Black drum are one of my favorite species to target during the summer months. They are a part of the drum family and can be found just about anywhere in our area of the Gulf of Mexico, even in the backwaters where our waters begin to turn fresh. When they are in their juvenile state, “puppy drum,” they have vertical black and white lines running down their bodies. As they reach their adult life the lines begin to fade into a more solid gray/bronze color. This is where they get the name “Big Ugly,” because they lose their beautiful stripes and their heads get huge with lots of whisker looking things hanging from their chin for sniffing out their next meal. Because they are a part of the drum family they have crushers in the back of their mouths for breaking down crustaceans. Also, they got their “drum” name by making a deep drumming noise to communicate with each other. If you decide that you want to harvest one of these fish it is best to do so before they reach about 10-15lbs because they start to get lots of worms throughout their bodies as they get older.
There are many tactics to target them… The hands down easiest way to catch them is with a chunk of crab soaking on the bottom and then wait for then to sniff it out. Personally, I enjoy sight fishing them with artificial lures and flies. Although they mostly feed on crustaceans, certain times of the year they will feed on small bait fish. This is when I like break out the Monster 3X soft-plastics like the X-MOVE or X-TAIL and go looking for tails and feeding fish. With artificial baits and flies you have to be on your A game! Most of the eats are soft so you have to set the hook hard and fast. They are sooooo good at telling the difference between real and artificial. Once you’ve gotten them on the hook they are so strong and will pull you around like tank!
These fish are truly a blast to catch. Some of the bigger ones have been around for longer than some of us have been alive so please handle them with care.