If you want to target black drum in the surf April is an excellent month of the year to give it a shot. Follow this simple game plan, and with a little luck your drag will soon be screaming.
- Look for an area of the beach where there’s a gap in the breakers. You want to find a deep spot, which is made visible because the waves will roll in rather than breaking at the outer bar.
- Rig up with a top-and-bottom rig with 4/0 to 8/0 hooks. You can use a doodlebug rig, but this early in the season bait-stealing crabs aren’t much of an issue and since drum often feed near bottom, the floats can be a detriment.
- Bait up with a single piece of Fishbites clam flavor. Then walk down to the suds and dig up some fat, juicy sand fleas. Stack two (three if they’re on the small side) on the hook along with the chunk of Fishbites. Note that some anglers swear by using whole clams, and others fish their sand fleas bare.
- Toss your rig as far out into the hole as possible. If you have waders, a long surf rod, and strong arms, see if you can get your offering all the way out past the outer bar. Unlike some species, the black drum usually don’t come in incredibly close to the breakers.
- Check your bait at least every 15 or 20 minutes. The sand fleas come off easily, and sometimes small fish will peck the meat out and leave you with nothing but shell.
And remember: use a Baitrunner or lighten up the drag when you sit your rod in a sand spike — when a big black drum takes the bait, you can’t count on a spike to stand up to the heat.
Want to see how it's done first-hand? We shot this How to Catch Black Drum in the Surf video last spring, from the beaches of Assateague Island. Check it out, use the five tips above, and if you want to catch a black drum in the suds this spring you should have an excellent shot.