Hatteras’ 70-mile string of barrier islands is an avenue into the ocean, where just beyond the narrow beaches lie ancient shipwrecks and what is commonly regarded as the best saltwater angling on the East Coast.

The Fishing In October, rig cutbait on circle hooks and work the inlets, jetties, bars, and ledges on an outgoing tide for red drum averaging 40 pounds. Or sight-cast to puppy drum (18- to 24-inch reds) and speckled trout in Pamlico Sound with topwater plugs, Shrimposter jigs, and shrimp and streamer patterns. hotspots For big red drum, Capt. Chuck Hudson of Bounty Hunter Guide Service (252-322-7454; points to Ocracoke and Hatteras Inlets and the surf between. For puppy drum and trout, try the inshore side of Portsmouth Islands.

Guide Tip “Watch the birds,” Hudson says. “Usually, if you see pelicans feeding, you’ve got reds beneath them. If you see gannet (similar to a gull), you’ve got stripers.”