Skip to main content

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

Recent Videos

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Guns

New from LaRue Tactical: Siete Chassis Rifle

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Guns

Model 21 Hunting Rifle from Nosler

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Gear

New Firearm Cases from Plano: All-Weather and Stealth Series

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Guns

Stevens 560 Field Semi-Auto Shotgun

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Gear

Browning's Max Point, Silver Series Rifle Ammunition

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Gear

Pro-Tracker Game Recovery System

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Guns

New Rifles for 2023: Bergara Crest and Ridge Carbon

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Gear

First Look: Ontario Knife Company Red RAT 1 and Bushcraft Seax

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Gear

Silencer Central Banish Backcountry Hunting Suppressor

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Guns

SHOT Show 2023: Mossberg Patriot Predator in 7mm PRC

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Gear

New for 2023: Streamlight ProTac 2.0 Rail Mount (RM)

Worms have been the most popular soft-plastic bait for bass for decades. There is a huge variety of colors and styles, a...
Fishing

Go-To Worm Rigs

Game & Fish Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

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

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now