Inshore Challenge: Dialing in the Drum

Inshore Challenge: Dialing in the Drum
Keith Hartsell nets a monster black drum for his partner Charlie Thomason. (David A. Brown photo)

Despite their abundance and eagerness to eat a bait, black drum don’t exactly advertise their location. Riding and looking will occasionally turn up a few opportunities, but refining the search to either known drum hangouts or areas of likely habitat will tip the odds in your favor. Fishing mainly in Lake Calabasse, Thomason and Hartsell pursued their quarry across broad shallow water expanses, but they encountered their most consistent action over oyster bottom.

“Those big drum actually eat those oysters,” Thomason said. “They also eat the shrimp in those areas – we actually saw them coming up and busting shrimp on the surface.

When searching likely areas, the anglers watched for boils, wakes and more definitive signs of drum activity.

“What we were looking for were what we call ‘muds’ or ‘burnouts’ where the fish’s tail makes a disturbance in the mud,” Hartsell said. “Wherever you see that, either there was a fish there or he’s still there feeding. That’s what we keyed on the entire tournament – getting the baits as close to those muds and burnouts as we could.”


Thomason said that once they spotted one of these fish cues, they’d use the trolling motor to ease into the area with optimal stealth. Minimizing noise was essential, as the fish tend to get spooky the shallower they feed. The boat’s water displacement sent a pressure wave toward the school and when the drum rose up to move, the anglers could better gauge their casts.


“You want to throw on either side of the school when you see which way the school is going,” Thomason said. “In the summertime, when the water’s really warm and they’re actively feeding, the school really doesn’t move that much. With the water temperature being a little cooler, we had to chase them – they wanted to run away from us. We just tried to keep our distance so we didn’t spook the fish and made our casts whenever we could.”

“What we were doing is we’d see the mud, run up and throw in there and it was just a guessing game. We’d hurry up and catch a couple and then that was it.”

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

13 Fishing Inception SZ

13 Fishing Inception SZ

Florida angling pro Jessie Mizell knows that the saltwater found in Sunshine State coastal fisheries can wreak havoc on even the best fishing gear. But with 13 Fishing's new feature laden Inception SZ saltwater baitcasting reel, tackling inshore and light tackle saltwater game fish just got a whole lot easier!

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead gets new product details from Simms Fishing Product's John Frazier about the new waterproof 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch.

Mustad

Mustad's Inkvader Octopus Live Jig

From big fish to small, just about any saltwater game fish out there will love the new Mustad Inkvader Octopus Live Jig that Mustad's Russ Whisler shows to OSG's Lynn Burkhead.

Mustad

Mustad's Saltwater Jig Lineup

Russ Whisler shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the innovative features and great color schemes in Mustad's voluminous lineup of saltwater jigs introduced at ICAST 2019.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish time after time. Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish...

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the cooler.

By Other Freshwater

6 Tips for Nighttime Crappie

Keith Sutton - June 19, 2017

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the...

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options. Catfish

12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record. Walleye

Record-Sized Walleye Was Foul-Hooked, Agency Says

G&F Online Staff

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record.

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

Where and how some of the state's best archery bucks were killed last season. Whitetail

Oklahoma's Big Archery Bucks of 2018

Kelly Bostian

Where and how some of the state's best archery bucks were killed last season.

How a humble Virginia hunter bagged the biggest non-typical whitetail a bowhunter has ever seen. Whitetail

The Story Behind Brewster's World-Record Buck

Lynn Burkhead - October 17, 2019

How a humble Virginia hunter bagged the biggest non-typical whitetail a bowhunter has ever...

Bow fisherman arrows fish of a lifetime on South Texas trip. Other Freshwater

240 Pounds! Massive Alligator Gar Taken on Father's Day

Lynn Burkhead - June 22, 2020

Bow fisherman arrows fish of a lifetime on South Texas trip.

The The eastern Georgia lake may be best known for its bass, but anglers will find more trophies in these waters than just largemouths. Georgia lake may be best known for its bass, but anglers will find more trophies in these waters than just largemouths. Fishing

Chase a Mixed-Bag Bite at Lake Oconee

Larry Larsen - April 28, 2020

The The eastern Georgia lake may be best known for its bass, but anglers will find more...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now