The red drum, also known as drum, channel bass, redfish or simply “reds,” is a game fish that is found in the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Northern Mexico.
Along the North Carolina coast, red drum are called by their size. Puppy drum are smaller red drum from 0 to 27 inches; yearling drum are 27 inches to around 40 inches; and old drum are 40 inches and longer.
In North Carolina anglers can keep 1 red drum per person, and the fish must be from 18 inches to 27 inches long.
The all tackle world record was taken in the surf at Avon, N.C., in 1984. This giant red drum weighed 94 pounds, 2 ounces. North Carolina has produced 10 out of 16 current world records for red drum.
Puppy drum are a very popular summer quarry and are found along the beaches and in the sounds behind the Outer Banks. They can be fished by various methods.
In the surf most anglers prefer natural bait like cut mullet or cut menhaden but fresh shrimp is also successful. These baits are fished on a two-hooked bottom rig or a single hook fish finder rig. Back in the sounds drum are mainly fished for with lures such as soft plastic baits teamed up with lead jig heads.
Puppy drum will often hang out over grass beds in 1 to 2 feet of water, and gold spoons are excellent baits in these situations. If the floating grass is not so thick that it fouls up your lure, you can try a top-water bait. Natural bait works well in the sounds for puppy drum too.