While the black drum is one of the most adaptable fish in the waters of the Coastal Bend and can be located in virtually any depth or clarity, the largest percentage of drum is taken along shallow grassy flats, reefs and shorelines. This often brings them within reach of shore and wade fishermen making them available to virtually any angler.
The black drum for the most part is a bottom feeder. Unlike redfish and speckled trout that can be vicious ambush predators, the black drum tends to mosey along looking for snacks. Because of this, a bait presented on the bottom will be the most productive. Their primary food tracking is done by smell and feel, so virtually any fresh or frozen dead bait will work. Coastal Bend anglers tend use shrimp tails, often peeled, but blue crab, cut squid, and fish work well too. A soft plastic jig tail worked slowly along the bottom will pick up the occasional black drum but is not nearly as effective as natural bait.
Drum can be slow and cautious eaters and may tend play with the bait before committing to eating it. They may pick it up and mouth it for a while. Don’t be in a hurry to set the hook, give the black drum a chance to fully commit to taking the bait.
A full spectrum of tackle is used by anglers to take black drum from light inshore spinning and bait casting equipment to large surf style reels. The determining factor is what size drum is being targeted and, for many, what equipment they own or can borrow!