Text and photos by Connie Leinbach
James Joyce of Mount Airy, Surry County, has been coming to Ocracoke every October for the last 30 years to surf fish.
While he has gone out charter fishing at times, it’s sitting on the beach he prefers.
“I just like fishing on this little island,” he said recently while waiting for blues, drum or flounder to bite after having landed a large sting ray.
He particularly likes to fish at the north end of the island near the inlet.
“I’ve hooked some big fish here,” he said.
Judy and Skip Simon, of Bernville, Pa., vacation on Ocracoke every year for two weeks in October because of the good fishing.
“The fish are all coming out of the sound as the water gets colder and the other fish are starting to move,” Judy said as she prepped a line on the beach at Ramp 67.
She said they like to use circle hooks because fish hook themselves on the lips (for easier removal) and get snagged in their bodies.
Every day they fished during their two weeks they caught at least one fish, but for the Simons, the solitude of the island.
“It’s zen,” Judy said and the relaxation fishing provides. “It doesn’t matter if I catch them or not.”
Alan Sutton, owner of Trade Winds Tackle, said that some of the biggest drum of the year can be caught during the first two weeks of November.
The world record drum (94 pounds) was caught of Hatteras Nov. 7, 1984, he said.
Drum can be caught in the surf during the colder months, he said. Sometime around mid-November, they leave the Sound and venture into the ocean.
When the water temperature gets below 57 degrees (December and January), the drum won’t eat bait but can be caught on lures.
Other fish around in November are small bluefish, speckled trout, sea mullet, jumping mullets, king fish and menhaden.
While many charter boats are not as active in the colder months, they can be hired to fish offshore for wahoo and other bottom fish.