I left for the OBX Friday morning. I wasn't camping out of my kayak this time, and had a campsite reserved off AIRBNB. First time using the app and it was pretty cool (if you don't know what I'm talking about look it up! Very handy for a traveling angler). Got my camp set up, left the kayak and headed for the surf to land my first puppy drum.
I get out there and the guy beside me is killing it with cut bait. Seems like every 5 minutes he's setting a hook, while my gulp remains untouched. 30 minutes go by with not even a nip, and a really cool looking jelly fish rolls up on the beach. As I'm kneeling it over poking at it like a child my rod bends hard. Set the hook and wouldn't you know, my first red!
I was surprised how hard it fought for it's size. I ended up hooking one other a bit smaller than my first before heading in and calling it a night.
The next day I made a quick stop at the tackle shop, made breakfast in the parking lot, and headed to OI.
The game plan was to get a hold of some fresh cut bait, throw her on the ole circle hook and steel leader, run her out a couple hundred yards into the sound and wait on a sandbar for Mr. Sharky to come by. I jigged and threw out fish bites as I rode the tide out. Notta zilch over an hour. I met four guys on a little stretch of beach behind the inlet who had dragged a surf cart full of gear quite a ways from the beach (I want to say pushing a mile?). I was making small talk with em when I chuck my castnet about 3' in front of me. As I pulled my net in I started grinning from ear to ear. Not only had I caught bait, but I also had a schoolie striper and a puppy drum in my cast net. I knew it was on today.
What ensued was pure epicness. Grabbed my jigging rod and was bent just about all day. I must have caught close to 75 fish, a mixture of a lot of specks, stripers, a few flounder, and puppy drum. Specks were nothing to write home about, although one guy did get a 22". The stripers were smaller 12-14s but fought decent. The few flounder I did nab were all keepers and I ended up giving them to the surf guys.
But what took the cake was the puppy drum, hands freaking down.
Puppy Drum.jpgAnother Puppy Drum.jpgPuppy Drum 3.jpg
I had always heard about how tough drum fight, but to experience it was something else, especially on light tackle. They are absolute brutes compared to the other inshore species. The other species were fun to catch don't get me wrong, but we all knew when we had a drum on. Pound for pound the strongest fish I have ever caught. I can't fathom how hard the bulls fight.
But of course our day was just going TOO well.
Eventually an inshore boat passing by saw that we were on fish, parked their boat, ran over to us and started casting right in between us. The two guys were a little bit inebriated and a lot bit annoying. You'd catch a fish, bend over to unhook the fish and revive it, and stand up only to find that one of these tools were standing practically on top of you trying to cast right where you just had. Come to find out these guys were locals! Who had been fishing all morning from their fancy shmancy boat and hadn't caught a single fish! Meanwhile a West Virginian, a guy from Ohio, and some Western NC guys are down here doing reel guy stuff!
Me and the other 4 guys I had met earlier eventually get tired of smelling the busch light on these guy's breath, and listening to their hoopin and hollerin about absolute nothing. So I decided to walk down the beach about 100yards to try a another spot. One of the 4 guys joined me and on both our first casts we hook up with drum. Guess who comes running down the beach hoopin and hollerin, busch light in hand? Yep.
At this point I'm ready to ask these clowns if they want to follow me home to see if they want to learn how I fillet the fish too. It was just ridiculous. So I stop fishing down there, go back the 100 yards to the other spot and start fishing. I look across the water and I can't believe it. The two clowns aren't fishing, they're just standing there watching me waiting to see if I'm hooking up. At this point I'm just laughing at these guys. Locals with a 300hp boat, chasing some dude from West By God Virginia up and down the beach to see how he catches fish in their waters. I figured I'd let it humor me rather than ruin an already excellent day. I said bye to the buds I met earlier, and made the paddle back to the launch.
All in all it was a great trip. I crossed redfish off my species list, got my first inshore slam, and got to finally experience puppies on light tackle.