Head to Cape Lookout Jetty for March black drum
Noah Lynk, a Harkers Island-based guide said most of the March fishing along North Carolina’s central coast is for red drum in the ocean. But he said you can find black drum any place you find structure.
The primary bottom feature that lures Lynk onto the water in March is the Cape Lookout Rock Jetty. Extending into the waters of Barden Inlet about a half-mile northwest from Cape Lookout National Seashore, the man-made jumble of rocks attracts baitfish, sport fish and hearty saltwater anglers.
“Black drum and sheepshead will be around the jetty until the water warms up,” Lynk said.
Once a spot for large winter spotted seatrout, specks have migrated from CALO to Delaware Bay in recent years.
Catching black drum is pretty simple, too, and these fish have a wonderful taste that’s attracted even more anglers who have discovered the jetty’s non-stop action and the taste of these fish.
Lynk fishes with medium-powered rods fitted with 3000-series reels spooled with 15- to 20-pound test braid and a Carolina-rigged section of 30-pound test fluorocarbon leader with a live-bait hook that holds a piece of frozen shrimp.
“It’s just a basic outfit, not too heavy or too light,” he said. “You wouldn’t want ultra-light tackle with 4- to 10-pound test leaders.
Be prepared for hangups
“Casting at the jetty also means a lot of hangups on rocks and where the bottom is covered by broken lines, lures and anchors.”
Division of Marine Fisheries daily catch limits are 10 black drum per angler in a 14- to 25-inch slot. But Lynk’s largest black drum at the jetty weighed 56 pounds.
“Most drum range from 1 to 10 pounds,” he said. “But it’s best to go to the jetty during a north to northeast wind. The water will be slick because the land knocks down the wind and waves. Trying to fish out there with a south or southwest wind is tough.”
“They’re decent to eat,” he said. “I’d rather have black drum than trout, and they’re always out there in winter.”
The main concern in boat fishing at the CALO jetty is to be watchful and avoid the tops of rocks that can be just beneath the surface.
One of the easiest fish recipes to prepare is cast-iron black drum. Place a cast-iron frying pan on a stove top and heat olive oil and melted, pasteurized butter. Add Old Bay seasoning and lemon juice to drum filets, then cook them until meat flakes easily with a fork.
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