Report of drum entering waters in lower Chesapeake good news

OUTDOORS

May 29, 1994|By LONNY WEAVER

Captain Gibby Dean, who spends most of the summer chartering his boat, the Double A, out of Hoopers Island, recently told me about a school of drum measuring in the vicinity of 40 acres that had entered the lower Chesapeake. This is good news, indeed.

Drum fishing throughout the middle Bay area last year was excellent. Traditionally, two of the hottest spots for drum are Stone Rock and the area around Poplar Island. If the weather cooperates we can expect drum in our area of the Bay within the next week or two.

When these big fish arrive, the action can be spectacular.

Captain Alan Faulkner, operating out of Tilghman Island, and I got into some heavy-duty drum fishing the first week of June last year. I'm not talking marlin-straining battles, but any time you hook up to a fish that tops 50 pounds you will find yourself with a handful of trouble.

Faulkner and I have teamed on mid-Bay drum before. Drifting soft crab baits within swimming distance of Tilghman Island a couple of years back, we released a mind-boggling 52 in a single day and not 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 discomfort.

Around here 40- to 60-pound black drum are the average and it is not unusual to hook up with bigger ones. The current black drum record is the 103-pounder caught by Bill Moore in Tangier Sound in 1977.

Drum fishing usually peaks a week on either side of Father's Day and it is about this time that the schools often move to the Poplar Island area. Hit the Stone Rock up to that time.

Looking back on my notes from past drum adventures, we usually find them 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.

Drum are soft-biting fish and will take the bait then move off with it. Give the fish 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 on-board anglers.

Charter captains traditionally allow an angler to keep the first black drum he catches and then enforces catch and release. I urge individual anglers to adhere to this wise practice.

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

Area fishing prospects

Captain Eddie Davis, fishing out of Ridge, near Point Lookout, reports that big blues and lots of them are being taken in chumlines near Point Lookout and in the area of the Middle

Grounds.

Croaker fishing is excellent in Tangier and Pocomoke sounds with spot and weakfish moving in the area in good numbers. Blues, but not as many of them, also have moved into the mid-Bay. These blues are in the 7- to 12-pound range and have been hitting trolled spoons or bucktails. White perching is very good off Tolchester Beach in the upper Bay.

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