Guides and recreational anglers are starting to see great red drum fishing in North Carolina right now. The fish are present in marshes and creeks and feeding heavily.
One guide I know in eastern North Carolina has been posting pictures of his reds for a couple weeks now. Tim Taramelli, of NCPierman's Outdoor Adventures, located near Jacksonville, North Carolina, has been catching them on live and cut bait, as well as artificial plastics and topwater lures.
Tim stays on the fish year-round and really knows his stuff. He took a client out on March 20 of this year and guided the young man to a 25 drum day. They caught fish on soft plastics made by Power Team Lures, as well as Top Dog Jrs. Three of the many drum they caught that day were over-slot fish, with one exceeding 28 inches. The rest were mid- to upper-slot fish.
Finger mullet have been present in marshes in North Carolina for a few weeks now and they are starting to show up in the creeks as well. It's early, but with a little work and a keen eye, a skillful cast-netter can catch bait for a day's fishing.
Tim has been catching the majority of his fish on soft plastics so far, but has also been using live and cut bait as well with good success. He guides year-round for multiple species, including saltwater and freshwater game fish. Tim also offers generous discounts for military personnel, past and present.
Red drum will hit just about anything a largemouth bass will. Anglers utilizing flats boats or kayaks cruising in tidal waterways should look for pockets and corners, tiny coves and creek mouths to throw their offerings. A slow-rolled spinnerbait is one of my favorite ways to fish for red drum, and this method will often produce flounder as well.
If you have a kayak or boat and all the gear, one great place to try is Fort Fisher at Kure Beach, North Carolina. There are public boat ramps where you can launch with grass flats in sight. Its also an historic area. The Confederates built a fort there during the Civil War to protect trading routes accessing the port at Wilmington. Take I-40 east to the coast of North Carolina and as you pass Carolina Beach you eventually end at the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area.
The action is just starting to heat up after a brutal winter so check your local regulations and get out there now. If you want to try a guide in eastern North Carolina, I can't think of a better man than Tim to take you out for day you won't soon forget.