BLACK DRUM BRIGADE
BLACK DRUM BRIGADE
- Posted by Nick Honachefsky
- On June 6, 2019
With a new moon passing on June 3rd, black drum will be on the chew in Jersey and Delaware spots like Delaware Bay, Great Bay and Brigantine as they move in to finish up their spawning season.
Generally, boomers will follow channels that are cut into flats-related areas, following the tides and currents to feed upon mussels and clams that get funneled through the underwater superhighway. Once you’ve found your hot spot, anchor up and get ready for battle. Before you do anything, start chumming. Drum can be trained like big old bloodhound dogs and if you get a good trail scent going, they’ll follow it right in. Fresh clams or mussels are the primo baits to attract the broomtailed battlers, and any trip out should start by sending down two chumpots off the bow filled with fresh clams and clam juice up.
Rods and reels need to be pretty beefy as the barrel-chested brutes can really use their weight to their advantage. In the old days, Penn Tuna Sticks were the standard, but you can go with Shimano Tallus TLC66MHBBL rods matched with Shimano TLD 25 reels, spooled with 65-pound braided Power Pro line. Rigs are of the fishfinder variety, meaning a sliding sinker clip with 3 to 6-ounce bank sinker, a 130-pound Spro Barrel Swivel, 36-inch section of 80-pound SeaGuar fluorocarbon leader and a size 10/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Circle hook on the business end. Bait up with big ol’ Surf Turkey gobs of fresh clam, loading up the hook, but be sure to pierce the point out so it can find its purchase on a hookset.
When a black drum takes the bait, the clicker goes off and makes that heart-stopping sound. Don’t set the hook just yet. Drum notoriously sniff around and mouth baits for a few moments before getting the thing down their throat. Sometimes the drum will even play with the bait for a little bit, continually peeling off little sections of line but not committing. Let them run with it until it’s a steady pull 5 to 7 count. Engage the reel and the circle hook will do its job.
Black drum are night owls by nature. Though they can be taken during morning and daytime hours, the best time to hear the drum go boom is from 5PM onward into sunset – and it doesn’t stop there. As soon as the stars come out, drum tend to get even friskier and the bite lasts solid and strong usually up until the midnight hour.
Big boomer drum can really put up a tussle and behemoths that push the 100-pound mark are not rare in Delaware Bay, with average sizes in the 40 to 80-pound range. Generally, black drum over 30 pounds are not good eating, so be sure to release the beasts! Enjoy the battle.