It’s Time to “Fall” Into Red Drum Season – By Jiggin Jerry

August was a very hot, humid month in the Lowcountry. The consistent sunny days and high heat raised the water temperatures to an excess of 88 degrees, especially in the shallow flats and shallow tidal creeks.

These temperatures are making the conditions harsh for a number of our favorite inshore game fish, like Trout, Flounder and Red Drum.

There have been complaints from other fishermen that the populations of Red Drum and Trout have dwindled.

Because of the high water temperatures, it reduces the amount of oxygen in the water in the shallows

Some believe it is due to a lot more inshore anglers hunting out the fish in the shallows and in the flats, but I do not believe this to be the case, especially with the Red Drum.

Because of the high water temperatures, it reduces the amount of oxygen in the water in the shallows.

Like us staying outside on a hot, sunny day, it reduces our energy levels, causes fatigue and makes it hard for us to breathe in the high humidity.  This is the exact same thing that happens to our inshore game fish.

So, what you will find is that the Flounder, Trout and Red Drum move to deeper pools and deeper creeks where the water temperatures are lower and the oxygen levels are higher, making it easier for these fish to function and feed.

One of the local anglers’ favorite things to do in the summer months is to target Red Drum.

Pocketed up in the shallows, including large pools that are left behind after an outgoing tide, but with the circumstances explained above, that made it hard through July and August to find the numbers of Red Drum that they are used to.

I personally have found a lot of Red Drum through these summer months targeting deeper creeks and deeper pockets off the surf.

One of the exciting things to see was a lot of pup drum this year, proving there to be a healthy new generation of Red Drum.

Now that we have come into September and enter our fall season, we will hopefully start to see some cooler rains and slight temperature drops that will make these Red Drum active again and bring them in the shallows to feed.

The trick to target these drum as we enter one of our favorite inshore fishing seasons

Between September and October, we will start to see large Red Drum arrive, swimming down our local beaches and entering our harbors, some exceeding 40 inches in length.

The trick to target these drum as we enter one of our favorite inshore fishing seasons is knowing what to use and when to use it and your bait will be the key.

Red Drum are a powerful and fast predator, but they have the best of both worlds. They even feed like Catfish, targeting decaying fish and crabs with an ability to smell fresh cut bait in the darkest of water in great distances.

These abilities can give you the upper hand when targeting these fish. The Lowcountry is known for its muddy water.

It does not allow for great visibility in most cases, so when fishing a dark creek, a muddy flat or a sandy surf, visibility will make the difference between the decision of using live bait or fresh cut bait.

If the water is clear and crisp, live Finger Mullet, small live Pinfish, live Croaker or even some silver Perch will work great for Red Drum.

On a sunny day, the flash from these fish can be seen for good distances and entice the Red Drum to strike and feed.

If you use these same fish and cut them in fresh chunks of bait instead, the Red Drum can smell them within a 30-yard radius

Where dark, muddy water is concerned, these shiny fish are not as effective. The Red Drum would practically have to be right on top of them to see them.

If you use these same fish and cut them in fresh chunks of bait instead, the Red Drum can smell them within a 30-yard radius, drawing them in to feed.

As we move in later into the month of September, we should see some clearer water, making it easier to sight fish for some of these schools of Red Drum.

This will allow the angler to take advantage of throwing some great artificial lures—artificial shrimp, mullet, paddle tail grubs and curly tail grubs are always successful. Just remember not to throw your lures directly on the fish.

This will also cause the fish to scatter and startle them. Instead, throw ahead of the fish, anticipating its direction.

As the fish approaches, start to twitch your bait as if it panicked when the drum moved closer. In most cases, the drum will strike by a reactive instinct, saying to himself, “Oh you’re not getting away from me!” LOL.

I hope this helps everyone to have a great season for Red Drum. Until next time, good luck out there and have fun fishing! To view some fishing adventures, go to my YouTube Channel Fishing With Jiggin Jerry

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