Black drum fish are incredibly fun to catch! Use our guide to find out what is a black drum fish and get some tips and tactics on how to catch this massive sport fish based on what it eats and where it lives.
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So, What is a Black Drum Fish?
The big black drum fish got its name because of the sounds that it makes, which are loud and distinctive like the drum. It makes this noise because it raps its muscle against its swim bladder when it’s the breeding season so it attracts suitable mates.
A lot of anglers are curious to know what a black drum fish is as it’s one of the most sought-after sport fish. As there’s a huge demand for the fish, strict restrictions and regulations have been placed on catching large drum fish, including baby drum fish.
The fish are known to be bottom-feeders. They remain in brackish or saltwater. They also like hanging near pier pilings, bays, estuaries, channels, and jetties. They are frequently spotted in southern Florida and Massachusetts, but you can also spot them in northern Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico.
Upon maturity, black drums generally linger in areas that have a soft and sandy bottom. The species also remain close to clamshell beds and oyster beds.
When the temperature of the water drops, black drum go to deeper bays from shallow areas. When the water temperature drops very low, it can wipe out the species all at once. A black drum thrives at 12 to 32 degrees Celsius.
The fish spends most of its time looking for food like mollusks and crabs. It frequently visits piers in search of food sources.
During January and February, you’ll find a black drum school, which is referred to as a ‘drum run.’ This happens a month prior to their major spawning activity.
The most interesting behavior of black drum would be the sound that it makes. The drumming sound is the fish using its muscles in its swim bladder.
Larvae of black drum strictly feed on zooplankton. A young drum will then feed on small fish, marine annelids, and soft crustaceans.
An adult black drum will feed primarily on shrimp, small fish, and crabs. It’s able to crush hard animals e.g. crab as it has a set of cobblestone-like teeth.
How to Catch a Black Drum
Fishing for the fish is easier now. If you’ve tried red drum fishing before, note that it’s quite different from black drum fishing as it’s significantly stronger and larger. Most anglers are successful in catching black drum using bottom fishing techniques used in inshore and surf fishing with a surf spinning reel.
A bottom rig that’s baited with a claim is the easiest and most common way in catching black drum. It’s best to try your hand at black drum fishing where the species is predominant e.g. the mid-Atlantic.
Since they are carnivores, drum anglers use live bait such as squid, smaller fish, shrimp, and crabs. There are black drum that have been caught with jigs, flies, plugs, and spoons in conditions that call for the use of artificial bait.
When attempting to catch black drum, remember that the fish depends on this sense of smell and taste for hunting prey instead of its sight. This is the reason why it’s best to use natural bait rather than artificial lures. Black drum also like facing incoming currents. Make sure your bait flows in this direction.
If you are not getting any bite for a while, break open the bait if you’re in the prime fishing spot for black drum. Break the crab bait open or pinch the shrimp’s head. This will release the flavor and scent of the bait in the water, enticing the fish to bite.
How to Filet a Black Drum
Before you learn how to make black drum filets, make sure you know how to clean black drum first. Black drum is prized for its mildly sweetmeat.
But, it’s also a favorite among anglers and chefs as fileting black drum requires less time and effort. Once you learn the fileting technique for black drum, we’re sure you’ll find yourself fishing for black drum more!
Follow these steps to filet your catch:
Step 1: Make sure your filet knife is sharp to avoid accidents and injuries. Place a microfiber cloth under the cutting board as it will prevent the board from slipping.
Step 2: As you cut the gill of the fish, maintain a 45-degree angle towards the tail. Use your dominant hand to hold the filet knife firmly.
Step 3: Continue cutting until you’ve reached the spine of the black drum.
Step 4: Rotate the knife so the blade lays flat. It should be at a 90-degree angle facing the tail.
Step 5: Process cutting through the fish between its spine and belly. Slice along the spine until you’ve reached the fishtail.
Turn the fish around to cut the other side. This time, the spine will be touching your cutting board. Run the knife down its backbone from tail to its head. At this point, you’ll have two large black drum filets.
Consider cutting the filets into ‘fish filets’ for cooking. If you’re barbecuing or grilling the black drum, it’s a lot easier for you to prepare it if it’s cut into steaks or smaller pieces.
The next time you’re on a charter boating adventure, try seeking out these incredible fish! Of course, make sure you have a sturdy rod and fresh bait.
You’ll be amazed at the tremendous fight this species provides. it will most definitely be worthwhile for you. The huge size of the sport fish also results in awesome fishing pics!
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