YOU WANT TO catch a monster black drum? We’re not talking about a 10-pounder, here. We’re not talking about a 30-pounder, or even a 50-pound drum. But a true beast of a black, 70 to 80 pounds or even larger.
Of course, you do!
A black drum of this size isn’t very good to eat. They usually have worms in their meat, which is very tough anyway. Also, catch-photo-release is required in Texas because of regulations on huge drum. Still, battling with one of these monster blacks is a serious adrenaline rush.
Ready to make it happen? These three tips will help.
1) Use an entire soft crab for bait. Drums love eating shellfish, but crustaceans that have shed their shell are like candy for them—and you’ve already taken off the wrapper. Don’t get stingy with the bait. A fish of this size won’t bother with tidbits. It wants to chow down on the entire crab.
Just make sure your hook goes into the soft crab via the knuckle of a swim fin, which is just about the stiffest spot on a freshly shed crab. This will help keep the bait intact and on the hook.
2) Use Circle Hooks. Put your crab bait on a whopping-big circle hook. Again, remember, we’re going for monsters here. A 10/0 hook should be considered the minimum and a 12/0 is not out of line.
Will using one of these massive hooks cause you to miss some bites from smaller fish? You bet it will. But it will also give you a better chance of hooking up solidly, if and when Bubba the Black shows up.
3) Try night fishing. Big blacks often become quite active at night. Sometimes you’ll even hear them drumming from beneath the water’s surface. Yes, you can still target them in broad daylight, but fishing the night bite will give you a bit of an edge.
BONUS TIP: Be sure you rig up with a “fishfinder” style rig or an egg sinker, either of which will allow the drum to take some line without feeling the weight so long as you release all tension on the initial bite. Black drums have notoriously sensitive mouths. If they feel any resistance, they will often spit the bait prior to hooking up.
—story and photos by LENNY RUDOW