As we start the month of October, one can only guess what the upcoming days and weeks will bring as far as the fishing action goes. But if it’s anything like the last few days of September, then anglers fishing the pier and surf and the inshore waters should be extremely happy and have plenty of action. Unfortunately, if fishing offshore is your perk, well, the weather and sea conditions beyond the breakers hasn’t been great and the next week or so isn’t looking all that fishable either. Water temperatures have dipped in most locations into the upper 70s and with the northeasterly winds continuing to churn up the area waters, I’m thinking most locales will not see 80-degree waters again until next year. With that said, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the cool down seems to have really kicked off the fall fishing with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
The main topic of talk among pier anglers is the arrival of bull drum, the likes of which our area has not seen in some time. Yes, these fish have been arriving for some years to our waters but the amount and the quality of the fish that have been encountered along our area beaches the past couple of weeks is far beyond what past years have seen. Drum in the 40-45 inch range have been common catches by those targeting them the past couple of weeks, with a few local piers reporting more than a dozen fish landed and released in a day. A Carolina Rig with a circle hook tipped with a finger mullet or cut bait is a good choice of terminal tackle, as the circle hook will almost ensure a clean hookup in the corner of the fish’s mouth rather than having the fish swallow the hook. Also, as mentioned a couple of weeks ago when these fish were first showing up, a longer fight on light tackle is almost a death sentence for these large, mature fish. While it might not be quite as fun, fishing heavier tackle and minimizing the fight to get a quick release will greatly increase the fish’s chance of survival, as will not keeping the fish out of water for an unnecessary amount of time. And, as always, because these fish are larger than the slot limit, these fish must be released. Elsewhere on the pier, anglers using shrimp and bloodworms are reporting good runs of spots, some Virginia mullet and even some decent-sized pompano.
Surf anglers are also getting into the action, with the same species mentioned in the pier reports. The past week, due to the extremely high tides pushing surf fishermen higher up the beach, the lower tide has been the time to fish, as that has been allowing anglers to reach the deeper holes from the sand.
Inshore, the fishing for the smaller slot-sized red drum has been very good as has the flounder fishing. Carolina Rigged finger mullet have been the trick with a lot of fish being found around the docks and in the creeks.