One of the bonuses of fishing for red drum during behind Bogue, Bear and Browns inlets is the availability of flounder.
Not only that, but flounder — sometimes doormats — will hit the same lures as redfish.
"All you need is a white- or pearl-color 4-inch Gulp! shrimp on a 1/8-ounce jighead, or use a Carolina rig with a 3/4-ounce egg sinker and 2 1/2 feet of 25-pound fluorocarbon leader and add a live shrimp or finger mullet," said guide Robbie Hall.
"If I want to take home some flounder to eat, I’ll always use live shrimp, if I have them," he said. "Flounder can’t resist live shrimp — and neither can drum."
Hall knows a couple of shallow-water flats where locals cast nets for shrimp, and he’ll visit them to net bait before a trip.
"You never should go anywhere down here without a cast net in your boat, and you should know how to throw one," he said. "If you don’t catch fish, you always can take the shrimp home to eat."
Hall looks for tell-tale surface flips of shrimp, then he’ll ease, bow-first, toward the shrimp. A half-dozen throws of a cast net often are enough to land two or three dozen large shrimp, perfect flounder or red drum baits.
"If I’m going to fish on the bottom, I’ll hook a shrimp in his tail, then cast the Carolina rig toward the shoreline, tighten my line, then let the shrimp sit," he said. "Red drum cruise the shoreline. Sometimes you’ll catch flounder when you’re reeling in your rig."
When Hall fishes for red drum or flounder with artificial lures such as the Gulp! shrimp, he simply hops the lure across the bottom.
Flounder are quick to jump on what appears to be an injured shrimp and strike savagely. And once an angler detects a strike, there’s no need to wait for a flounder to turn an artificial lure around in its mouth as if it were a live bait.
"Flounder will slam a jig, so you should set the hook then," Hall said.