Surf fishing on Ocracoke’s beaches in July is about variety. Different baits and techniques can produce a variety of fish species. The warm summer surf is populated with fish from the shallows at the beach to the deep water outside the breakers.
For the near-shore angler, pompano, flounder and sea mullet are found in the white water at the shore break and into the first deep slough between the breaking waves. Small bluefish move through these near-shore sloughs at times. Casting farther you may find red drum (usually puppy drum but an occasional bull drum might show up.)
There are still a few black drum around in July as well.
Sunrise and sunset are prime times to cast metal lures for Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Watch for days with clear water and bright sun. These sight-feeding fish will locate your lure better when visibility in the water is better.
Just about any species of fish ever caught in the surf are around in July. Certain times are better for certain species (April and October are best for big bull red drum), but in July you may find a little of everything. Baits are a mixed bag as well. Shrimp, squid, clams, blood worms and locally captured mole crabs (sometimes called sand fleas) work well for near shore fishing. Jig heads with grubs work well, too.
If you are casting farther out for bigger fish, you can’t beat fresh cut mullet or finger mullet.
Try fishing with two rods— one for casting as far out as possible and one to use in the near shore areas.
Remember that fish have a very keen sense of smell. Be sure to wash your hands after applying sun screen and before handling your baits and lures.
Bring along some ice in a cooler—in July the high temperature and intense sun can spoil your keeper fish quickly.
Check with Tradewinds Tackle for local advice. Check size and bag limits.
Keep your baits fresh. Respect other anglers, swimmers and surfers. Clean up after yourself. And have a good time.
Ken DeBarth lives and fishes on Ocracoke.