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Never fished for them before. I'm fairly new to the barn and just got my first boat last fall for stripers. Didn't set the world on fire but had a blast and am definately hooked.

Talk to me about fishing for drum....when's the best time, setups, etc...

thanks
 

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Rods & Reels: Shimano Baitrunner 4500 is ideal for casting baits away from the boat as well as having enough line and drag capacity for the strong runs that drum will make in relatively shallow water. Shimano Tallus rods rated 25-40# with med-fast taper are also ideal and provide enough backbone. Remember catching fish in the 70-100# is a realistic possibilty on every drum outing so don't bring your peashooter set ups to this gun fight.

Line: We only use braid, as drum fish have an extremely light bite, the braid also helps with solid hook sets. 30-50# power pro is sufficient for our purposes.

Rig: I start by sliding a fishfinder slider onto our main line, I then tie a 50-70#spro barrel swivel to my main line via a palomar knot. I then attach a 12"-20" 40# mono or flouro leader to my spro barrel swivel via palomar knot. Finally at the tag end of our leader I snell a 10/0 gamikatsu octopus hook via a uni-style snell. The reason for the short leader is to keep the bait close to the bottom and keeping it stable in hard running current. Having your bait close to the bottom is essential and sometimes I will add a few split shot or a rubber core sinker to my leader. The reason for snelling the hook as I have found through experimenting with different knots is a) the strength b) the hook set, when a hook is snelled properly the hook set is much better, we find our fish hooked in the jaw 90% of the time.

Baits: We almost exclusively use LIVE, FRESH, SURF CLAM. I can not stress the importance of freshness, as with all things in fishing, it can make all the difference. we use the entire clam bait and discard nothing except the shell. a bushel is usually enough for one outing, for both baits and chumming. i use thread to tie my clam bait securely to the hook as i like to cast my baits far from the boat, when shallow water fishing it proves necessary to get your baits away from the boat

Timing: It is important to understand drum fishing and moon phases go hand in hand. Drum fishing will predictably be best on the hardest running moon currents, that is 2 days before and after the FULL and NEW moon phases. Scheduling your trip for these times can make all the difference. The smaller fish show up earlier in the season with the biggest fish being caught in late may and early june

Finding the Fish: Drum move into there feeding areas in waves that correspond with the tides. A wave of fish may be come through during the slack, while another wave moves in on the eb, drum feed during ALL phases of the tide cycles so there is little down time. The bay is relatively shallow and has drum attracting structure, encluding razor clam & oyster beds, algea beds slopes, and sloughs. We found our best fishing in the Mid Bay area around areas like the "PinTop", "Tusseys Slough", "Bannana Peel Slough", and "Brandywine Shoal". We usually fish in no more than 18' of water and sometimes in as little as 12', although last year the fish were deeper around 16 bouy in 30 + feet of water. Finding areas with hard bottoms with shellfish and bivalve presence are ideal and are indicated as a hard return on your fishfinding equipment. We don't always mark fish as we are setting up but a hard bottom with a depth change is a usually a good starting point. We have found some unlikely drumfishing spots while fishing for bass when we haul the anchor and find it loaded with razor clams or conch.

Technique:
Once you find you're likely area and are anchored up its time to deploy your baits and start chumming. We fill a chum pot with fresh clams aswell as smash a couple clams and toss them all around the boat.

Holding your rod is essential in this type of fishing, dead sticking with J-hooks will certainly produce the skunk you also have the option of fishing rods in the holders locked up with 8/0 gami octo-circle hooks as circle hooks are effective aswell. Drum have the lightest and most subtle pick up you can imagine, often times a single light thump is all you will feel.
If fishing with J hooks and holding the rod once you feel the thump it is time to set the hook, reel all slack out of your line, and firmly set the hook.
 

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Rods & Reels: Shimano Baitrunner 4500 is ideal for casting baits away from the boat as well as having enough line and drag capacity for the strong runs that drum will make in relatively shallow water. Shimano Tallus rods rated 25-40# with med-fast taper are also ideal and provide enough backbone. Remember catching fish in the 70-100# is a realistic possibilty on every drum outing so don't bring your peashooter set ups to this gun fight.

Line: We only use braid, as drum fish have an extremely light bite, the braid also helps with solid hook sets. 30-50# power pro is sufficient for our purposes.

Rig: I start by sliding a fishfinder slider onto our main line, I then tie a 50-70#spro barrel swivel to my main line via a palomar knot. I then attach a 12"-20" 40# mono or flouro leader to my spro barrel swivel via palomar knot. Finally at the tag end of our leader I snell a 10/0 gamikatsu octopus hook via a uni-style snell. The reason for the short leader is to keep the bait close to the bottom and keeping it stable in hard running current. Having your bait close to the bottom is essential and sometimes I will add a few split shot or a rubber core sinker to my leader. The reason for snelling the hook as I have found through experimenting with different knots is a) the strength b) the hook set, when a hook is snelled properly the hook set is much better, we find our fish hooked in the jaw 90% of the time.

Baits: We almost exclusively use LIVE, FRESH, SURF CLAM. I can not stress the importance of freshness, as with all things in fishing, it can make all the difference. we use the entire clam bait and discard nothing except the shell. a bushel is usually enough for one outing, for both baits and chumming. i use thread to tie my clam bait securely to the hook as i like to cast my baits far from the boat, when shallow water fishing it proves necessary to get your baits away from the boat

Timing: It is important to understand drum fishing and moon phases go hand in hand. Drum fishing will predictably be best on the hardest running moon currents, that is 2 days before and after the FULL and NEW moon phases. Scheduling your trip for these times can make all the difference. The smaller fish show up earlier in the season with the biggest fish being caught in late may and early june

Finding the Fish: Drum move into there feeding areas in waves that correspond with the tides. A wave of fish may be come through during the slack, while another wave moves in on the eb, drum feed during ALL phases of the tide cycles so there is little down time. The bay is relatively shallow and has drum attracting structure, encluding razor clam & oyster beds, algea beds slopes, and sloughs. We found our best fishing in the Mid Bay area around areas like the "PinTop", "Tusseys Slough", "Bannana Peel Slough", and "Brandywine Shoal". We usually fish in no more than 18' of water and sometimes in as little as 12', although last year the fish were deeper around 16 bouy in 30 + feet of water. Finding areas with hard bottoms with shellfish and bivalve presence are ideal and are indicated as a hard return on your fishfinding equipment. We don't always mark fish as we are setting up but a hard bottom with a depth change is a usually a good starting point. We have found some unlikely drumfishing spots while fishing for bass when we haul the anchor and find it loaded with razor clams or conch.

Technique:
Once you find you're likely area and are anchored up its time to deploy your baits and start chumming. We fill a chum pot with fresh clams aswell as smash a couple clams and toss them all around the boat.

Holding your rod is essential in this type of fishing, dead sticking with J-hooks will certainly produce the skunk you also have the option of fishing rods in the holders locked up with 8/0 gami octo-circle hooks as circle hooks are effective aswell. Drum have the lightest and most subtle pick up you can imagine, often times a single light thump is all you will feel.
If fishing with J hooks and holding the rod once you feel the thump it is time to set the hook, reel all slack out of your line, and firmly set the hook.
that about sums it up.
 

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Hey Zar have you ever tried Soft Blue-Claw crabs? I heard they worked well.
 

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Hey Zar have you ever tried Soft Blue-Claw crabs? I heard they worked well.
i've caught on both shedders and green crabs. more bites on clams but simply because i use them more often. i've caught on conch as well but u need a hammer to get them and its a bear to pry them out.

another side note.

we only keep 1 or 2 fish a trip, no need to bring home your limit. and be sure to revive them before you release.
 

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great info so far.. i would also sugest booking a trip on a 6 pack boat.. you will learn a ton of info from them...best is adambomb if booked than try the stalker
 

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great info so far.. i would also sugest booking a trip on a 6 pack boat.. you will learn a ton of info from them...best is adambomb if booked than try the stalker
While were throwing plugs out. dont forget to check out Capt Dave on the Daisy May , Capt Brian on Fish n' Chip, or hop on with us on the HOOKED UP II , all nice boats with cabins and top knotch captains!
 

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Thanks Dave! See ya Memorial Day weekend! :)

Josh has good info...definitely want to stress about not keeping too many. 1 per person is more than adequate and I stress this on my charters. For many, that's even too much. They don't freeze well anyway. I've seen 6 pack boats come back with 18 and it's just too much. A lot of wanton waste. Keep a few, catch and release, and keep them around.

When I'm catching and releasing, I use my boga grip, grab their lower jaw, snap a quick pic, and return them to the water. Do some reviving, and let them go. Fish 50lb braid with 50 or 60 pound leader so you can apply some pressure so they don't fight themselves to death.

Go get 'em!
 

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Thanks for the plug Josh:thumbsup:. Chaz....Josh's(zar) info is spot on. We also stress only keeping 1 per person. You will see more and more talk about drumfishing in the coming weeks as the season approaches. Keep a sharp eye out on here:thumbsup:. Feel free to give me a call if you'd like to discuss drummin a little further.

Dave
 

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zar, didnt mean to plug anybody or leave anybody out..i have fished adambomb and stalker before and have always had great expierences...i am sure the boats you mentioned are good too..adam, hopefully i will see you before memorial day on a togging trip... not sure.. money is tight, i am in the process of buying a new boat for me(used) and i leave for 9 days in mexico on 3/30.. so if i can swing it figure the end of april should be good like last year when i got that 10lber...if not i will still book a trip for flounder in the end of june when school lets out
 

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zar, didnt mean to plug anybody or leave anybody out..i have fished adambomb and stalker before and have always had great expierences...i am sure the boats you mentioned are good too
no worries dave, just thought i'd throw out a few more guys who know the bay well ....i fish yearly with adam he certainly knows how where and when to find them, one of the best for sure.:)
 

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Anytime in May to early July is good timing for drum. Don't always follow the "HYPE" (everyone swears by the moon phase and the night bite) Yes, the moon does have an affect on the bite but sometimes its better to go at the beggining or end of a phase and during the week. I went out on 2 weekends (only chance I had) and pretty much got the skunk except for one nice 65lber at day break from a looooong overnighter. If you never did a night trip before as a captain, I would advise you to go along with someone who has experience at night fishing or take a charter (too much can go wrong at night let alone during the day) Stay away from the fleet! I think A LOT of boat traffic/ noise/ hundreds of anchors dropping overboard has a big affect on your chances at catching a drum. Get FRESH surf clam, or soft shell crabs (large shrimp might work also). Leave your flounder sut up at home and bring the TOW TRUCK'N rod- get these big fish to the boat quickly without exhausting them to death. Braid-Braid-Braid!!!!!!!!!!! 40-65lb is what I use. Find a nice edge , slough and even an sea weed flat and you'll usually fid the drum. KEEP ONLY WHAT YOU KNOW YOU WILL CONSUME!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't stress this enough- a lot of anglers feel that they have to catch their limit on drum and bring them back for pictures and bragging rights and they end up wasting them. If you don't know how to fillet them- watch someone at a dock or ask someone to show you, they aren't the easiest fish to clean for a 1st timer but if someone shows you the right way- it will save you a lot of time and you'll get the most meat out of your catch! Last of all HAVE FUN AND BE SAFE!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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While were throwing plugs out. dont forget to check out Capt Dave on the Daisy May , Capt Brian on Fish n' Chip, or hop on with us on the HOOKED UP II , all nice boats with cabins and top knotch captains!

Josh, you pretty much summed it with your previous post! I dont think I could add too much to it!

April is right around the corner.... I'm a itchin'

Brian
 

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Okay . . we've covered all the details on what to do to catch them. A couple of things for after the catch. Consider letting them go. Drum is good eating fish depending on who you talk to. I personally like it. The meat is consistent with veal. Makes a great. parmagian. But these fish need to get old to get big and they do get wormy meat especially near the tail. The worms are harmless and most are unnoticeable and you can remove the big ones. But . . the meat doesn't freeze well and is best eaten fresh. They are like a croaker so you don't get all that much meat off a big fish. Sure . . keep one for the table but the fun is in catching these big guys NOT cleaning them. (Better have a big, sharp knife). Not that much research has been done on drum and fishing for them used to be a novelty. Now, since Flounder doesn't open until Memorial day and there are no weakfish to speak of, people have been fishing for them hard. No way to tell what the high pressure will do to the species but lets show some prudence before it is forced on us.
 

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Lots of great information on the posts so far

I saw a slight decline last year in the overall drum fishing from past years and we went almost every day and this was also the case by a few other captains that have been fishing for them on the Delaware Bay for many years like myself. I am sure others had a banner season in 2009 and may disagree but this is what I experienced last spring. At this time it is nothing drastic or something to really worry about as we had a great spring season in 2008 and we did have some awesome trips last year but the overall numbers were down compared to previous spring seasons for us at least as with a few other very experienced captains we know well. It may have been water temperature, winds ECT and no reason to panic as they might show up this spring in huge numbers but conservation cannot be stressed enough on these breeding fish as that is their only reason to show up in the Bay each spring.
I highly recommend stout tackle when doing catch and release especially in the deeper water over 30 feet as they do not do well after long fights when brought up out along the shipping channels. We have seen far too many fighting for survival floating on the surface as they cannot get back down to the bottom where they need to be after a prolonged fight coming up from the deeper depths. Let's do our best to insure these fish will be around for many years to come as it has always been such a great way to kick off the season along with stripers in our area and they do fight contrary to what we all hear occasionally from those that have never fished for them in the past. They fight a lot harder than any of the many 45 lb plus stripers I have caught in my lifetime.
On the Hooked Up 11 we use all custom rods from Paul at JPR designed especially for spring Black Drum with soft tips to detect the ever so soft tap tap bite when drum suck in the clams. These rods have very strong backbones to be able to put the heat on the drum once we have them hooked and be able to get them to the boat quickly as we release most we catch these days. I have also found at least when charter fishing that conventional reels work better than the Shimano 6500 bait runners we use when bunker chunking the larger stripers. Certainly the bait runners work fine but the average charter customer seems to be able to handle the drum a little better using a quality conventional rather than a spinner and this really holds true when we have two or three on at the same time which does happen when the bite is red hot. I just prefer conventional reels over spinners on the bigger drum when they start pushing 50-60 lbs and up but I know a lot of anglers like and use spinners.
This coming spring season we welcome back Josh, Sean and our new mate Charles all of which have lots of experience both on spring stripers and Black Drum and are great guys as well. They will be working the cockpit and are there not only to catch fish but teach and help our customers in any way they can. Spring drum & stripers is all about starting our season out of Cape May, NJ and providing lots of fun and laughs plus some meat to take home but having an overall great day, afternoon or all-night trip on the bay is what we are all about.
 
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