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Drum Fishing Inshore Waters is discussed including links to where to go, baits and rigs, and other information on Drum Fisheries.

Drum Fishing: baits and rigs, and other info

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Red Drum (Redfish, Channel Bass, Puppy Drum, Spotted Bass) have always been a very popular fish for recreational fishermen and a very important fish for commercial fisherman. This popularity has often meant over harvesting and declining stock. There are st rick commercial and recreational limits to bring back breeding stock and overall levels. Every recreational fishermen I have met was happy to abide by these limits.

Red Drum
N.C.'s State Saltwater Fish
State Record: 94 lbs. 2 oz. 1984

Most red drum reach sexual maturity during their fourth year, when they are about 30 to 37 inches long.

There are two types of drum: Red Drum and Black Drum. Red Drum is the more popular and common fish. Red Drum obviously get their name from their color and the fact that during spawning time, males produce a drum-like noise with their swim bladder. nearly silver. Red drum are are not actually bass but are related to black drum, spotted seatrout, weakfish, sea mullets, croaker and spot, most of which also make drum sounds. Juvenile Red Drum, called puppy drum are usually aged 1 to 4 years and are a great fish. Breeders are usually 4 years or older and range from approximately 30 to 37 inches. They will have one or two spots on the tail to fake off predators.

Red Drum

Black Drum

Red Drum live in coastal and estuary waters of North Carolina. They need this type of water to breed but it is also greatly rich is food for the drum. Drum largely live by feeding on the bottom for crabs, shrimp, menhaden, mullet and spot. Because drum are so absolutely dependent on the estuaries during the early stages of their life cycle issues of environment greatly effect their numbers and production. Larval red drum seek quiet, shallow water with grassy or muddy bottoms.

As puppy drum, three or four years, Red Drum live in the sounds and estuaries or in the surf zones along inlets. As they mature, they are more frequently found in the ocean but still use the estuaries and inlets to feed and spawn. Drum tend to like waters above the low 50's degree with optimal fishing in the low 70's degrees. The Pamilico Sound and its estuaries plus the Hatteras beaches are prime areas for Red Drum.

Many anglers do not fish for drum when the water has been too hot for these fish. Probably the most common bait is live bait, although fresh cut bait and especially mullet or menhaden heads, are good. Crabs and shrimp are also very goodly. Jigs and grubs are popular for catching fish in the sounds and estuaries but are not considered as productive. A variety of other tackle will take them in good conditions. Drum are not dainty eaters.

Because of the "stressed" condition of the Red Drum fishery many are looking for methods for boating fish that improve the survival rate of breeding age fish. Currently, many fisherman and guides are throwing back their single keeper drum. Survival of returned drum can be improved by using a circle hook, don't overplay the fish, keep the fish in the water while treating it gingerly, and finally swirl the fish to wet his gills before release. Also, there is a very effective new rig that reduces fish mortality by reducing gut hooking. It is called a "Lupton's rig" and consists of a 10/0 circle hook --> six inch leader --> a three ounce egg sinker pegged near a swivel end. This potentially reduces mortality by 50% on the big fish if I understand the numbers. Read about hook tips here.


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Fresh bait can be used very productively for drum. See how to find, catch, and keep baitfish.
Good Drum Fishing Links
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