NC Surf Fishing Tips

Thread starter #1
Alright guys... I am looking to get more involved in surf fishing this year. I typically go 3-4 times per year in several different locations up and down the coast. Wrightsville, topsail, and Nags Head to name a few. I have had good luck over the years but wanted to expand and hone in my tackle a bit. Not looking for information on particular spots, just rigs and bait types to use for species in the different seasons.

* Share specifics such as leaders/line/lures/rod/reel and so on. And why you use what you do if you will..... know there are some salty fishing folks on here.

Species I’m looking to target are red drum, flounder, striped bass, trout but by all means name and elaborate on the fish you seek!
 
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Thread starter #2
I normally target Spanish from the pier in the summer months. I use a 1oz gotcha plug (white with blue head) tied on a 20# leader to braid. 7 foot medium rod and spinning reel.

My surf outfit right now is a 10’ rod and spinning reel with braid and different # leaders pending what type of fish I am fishing for.
 
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Wildlifer

Twelve Pointer
#3
Man I have an arsenal of gear dedicated to all manor of surf fishing. the one thing a vast majority of people I see surf fishing is over throwing the fish. I have poles all the way up to 15' Hatteras heavers, they all have their place and uses but I have prob caught more fish on a essentially a heavy bass set up. 6-7' medium/ heavy fast action rod throwing jigs and carolina rigged mud minnows between the bar and the beach.
 
Thread starter #4
Man I have an arsenal of gear dedicated to all manor of surf fishing. the one thing a vast majority of people I see surf fishing is over throwing the fish. I have poles all the way up to 15' Hatteras heavers, they all have their place and uses but I have prob caught more fish on a essentially a heavy bass set up. 6-7' medium/ heavy fast action rod throwing jigs and carolina rigged mud minnows between the bar and the beach.
Seems like everything likes a mud minnow! I have had good luck with those as well. I agree most people cast to far out. I fish a great deal in the wash between bars also.
 
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#5
I'll give a basic setup for each species.

Rode/Reel/Line
Big drum: 10-13 ft rod rated somewhere around 6-12 oz. A reel that can cast far and hold 300 yards of 20lb mono (or higher brad). I use a cannonball rig when drum fishing in the surf.

Puppy drum: 8-10 ft rod rated for 2-6 oz. 15lb mono (or higher braid). A 4000 size reel. I use a river rig when bottom fishing for them. For casting artificial id go 8-9 ft rod rated for 1-4-1/2 oz. a 2500-3000 reel with 10-15lb braid and a 15 lb flouro leader.

Trout: Same as rod for casting artificial to drum.

Sea mullet/Pompano rod: 8-10ft rated 1-4 oz. 10 lb mono (or higher braid) 3000 size reel. I use a river rig when fishing for them.

Bait

Big Drum: Anything fresh. Spot, Croaker, Mullet, BLue fish, Even Pin fish.

Puppy drum: Same as above but also use half/whole shrimp. Artificial baits include 1/2 gold kast master, 1/4-1/2oz jig head with soft plastic.

Trout: 1/4-1/2oz jig head with soft plastic and Mirrolure 52m or 18mr

Seamullet/Pompano: Small pieces of shrimp, Whole sand fleas, Squid strips and Fish bites. Shrimp and fleas are number 1 choices.
 
#6
I fish one short in the wash and one out on a bar both are medium reels loaded with braid and a mono top shot. Have caught 100lb shark on one. When sand fleas show up I’ll hand tie my own rigs with flouro and concentrate on fishing just close to the shoreline. Everything eats sand fleas. I caught 17 sea mullet one day and 11 of them were citations 4 of them were over 2lbs and had one an ounce shy of 3lbs. I use 12lb test with a small reel and medium action rod not much better eating or fighting fish in the surf. Caught lots of drum and pompano doing this as well.
 
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JJWise

Four Pointer
#7
I just started this summer, and had some good luck, but it was mostly luck. Caught a 20” red drum one evening with a mullet on a 6” leader and a 3oz pyramid weight. My buddy (who is much better at it than I am) uses the same rig with mullet or squid. Also got a couple blues by wading out a little and using a gotcha plug.
 
#8
I'd say like most other fishing, mid april-mid may and mid October-mid November are the best times. Fresh bait is always important. Whether that's mullet, shrimp, or fleas. I do tons of inshore fishing so when I'm at the surf I'm usually relaxing and just soak bait.
 

CBD21

Four Pointer
#9
I spend the month of October on oak island predominantly targeting reds, flounder and trout. I run 7ft medium heavy rods and abu Garcia 6500’s with 20lb mono on the reds, trout, flounder I run a fish finder rig with live mullet using 30-40lb flouro leader and the lightest weight I can get away with catch a few nice Spanish on them every year as well. Also run a couple double hook bottom rigs with fresh shrimp for whiting, pompano and black drum. When the waters right and the flounder are in I’ll catch a limit pretty quick on a double jig head rig and gulp swim mullets
 
#10
I spend the month of October on oak island predominantly targeting reds, flounder and trout. I run 7ft medium heavy rods and abu Garcia 6500’s with 20lb mono on the reds, trout, flounder I run a fish finder rig with live mullet using 30-40lb flouro leader and the lightest weight I can get away with catch a few nice Spanish on them every year as well. Also run a couple double hook bottom rigs with fresh shrimp for whiting, pompano and black drum. When the waters right and the flounder are in I’ll catch a limit pretty quick on a double jig head rig and gulp swim mullets
Maybe we can trade out next year. You teach me to surf fish better and ill take you gigging.
 
#12
I'd say like most other fishing, mid april-mid may and mid October-mid November are the best times. Fresh bait is always important. Whether that's mullet, shrimp, or fleas. I do tons of inshore fishing so when I'm at the surf I'm usually relaxing and just soak bait.
Late July and all of August is when I catch my biggest sea mullet/whiting I catch lots of citations size mullet in August.
 

darkthirty

Twelve Pointer
#14
I’m no professional but I’m sure we can work something out you’re welcome to join me in the surf anytime @darkthirty will vouch it’s a good time.
Don’t let him fool you @HotSoup. @CBD21 dont know the first thing about surf fishing. He sucks at tuning rifles and turkey hunting too😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

Cory, I feel like you’re being unfaithful to me by inviting others. Gonna have to nip this cheating on me in the bud. Lol
 

CBD21

Four Pointer
#15
Don’t let him fool you @HotSoup. @CBD21 dont know the first thing about surf fishing. He sucks at tuning rifles and turkey hunting too😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

Cory, I feel like you’re being unfaithful to me by inviting others. Gonna have to nip this cheating on me in the bud. Lol
😂 What can I say @darkthirty jack of all trades master of none haha I’ll try and do better in the future
 
#16
Late July and all of August is when I catch my biggest sea mullet/whiting I catch lots of citations size mullet in August.
You wont find me on the beach that time of year. To dang hot and the bugs will eat you alive. I prefer arpil-may and october-november. Good weather and lots of different species are biting well.
 
#19
Usaually good breeze on OBX this was in August the Pompano weighed 2.2lbs and the biggest whiting was almost 18" long.

View attachment 23320
Im a couple hours from the closest beach. I only get to go a couple times a year. Usually go to CALO, sometimes Ocracoke. This year me and my dad are going to switch it up and go to Portsmouth in the spring. Ive been on CALO and some other beaches in the summer and when the wind died or was blocked you got carried off by flies and noseeum's.
 
#21
Im a couple hours from the closest beach. I only get to go a couple times a year. Usually go to CALO, sometimes Ocracoke. This year me and my dad are going to switch it up and go to Portsmouth in the spring. Ive been on CALO and some other beaches in the summer and when the wind died or was blocked you got carried off by flies and noseeum's.
Portsmouth is a great place and really good drum fishing. Not sure if they are still there but use to be several wild pheasants there
 

stiab

Ten Pointer
Contributor
#23
My surf outfit right now is a 10’ rod and spinning reel with braid and different # leaders pending what type of fish I am fishing for.
Do yourself a favor and add a 10' rod with revolving spool reel, sized like an Abu 6500, etc. You will be able to cast further, throw more weight (when necessary), enjoy surf fishing more, and the women and children won't be trying to use your rod. If you stay serious about the hobby you will end up there anyway, so no need to wait! You will still need the spinning equipment for trout and plugging Spanish/blues.
 
#24
Do yourself a favor and add a 10' rod with revolving spool reel, sized like an Abu 6500, etc. You will be able to cast further, throw more weight (when necessary), enjoy surf fishing more, and the women and children won't be trying to use your rod. If you stay serious about the hobby you will end up there anyway, so no need to wait! You will still need the spinning equipment for trout and plugging Spanish/blues.
Go ahead and make it a 12 footer. If your going to get a heaver get a heaver. The extra 2 feet will get you a lot more distance. Also helps hold bottom better. Gets the line up out of the waves.
 
#26
I have a Hatteras Heaver I had a guy make for me years ago. Biggest advantage to me is those days when it’s really rough and you need 6-8 oz to hold bottom. Those can be the best days for drum and never under estimate the value of fishing just along that drop off at the beach when it’s really rough.
 

CRC

Old Mossy Horns
#27
I have had fair success with the shrimp flavored fish bites strips.

For hooks look into the Eagle Claw 704 snelled circle hooks in sizes 6-2.

They are actually freshwater hooks but work in saltwater for smaller fish like pompano, small drum and sea trout.
 

CRC

Old Mossy Horns
#28
Portsmouth is a great place and really good drum fishing. Not sure if they are still there but use to be several wild pheasants there
Sidetrack but Portsmouth Island seems to be the last place with any real numbers of wild pheasants left in NC.