Fish Facts » Black Drum
The black drum is a chunky, high-backed fish with many barbels or whiskers under the lower jaw. Younger fish have four or five dark vertical bars on their sides but these disappear with age. The bellies of older fish are white but coloration of backs and sides can vary greatly. Fish from Gulf waters frequently lack color and are light gray or silvery. Those living in muddy bay waters have dark gray or bronze-colored backs and sides. Some are solid silvery gray or jet black
Black Drums are found in the clearest water of sand flats and in the muddiest waters of a flooding slough.They thrive in water so shallow that their backs are exposed, and also in the Gulf waters more than 100 feet deep. They are found in extremely warm shallow flats of the Laguna Madre during summer and survive better than many other fish in freezing weather. They are attracted to freshwater runoff of creeks and rivers, yet can live in waters twice as salty as the Gulf of Mexico. This adaptability makes the black drum available to more anglers than any other bay fish.
Young drums feed on maritime worms, small shrimp, and crabs and small fish. Larger drum eat small crabs, worms, algae, small fish and mollusks.
Black drum are rarely taken on artificial baits since most feeding is done by feel and smell. Cut fish, squid and shrimp are used, with peeled shrimp tails (preferably ripe and smelly) the most popular. Since feeding is done on the bottom, the basic technique is simple - put a baited hook on the bottom and wait for the drum to swallow it. The tackle to be used depends on the size of the fish present. For small drum, light tackle is more sporting but for 40-pounders, heavy rods with plenty of backbone are needed. Use a strong single hook with line and leader of appropriate strength. For more sport, try light tackle using a single drop with no sinker, allowing the bait to move along the bottom with the current. If the bait will not sink, a few split shot on the leader will help. The absence of weight increases the fight of the fish. A conventional bottom rig with sinker and one or more drops with single hooks is most common for bank and surf fishing or for fishing from an anchored boat.
Though most specimens are generally found in the 5-30lb (2-14kg) range, the black drum is well known as the largest of all the drum family with some specimens reaching excesses of 90lbs (40kg).
The black drum is found along the Atlantic Coast from New York south through the Gulf states to Mexico. It is most abundant in Texas and is found in all bay and inshore waters and offshore in Gulf waters.
Texas Parks and Wildlife, Wikipedia
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