*Click the small images for a larger view*

Mike with a 42-inch red drum caught while fishing the Neuse River near Oriental with Gary Dubiel.Gary Dubiel has been fishing for the giant red drum in the Neuse River during the daytime. No longer do anglers have to feel like they need to head out in late afternoon, fishing into the night, and navigating home in the dark.

Capt. Gary and Capt. Dave Stewart and I caught one red drum each, fishing with chunks of mullet on the bottom. The action was fast, with a fish striking immediately following the previous fish until we decided to sight fish for them. Heading into the shallows, I soon hooked a big redfish while sight-casting the oil slicks created by the big reds eating menhaden. We could easily have caught fish all morning. But I had to head home to prepare some houses and my newly-thinned tree farm for Hurricane Irene's landfall (yes, Wilmington is in the bulls eye again) and even a big strong guy like Gary was thankful. He had been running two trips a day, lifting red drum to the tune of as many as 18 a day for client photos. The fish typically exceed the 40-inch citation size, so multiple citation fish can be released in one day. Anglers should be thankful to catch ONE red drum weighing at least 40 pounds, or a pound to the inch, in any trip, or in fact, a lifetime! In no other type of fishing can anglers earn so many citations in one day, according to Capt. Gary.

Gary took a break after I left at 10:30 after the aborted trip. He had another charter that afternoon and if the morning was any indication, they would all the action they could want waiting just offshore of Oriental, and Gary would get his "exercise" with red drum barbells again.

Speck Fever Guide Service - Gary Dubiel, 252-249-1520. Kneedeep Custom Charters - Capt. Dave Stewart 252-249-1786.