The largest of the drum family; exceeding 100 pounds when fully grown, the black drum often play second fiddle to their prettier little brother the Red Drum.
The Black Drum is a stocky, big shouldered fish; they are easily identified by their whiskers or barbells under their chin and 4 or 5 pronounced, dark vertical strips that you will find on younger drum.
As drum get older the strips disappear but their bellies remain white.
You can catch good size Black Drum any time it is warm outside, beginning in April all the way to November.
Black Drum, no matter their size, is a fish that are found on the bottom
Black Drum, no matter their size, is a fish that are found on the bottom. They use their “whiskers” as feelers as they move across the bottom searching for their next meal.
Favorite foods for the Black Drum include clams, oysters, mussels, crabs, worms, shrimp and some fish.
When targeting drum you need to think of two things, deep water and structure.
With many bridges in the area offering water 25-40 feet deep, as well as some scouting on an App like Navionics will reveal some areas off the Cooper and Wando with deep holes.
Doing this in a kayak becomes a little tricky and I do not advise trying to anchor near one of these bridges when the tide is in full swing, that can become dangerous!
The best time to attempt this would be in the slack tide window (30 minutes prior to tide change to 30 minutes after the change).
If/when your anchor gets entangled on the bottom be prepared to cut it loose–better to lose a $15 anchor than your life.
Other spots to target drum is near structure that is close to deeper channels, the structure holds their food and the deeper channel gives them a cooler place to retreat to during the heat of the day.
Live or cut bait is the preferred method to target drum and I would put blue crab and shrimp at the top of the bait list.
Tie on a simple Carolina rig using a 3/0 or 4/0 shank or circle hook and ¼ to a couple of ounces of weight depending on the water depth and current.
As far as gear goes a spin-cast medium 7ft rod with a extra fast action works great working those deeper channel areas.
If you are looking for giants near structure a medium to medium heavy baitcaster set-up on a 6’6” pole will definitely help in getting those fish away from the structure and into open water.
Some people chose to use mono line and/or leader, I prefer to use braid with a flourocarbon leader.
Having a pedal drive kayak over a paddle kayak does give you an advantage especially when working structure.
I’ve lost several nice drum not being able to get away from structure quick enough
Being able to back away from the structure and fight the fish at the same time increases your chances of getting the fish away from the structure where they cannot break you off.
I’ve lost several nice drum not being able to get away from structure quick enough.
Lowcountry Kayak Anglers species of the month for August is the Black Drum and the identifier will be announced August 1st.
If you want to know more about local kayak fishing check out Lowcountry Kayak Anglers on Facebook or at www.lowcountrykayakanglers.com .
Check out our events page for meet n’ fish events as well as our new Mudfish Tournament.
LKA Tournament Director
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