of them. Grays will sometimes hit soft plastics intended for specks, but we have been doing best with them using speck rigs.” 

Lynk said he has been catching some nice sea mullet in the deeper water out beyond the end of the jetty and along Shackleford Banks through the Sea Mullet Hole and the Dead Tree Hole. Some gray trout have been mixed with the sea mullet and they are eating the same things. Lynk said he has done best using speck rigs tipped with pieces of Fishbites synthetic bloodworms. Pieces of shrimp have been a close second for sea mullet, and the fresher the better.