It's time to pound beat in search of some big drum

OUTDOORS

June 06, 1993|By LONNY WEAVER

Captain Alan Faulkner, a favorite fishing partner of mine operating the middle-bay area, called me last Friday to tell me that the drum had arrived and he had gotten some big ones, 40- and 50-pounders.

Drum are a favorite of mine.

We're not talking marlin-straining battles, but any time you hook up to a fish that commonly tops 50 pounds you will find yourself with a handful of trouble.

Around here, 40- to 60-pound black drum are the average, and it is not unusual to hook up with bigger ones.

A couple of years ago I hitched a ride with Faulkner on a day when he had a paying party of four on board. Each of us kept the first drum we caught, which is normal, and then we played.

Drifting soft crab baits within swimming distance of Tilghman Island, we caught and released 52 drum that day, and not a one was estimated to weigh under 50 pounds.

My arms and shoulders hurt for two days afterward, but the steaks on the grill more than compensated for the pain.

Drum travel in schools and it is not unusual to have several on at the same time. We did just that and the result was mayhem aboard the Chelsie Lynn.

The best black drum action over the past decade or so has been at the Stone Rock, but these are unpredictable fish. They will be thick as hornets for a day or even a week, then simply vanish for a few days and magically reappear.

Drum fishing usually peaks a week on either side of Father's Day. Also, along about this time, the schools move to the area of Poplar Island.

They usually can be found in 15 to 20 feet of water. After locating them on the fish finder, position your boat so that the wind and tide will drift you right over the school.

A 9/0 hook wrapped around a good hunk of crab is just the ticket. Use a 50-pound test mono leader and 1 ounce of weight.

SG They are very soft-biting fish and will take the bait then move off

with it. Give a drum enough time to get the crab bait well into its mouth and then really rear back on the line to set the hook hard.

Once hooked, the key is to get that fish in the boat as soon as possible so as not to disturb the school unduly and to avoid tangling lines with other boats or anglers.

If you never have fished for drum or do not have the heavy tackle demanded by these big fish, your best bet is to engage the services of a charter boat.

Some that I have fished with over the years and confidently can recommend are Faulkner, (410) 745-3160, fishing out of Tilghman Island, as does Captain Bud Harrison (410) 886-2121. Captain Ed O'Brien, (301) 855-8076, operates out of Chesapeake Beach and Solomons Island, and Captain Eddie Davis, (301) 872-5871, fishes out of Ridge, which is near Point Lookout.

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