Everyone’s favorite “Big Ugly” fish species, the Black Drum is a seasonal staple here in Naples, Florida. These are hard fighting bottom feeders that are actually here all year round (hanging in deeper pockets around oyster bars or near the bottom), winter months are when they are most popularly targeted. They can show up on the flats in a semi-frenzied school kicking up mud as they churn the bottom on the hunt for food.
Targeting Black Drum on Live Bait
The most popular live bait method is utilizing live or frozen shrimp, rigged on a small weight and a circle hook. The small weight is simply to get the bait to the bottom. Similarly, crustaceans as a group are all truly great bait options. This includes not only shrimp but also cut blue crab, small live blue crab, or even cut clams. Fishing this around oyster bars is a great bet.
Targeting Black Drum on Artifical Lures
When switching to artificial baits of any type for Black Drum the fishing get’s a lot more technical. Black Drum mainly feed using their sense of smell. That said, the best artificial baits to use for Black Drum are soft plastics. This can include paddle tails, crab, and shrimp style soft baits, but adding scent is going to be key. Whether using a shrimp or crab scent based gel or even slipping on a small piece of cut bait, these are both popular options. Aside from this, it is “how you wiggle your worm” when it comes to enticing a strike on soft plastic. Just remember these guys are looking for shrimp or crab to eat (mainly), so mimicking this type of movement is key.
Targeting Black Drum on the Fly
Arguably the hardest way to target Black Drum (or most any species) is on a fly rod. This is also one of our favorite methods. Landing a Black Drum on fly is truly a bucket list item for most inshore long rodders. Shrimp or crab patterns are the most popular flies to use, but even a good ole clouser can get the job done. Again, mimicking prey is key, for Black Drum this means getting your fly to the bottom. This can be done through a combination of sinking line, leader, and fly. Once here, short fast strips, with a slight pause in between, along the bottom, will be the key action to incorporate. If this isn’t working, long slow strips across the bottom will be the other action to fall back on.