NC red drum tactics for June

Numerous baits and lures catch red drum (and trout) along NC’s central coast this month.

Numerous baits and lures catch red drum in June

Get on the water early enough, and the topwater bite can be tremendous for red drum around Topsail/Wrightsville Beach in June. Late evenings and cloudy days are also good.

“Redfish will be in creeks, at oyster rocks and near marsh grass edges with oysters in 1 to 3 feet of water early in the morning when the tide’s rising, late in the evening and on cloudy days,” said Jot Owens (Jot It Down Fishing Charters, 910-233-4139).

Owens prefers to cast MirrOlure TopDog Juniors (white body and red head) or Halloween (gold, orange and black). The same colors apply for TopPup Juniors. The lures are factory fitted with two black nickel treble hooks.

“June redfish will be mostly 3- to 10-pounders,” Owens said. “(The Top Dog 84-808 MR Juniors) are about 4 inches (long) and resemble menhadens.”

Inside rattles emit low-frequency sounds that may draw strikes from other species, particularly spotted seatrout, in early hours.

The most-effective tactic for retrieving Top Dog Jrs. is the “walk-the-dog” method. This technique takes a little practice to master but imparts a zig-zag motion similar to a wounded baitfish — if an angler snaps down his wrist and lets the lure twitch during a return. It can produce explosive topwater strikes.

Go deep later in the day

Owens prefers medium 7-foot Fenwick HMG rods mated to 2500 or 3000 Series Penn Battle III or Slammer spinning reels spooled with 10- to 15-pound test Spiderwire braid and 8- to 10-inches of monofilament leader.

When the sun climbs, redfish go deeper, ending the topwater bite. So Owens uses a loop knot to tie on a 1/8- or 1/4-ounce leadhead jig threaded with a 3- or 4-inch Berkley Gulp Shrimp in pearl-white, Sugar Spice or Sangria, a new translucent color (pink, red and gold).

“I use 8- to 10-inch long 30-pound-test fluorocarbon leaders,” he said.

To fish soft plastic lures, his terminal tackle may be a Carolina-rig with a 1/2- or 3/4-ounce egg sinker and 18-inch fluorocarbon leader tied to an Eagle Claw L42 1/0 hook to fish live finger mullets or menhaden.

“If I have novice anglers (on his 22-foot Ranger bay boat), I may set up a popping or rattlin’ cork with a 1 ½-foot fluorocarbon leader and fish live bait or 3-inch Berkley Gulp Shrimp.”

Owens said a perfect redfish day would include conditions that allow fishing shallows/flats for a topwater bite then hit deeper spots at docks.

“Normally in a full day’s time, we catch red drum that are 24 to 30 inches but often catch two or three 36-inch reds,” he said.

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About Craig Holt 1373 Articles
Craig Holt of Snow Camp has been an outdoor writer for almost 40 years, working for several newspapers, then serving as managing editor for North Carolina Sportsman and South Carolina Sportsman before becoming a full-time free-lancer in 2009.

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