Posted by Heather James on 21st Apr 2024

Well, are they there? Anybody catching them yet? Where are they? These are the typical questions we get in the spring when red drum fishing is a little less predictable than the fall. As you can see by the photo submitted by Paul and his son Rowan, the drum has started hitting the beach.

This week we are going to talk about red drum also know as redfish or channel bass and the tackle used to catch them. You will also hear the terms puppy drum, yearling and old drum. The slot size for keeper drum is 18" - 27". Puppy drum are typically less than 30", yearling drum are drum that have hit their first year where they are able to reproduce which is typically 30" - 40" and then old (big) drum are over 40" and qualify for as a NC Citation Fish.  https://www.deq.nc.gov/marine-fisheries/coastal-fi...

Red drum spawn in the fall and then hit the beach to clean up on bait and fatten up prior to moving offshore looking for warmer water in December or January. The young drum, tend to remain in the sounds for the first year. In the spring, when the water begins to warm up the bait fish return and the red drum begin to return to the beach. The puppy drum, tend to return when the water begins to hit 60 degrees and the older, big drum tend to return when the water hits 62 to 65 degrees. The key is to watch the winds and when we have had a couple of days of southwest winds (not these crappy north winds we have had for weeks), that tends to raise the water temperature. You can also, monitor the sea surface temperature charts.

We have a link on our website to the Rutgers Sea Surface Temperatures, https://hatteras-island.com/info/. That tool is useful to check for the warmer water showing up along the south side of Cape Point in Buxton.

So, when you hear the Hatteras Island rumblings that the drum are biting, what do you need to have ready? The best bait is either fresh mullet or tuna belly. If fresh bait is not available, frozen is a great backup. If you need to know how to cut up the bait, just ask us and we will show you how. You will want to use either a double drop bottom rig or fish-finder (slider) rig along with enough weight to hold bottom in the current conditions. Here is an image of how your rig should look.

Here are some of the drum rigs we have in stock. Get your gear ready, watch the weather and get out there for your chance to catch a red drum this spring!  You can check them out on our website at www.hattteras-island.com.

Heaver rods in the 12' - 13' in length and will hold 8 oz. of weight and bait are preferred by drum fisherman.  Popular budget models rods include Penn Battalion, Tica TC2, Tsunami Trophy.  The Ninja Tackle Bomber rod is a great mid priced option.  CTS rods are popular high end rods.  All of these can be paired with a Akios, Daiwa or Penn conventional reel with the Penn Fathom being one of the most popular models.  Here is a collection of some of our favorite rods.  https://hatteras-island.com/conventional-rods/

Stop in and see us and we can help get you geared up to land a big drum!