When the big reds appear on the surface from North Carolina to Virginia, they’re on the hunt and easy to catch. Finding them is the hardest part.
Spring: East Coast Virginia
From mid-April to late May, anchor along the shallow shoals at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay and the East Coast barrier islands. Use a heavy-action boat rod fitted with a fish-finding device baited with a whole blue crab or a cut piece of menhaden or mullet.
Summer: Virginia Beach
From late May to early fall, cruise slowly around the lower Chesapeake Bay, east coast islands, and Virginia Beach waterfront, looking for huge schools of big red drums slowly swimming to the surface. Cast a 2-ounce bucktail or an 8-inch swimbait with a heavy spinning rod.
Fall: Outer Banks
Red drum season culminates with their mass migration along the Outer Banks. From early September through November, anglers discover schools of red drums around Oregon Inlet, Hatteras Inlet, and the barrier islands. Wet along the inlet shoals and fish cut bait for the big drum. Or hit the beaches or fishing piers with a heavy-action 12-foot surf rod and high-speed reel to cast cut bait on a big drum as you cruise the surf line.