Black Drum oftentimes takes the back seat when it comes to other species. But times they are a-changing. Saltwater Angler’s newest contributing angler, Captain Jonathon Moss of Florida’s “Go Castaway Fishing Charters” recently gave us his perspective.
Black Drum fishing is not only alive and well along the Florida coast and estuaries, it’s BOOMING. Part of that boom is attributed to the recent decline in the grassy bottoms of the Florida saltwater flats. The pollution-related decline caused species like Redfish to seek other areas. However, Black Drum loves the sandy bottom and what it has to offer.
There are basically 3 ways to fish for Black Drum with great success. They include sight fishing with soft plastics, fishing near bridges with side-scan radar, or fly fishing. These options leave the angler multiple options depending on their tackle, skillset, and factors such as the boat electronics. Each option offers a fun day of fishing when you combine the rush of sight fishing with the excitement of catching a fish that can range from 40 to 50 pounds in the flats of Florida’s east coast. Best of all fishing for Black Drum is fairly easy when you stick to a few tried and true fundamentals.
First, let’s start with fishing for Black Drum around bridges. This is a great place to start since they love to school up around structures like bridges. There, you will usually find two kinds of anglers. One with the side-scan radar that marks the fish that surround the boat. Be ready to cast past the school and twitch the bait back towards you. I Use a long shank jig head with a paddle tail plastic. For many years, anglers believed that Black Drum would not bite a plastic lure. Over time they have become attracted to plastic lures. In many ways, Black Drum has evolved to the feeding habits of Red Drum. You can also use live or dead baits, depending on your preference. You may have to try a few bridges before you come across an active school, so be patient. Those fishermen that are not equipped with side-scan radar will need to cast until you find the school if you can’t spot them working the surface. You can use the same rigs and baits.
Next is the more open water approach. On Florida’s east coast we have what seems to be unlimited salt flats, rivers, and estuaries that hold Black Drum. This is a great place to find them as they move seeking their food source. You’ll frequently see them pushing the water in large schools. Just keep your eyes open and soon you’re likely able to see the water moving much like a boat wake or pod of dolphins. Slowly move close to them and then cast in front of the school, allowing them to swim into the bait. Now it’s time to be patient. Just wait for the line to move. It’s important to remember that Black Drum doesn’t attack the bait, instead, they slowly slurp the bait into their mouth and then pull on the line. So be careful not to jerk the line. Just keep the tension and reel the fish to the boat.
No matter if you’re a live bait fisherman or prefer artificial baits, Black Drum fishing is great fun and a new experience on every trip.
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