This has been one of the best years in memory for speckled trout along North Carolina’s Outer Banks, according to guide Ken Dempsey, and it will get even better this month if it’s anything like past Novembers.

“We haven’t had the numbers of trout in past years that we’ve caught this year,” said Dempsey (252-986-2102), who operates out of Oden’s Dock in the village of Hatteras. “The numbers and quality of the fish have been just great, and we’re hoping the trout and the (red) drum will all be staying the (Pamlico) sound this month.”

As the water cools, many species of gamefish will be drawn toward Hatteras Inlet and the outside ocean, and by November, most flounder will already be outside. But the trout and drum will likely be congregated in sloughs that are close to the inlet.

“Most of the trout and drum will be around the inlet, flushing out and back in with the weather.  Inside, it’s definitely a slough thing,” Dempsey said. “You want to look for some places that offer some deep water, and around here, deep water is 6 to 8 to 10 feet deep. If you can find a grass edge close by a slough, that will be a great place.”

Dempsey said most fishermen targeting drum will be using live bait, cut bait or gold spoons; he does most of his damage in November on trout, and he’s using Z-Man’s 10x soft plastics because they hold up better in the fall when pinfish are still in the sound.

“We’ve gone from using maybe 80 to 100 grubs in a half-day trip to about two bags,” he said. “It’s a really pure bite.”