Hitting the target: red and black drum

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By Capt. Jacob Frick

Redfish have been the No. 1 target for most of our trips this past week, and we have enjoyed success on most trips. Black drum have been the secondary target and have also provided excitement at times.
Flounder and trout have joined the action periodically, but they have been incidental catches as we have been targeting other species.
Russell Combs had been communicating with me via email. Combs said he would be bringing his 9-year-old son, Nate Combs, and his 9-year-old nephew, Mike Niemeic, on the charter.
As always, I am particularly thrilled to have kids on my boat, yet feel tremendous pressure to provide action. We were scheduled to leave the docks behind the Ocean Isle Fishing Center at 7:30 Thursday morning.
I had a live well full of shrimp, and Capt. Jeff Williamson, of Get Busy charters, provided some live menhaden. With live wells full of fresh, lively baits, we headed to our first destination.
The plan was to use two different presentations to find the bite. First order of business was to get several lines in the water with a live menhaden attached to a Carolina rig dead sticking the rigs right in the honey hole.
While we let the baits soak and waited for the redfish to find them, we stayed active throwing live shrimp under a slip cork. We had several lines set behind the boat, so I worked off the bow with the cork.
The cork disappeared on the first drift, and we landed a 19-inch redfish right out of the gate. Mike Niemeic was already complaining about the fight and how his arm was hurting a bit. I said, “Just wait.”
I floated the cork again and hooked up immediately. The fish spit the hook. As I was getting another live shrimp out of the well, our corner rod started bending and the drag screaming. “Get him, Nate! That’s the one we are looking for right there.”
Nate Combs did a great job at angling a nice 26-inch redfish to the boat. The cork provided some more action for the lower slot reds, but soon came to a halt. We headed to several more destinations only to find boats already anchored in most of those areas.
We finally found a quiet little place of our own for the rest of the day. We were quickly rewarded with a double hook-up with 3- to 4-pound black drum.
Several lower slot reds followed and another nice sized black drum. Russell Combs also landed a huge stingray. It is amazing what you can land on 15-pound test line.
The tide had bottomed out, and it was time to head back to the dock. Live shrimp on the Carolina rig is what produced the final flurry of action for us.
As I reflect on this past week’s action, I can only hope the coming weeks will provide the same kind of action. Mother Nature continues to stay ill with us, providing strong, easterly winds and rain showers each week keeping the water stirred. The approaching full moon probably was the biggest factor in getting the fish fired up this week.
I am looking forward to some calm days so we can get out on the near shore wrecks to target doormat flounder. If the wind will settle, it will bring the Little River Jetties back into play as well.
Drifting live baits along the rocks will produce some solid redfish action. Floating corks with live shrimp near the rocks will provide action from speckled trout, redfish, black drum and the occasional sheepshead.
We are approaching a very busy time on our waterways, so please stay safe out there. See ya on the water.

Capt. Jacob Frick, who has 10 years of knowledge and experience in guiding family, friends, and clients in the backwater surrounding Ocean Isle Beach, is a fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at 803 315 3310 or jacob@oifc.com for additional information or questions about his articles.