Huge number of puppy drum invades sound behind Hatteras

Guide says schools numbering 300 fish have been spotted in Pamlico Sound

Jerry Dilsaver

April 16 at 6:00 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The Pamlico Sound behind Hatteras and Ocracoke islands has been loaded with puppy drum.
Capt. Joey VanDyke
The Pamlico Sound behind Hatteras and Ocracoke islands has been loaded with puppy drum.

Capt. Joey Van Dyke of Fingeance Charters in Hatteras said fishermen along the edge of Pamlico Sound are receiving a special treat this spring – an invasion of puppy drum. Van Dyke has not seen a spring like this one in either the numbers of fish or the intensity of the action.  

“There are puppy drum on the sound side of the island from Oregon Inlet to Ocracoke,” VanDyke said. “We’ve been catching them for a couple of weeks, and the action is still getting better. It will probably slow as the cold weather moves in this week but hopefully will fire back up as soon as it warms back up again next weekend. I love it, and this bite is barely short of ridiculous.”

VamDyke also said there have been a few big red drum spotted feeding around the bars in Hatteras Inlet, and he thinks that fishing is primed to take off at any time.

“I’ve been talking to a lot of the old timers, and they say the puppy drum fishing so far this spring is the best they can remember,” VanDyke said. “They can recall a lot of good years, but nothing like what we have seen in the past few weeks. I have seen a surprising number of big schools of puppy drum out around the bars and edges in the sound. Some of those schools have been in the 300-fish range, and they’re always biting. My clients are averaging 30 to 50 releases a trip, and some carry their one slot fish home for dinner.”

VanDyke (252-475-0402) said there have been drum around the creeks and marshes behind Hatteras Island out to the bars near the duck blinds that buffer the sound side of the island from waves rolling across the sound. He said this is a prime area for the pups and they are very actively feeding.

“My favorite lure has been a Johnson Silver Minnow spoon in the gold color,” VanDyke said. “I know that sounds sort of strange, but there are several colors of the spoon, and gold is usually the best for here. It certainly has been on fire lately. 

“The other lure that has been working really well is the Redfish Magic spinnerbait from Strike King,” VanDyke said. “It is basically a soft plastic paired with a gold Colorado spinner blade to create some flash. When the soft bait tears up, which is usually pretty quickly when we are catching this many drum, I replace it with a small Z-Man paddletail and forget about it”

VanDyke said that little bit of flash from the gold has been the key to catching lots of fish. 




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