As the water warms in March and fish make their way back toward the beach from the warmer ocean waters, surf fishing starts to heat up the action. On calm clear water days surf casters may be fishing lures for puppy drum. Gold Hopkins and STTR series Mirrolures are great baits for these early season puppy drum, and they can often be effective before these first cool water fish are actively feeding on bait.
Once the water warms enough for bait fishing, usually high 50’s or low 60’s, puppy drum rigs and drum rigs become popular choices, such as the Tradewinds puppy drum rig, Joe Moore drum rig, and Sporto rig. When the wind breezes up strong from the SW, warm water may bring in the citation sized red drum. Surf conditions often require 6 ounces or more of weight to fish in these currents, which requires a strong 11 or 12 foot surf rod rated to 8oz or more. Choosing an appropriate heavy “drum” rod requires discussion with someone experienced in the application. Please contact us by email or phone for more information.
Fishermen that prefer using medium to medium-heavy 10 foot rods sometimes use a beachbomber sinker to hold in the rougher surf. Whether using a beachbomber type sinker or a heavy pyramid sinker (always buy standard lead sinkers in-person on your Ocracoke visit to avoid shipping costs), drum fishermen typically use a fishfinder slider. The slider allows the fish to get the bait up in their mouth without digging the sinker up from the sand. Other fish targeted in the early spring might be blowtoads (puffers), bluefish, and black drum. Each fish feeds a little differently, so be sure to check with us on your next trip for suggestions on how to rig up.
Although inshore fishing may not have started yet, offshore trips can be productive on calm days. Wahoo, blackfin tuna, bluefin tuna, and possibly yellowfin tuna can be caught by anglers trolling ballyhoo. Jigging also creates strikes when blackfin or bluefin tuna are holding deeper than the topwater trolled baits. Blue Water Candy rigs and skirts (JAG’s are a favorite) are great for trolling, and Williamson Abyss and Benthos Jigs often work magic on the suspended fish. Economical and dependable Shimano TLD trolling reels work for most of the smaller and medium sized fish, but don’t hesitate to contact us for more suggestions on this gear.
See recent catches and read the current fishing reports at Tradewinds Tackle on Facebook or on our home page. For more information on what to expect fishing Ocracoke year round see our fishing page here.