November fishing on Ocracoke Island can be great for Red Drum. The first two weeks of November historically yield the largest fish of the year from the surf, with some fish measuring over 50 inches in length. Citations are awarded for the release of red drum measuring over 40 inches.
Puppy drum, slot limit fish from 18 to 27 inches, are caught in good numbers. Three to five pound black drum, one pound sea mullets, and scattered flounder (flounder is closed to keep for 2023 season after September ) round out the catches for those fishing bait in the surf. Mullet and shrimp remain the bait of choice for most fishermen, although some use menhaden and spots as the water temperatures cool.
Anglers willing to cast artificial lures later in the month will be targeting speckled trout and puppy drum. Hopkins, mirrolures, and grubs are the most popular artificial baits. Clean water allows fishermen to find the deeper sloughs and breaks that these fish prefer. Light 7 to 8 foot rods offer plenty of casting distance and allow the use of these lighter lures. Matching the lure to the conditions and working a slow retrieve are the keys to success.
Inshore, some big drum may still be caught by boaters fishing the inlet. Lucky fishermen will be able to see large schools of fish and sight cast to them with 3 ounce bucktails. Others anchor near the shoals and cast chunks of fresh bait into the surf to catch the drum.
Offshore fishermen primarily target the great tasting triggerfish and black sea bass found bottom fishing. Trolling dead baits, ballyhoo, or king spoons yield the best king mackerel of the year. Amberjack can be found on large jigs or live baits fished near wrecks. And a few troll ballyhoo on wire rigs for nice wahoo.
Regardless of what type of fishing they are doing, November fishermen enjoy the slower pace of the island and the opportunity to find a great catch.
While there can be some good fishing on a pretty day during December, January, and February, there is not enough business for us to keep the store open every day during this period. Tradewinds stays open through Thanksgiving weekend, but we will close for the season afterwards. Please keep that in mind if you are visiting in December 2023, January, and February 2024 and plan accordingly.
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.