October is the peak fishing month on Ocracoke Island. Jumping mullets move along the inlets and beach, providing a great source of bait for game fish such as drum and bluefish. Water temperatures start to cool down toward the end of the month, bringing larger bluefish and citation (over 40 inches) red drum to the surf.
Surf fishing for smaller fish and trophies can be excellent throughout the month. Puppy drum are the primary target of surf fishermen, with many yearling sized drum (27 to 37 inches) mixed in as well. Most red drum are caught on fresh chunks of mullet, and there are many citation fish landed from the surf. Plenty of sea mullets and bluefish can be mixed in, and a few gray trout may be caught by those targeting the sea mullets. Although pompano are a warm water summertime fish, a few may be caught on the prettiest days. Small flounder are caught along the beach, but the best chances of catching larger flounder is along the inlets. The 2023 recreational fishing season for keeping flounder closed on September 29th at midnight however.
Rougher weather brings better chances of the big red drum, and black drum in the three to ten pound range are also found in the rough surf. Shrimp will be the bait of choice for black drum, sea mullets, and pompano. While we haven’t seen huge bluefish blitzes in the surf for many years, the bluefish sizes increase during the month. Most bluefish are caught on pieces of fresh bait. But many anglers enjoy catching them on artificial lures such as Hopkins spoons, and some target bluefish with finger mullets fished on finger mullet rigs.
Inshore boaters take advantage of all the same fish being caught from the beach, and the boaters may also be able to find speckled trout on grubs, Mirrolures, and Hopkins. The biggest target of inshore boaters will be sight casting large bucktails to schooling big red drum. Many inshore fishermen find flounder as they become more plentiful but the 2023 season is closed to keeping after September.
Offshore trolling focuses on wahoo, with some of the better catches of the year. King mackerel and amberjack can be found near the wrecks. And bottom fish will include grouper, triggerfish, and black sea bass.
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.