27 posts in this topic

Now I’ve had a damn fantastic year on bull drum by my standards but haven’t caught one in some time now. Now that the spring run is long gone and I’m ramping up for the fall I figured its time to get the 2008 drum story thread up and going, got about a month from here out to tie up rigs and re-spool for doing battle with these mighty fish. As I’ve been reading through old reports and looking at pics trying to gather as much info as I can I asked myself why I’m so mental about these fish. Here is my attempt at explaining why I do what I do…maybe I should show this to my wife…nah, she might put me in a home…<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

Drum fishing for me is a lot of things, most people say I’m crazy for spending hundreds of hours on the beach waiting for just one fish or for making a day trip driving 8 hours one way, fishing for a tide and coming home spending hundreds of dollars in gas and bait for just one bite. I think there is a connection I have developed in my short time studying and chasing these warriors. The skill, luck, attention to detail, and toughness it takes to hook and land one of these fish is second only to a surf caught tarpon IMO. The behavioral mysteries that surround fall drum add to the mystique and chase but also help me to pass the time in the summer and winter hypothesizing. Through this hypothesizing I’ve begun to think somewhat like a fish, not only a fish but like a red drum. It’s sad to think that these fish rule my world so much that I think about them each and every day, both about their behavior and about improving myself to be a better drum fisherman. When I see a forecast or water temp chart I wonder where they are and when they’ll hit the beach…this could be at any point in the year. I constantly tie rigs and breakdown reels testing bearing oils and rods, practicing my beach casting at lunch. There is something about these fish that drives and consumes me from March – November, is it a connection like I say or is it an adversarial relationship born out of the reverence and respect I have for these old beasts? What ever it is I’ve got it bad and don’t want to shake it, I just want to feel the tug of a giant on the other end of my line.<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

I’ve been able to surround myself with some great drum fishermen in this short time and have caught more in a season then some may catch in a lifetime. I’ve also surrounded myself with historical catch data, aerial photos, satellite imagery, and historical tide and temp information ranging from the shores and barrier islands of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:State w:st="on">South Carolina</st1:State> through <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Delaware</st1:place></st1:State>. Through these relationships and information I’ve gained a lifetime of education as a drum fisherman, hell most of you on here have been pestered more then once by me via PM. The stories I’ve read and the buzz that starts on these sites related to these magnificent fish helped to create my psychosis and now sustains it at a fever pitch for most of the year. The stories of first drum catches, of break offs, of stolen rods ripped from sand spikes, the camaraderie that surrounds the men that chase the fish all add to their mystique. Stories of drum catches that were 10 years in the making, fish that surged and fought til the end breaking shock leaders and running lines, sand spikes broken and bent and rods taken out to sea by these mighty fish, and the core group of AI drummers who respect and cheer another’s fish is unlike most atmosphere’s you’ll find on a crowded beach.<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

To me there is nothing greater then being hooked up with a big ol’red on the other end, from the typical violent take of the bait and headshakes that make my head hurt, to that first time the dorsal peaks out of the water or a bit spotted tail slaps the surf. There is something magical to me about these revered fish and as I slide one up the beach I’m in awe every single time, in awe of the 20+ year life the fish has led, in awe of the power and unrelenting fight they have in their bodies, and in awe of the raw beauty the possess without trying. It never gets old, it hasn’t lost its magic, I cherish every minute I wait on sand for that screaming clicker run…there is nothing I’d rather do in the world then fish for red drum, sometimes I wish that wasn’t the case both professionally and with my family but these fish have taken a hold of me in a way I can’t describe and I will chase them until the day I die.<o:p></o:p>

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<o:p> </o:p>

In the fish stories that I’ll post in this thread I’ll be as specific as possible in relation to tide, wind, conditions etc. Please refrain from guessing locations or discussing anything I don’t put in the posting. Please don’t PM me about locations etc, I’ve been fortunate enough to befriend some great fishermen and they have shared information with me in confidence, I intend to keep it that way. I am all for discussing, winds, tides, temps, rigs etc but have to stop there. That goes the same for each and every other post on here, as fishermen go…drum fishermen are the most secretive. I’d love for everyone to post the conditions at the time of catch I think this is the most useful information we can gather.

<o:p> </o:p>

Tight Lines Ya’ll,<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

Ben<o:p></o:p>

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Hey Ben maybe I can join the club this year! I believe I had one on last year...lost due to a failed shock leader knot. I was fishing the red drum tourney and it was night. Wind was shifting. Northeast switched to east and then SE. I was catching smaller sharks, then about 5 minutes after it went SE my big rod went off. Bait was half a bluefish. This run was straight out to sea like a freight train. I suppose it could have been a late season spinner or blacktip but my money would be a red.

Anyway I had heard a lot about wind shifts and drum so I stayed up waiting on that wind to move....

Maybe this year I will connect!

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Phil I got a feeling you'll get one, you sure put your time in. The only thing I would change if I were you is spreading your days out based on conditions. One thing I've learned here in a short time is that they are a pretty predictable fish as far as biting on certain conditions.

I know we all like to fish the tourney but to be honest I'd rather pick my days based on conditions.

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made a long day trip early this spring and found myself on the beach just ahead of a nasty front and pouring rain...perfect! the winds were light E and the barrometer should have been bottoming out at just about the early morning incoming tide. Well it wasn't long, after tossing out my first cast I'm baiting up my second stick and my bunker head takes off towards the deep. I had put my bait just inside a bar and damn near hit the fish in the head.

I got to the rod and pulled tight.

I had a pretty easy time getting the fish to the shore break but after that it was a struggle, I usually take 15-20 minutes or so beaching a red in my limited encounters but this one ended in about 5 minutes. I had put very long shock leaders on before my last trip so I had over 60’ available and with a short wade I had the leader on the spool but didn’t want to pressure the fish too much. I held my ground for a while until the fish started to get a little punchy and started rolling etc and I didn’t want to lose my photo op so in knee deep water Tim grabbed the fish about 20’ from shore. I would have liked to beach it solo but I wasn’t in a tournament and the fish was pretty green to be in the wash and I didn’t want to lose it, so voila! 42” and about 35lbs. My guess is the low temps had him a bit sluggish...60* that day.

Just prior to this a large pod of porps had something pinned to the outside of the bar I was casting to. I think the game fish were on the inside batting cleanup and I got lucky and landed this silver beauty. It wasn't my best drum fight ever but after about a year drought it sure was welcome.

the rest of the day included about a 2 hr blitz of 20# doggies, the first couple were fun but after that just annoying, must have caught 30 of them. Once the front cleared the beach we didn't get another peck at the baits after 3 hrs of something on every cast of a rod to start the day. Just goes to show the effect the weather and conditions can have. In 4 hours that morning I picked up 4 inches of rain in a bucket. I sure felt like I earned it that day, drove 3x as long as I fished...and was soaked to the bone.

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Conditions were:

Incoming tide

Bait: Bunker

Wind: NW10-20

WT: 60* 8:00am 64* at 12:00

It was not as nice as these photos make it look, I was shivering in that jacket, it only got nice the last hour and a half.

Arrived around 7:00am to an incoming tide and picked our way through doggies, skates and small sandbars for about 2 hours. My rods were on the far end casted just inside and just over the bar so I wasn't getting any of the junk, in fact I don't believe I had caught anything...which was fine by me. Around 9:40 some porpoises show up and once again they bring luck and fish, so my rod finally takes a wiggle, assuming the best I jog down the beach and pick it from the spike. I feel pressure, more pressure, holy crap...and off she runs dumping about 75 yards of line right out of the gate. The odd thing was it was about 30 seconds between when I saw the pickup and when I initiated the run off, never really pulled harder then a doggie when in the spike. I believe this fish picked up the bait and was swimming towards the beach. Back to the battle...this was the heaviest SOB I've come across and I knew it was a drum at this point, we had some screaming runs but the majority of the battle was spent in the last 50 yards. The first time the head of the fish came out of the break I about crapped my pants, it was HUGE, biggest drum I'd ever seen for sure. I ended up getting it surfed in unassisted and we proceeded to complete quite a photo shoot, here some of the associated pics. He/she taped out at 53" at the fork and about 55" total length. Girth was 32-33” and I firmly believe this was a 70# fish. The pics with me don't do it justice since I'm above average size, there is one shot with my father in law holding the fish the puts it in perspective and I'll be sure to send that out later on. The beast was taken on a 10/0 Gami Big Eye on a 15" cannonball rig. The fish was hooked deep in the mouth, no problem taking the sinker sandwich. Could be the biggest drum I'll ever catch in my life, and that's fine by me. About 20 minutes to land.

my father in law couldn't resist taking a pic with the fish.

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53"?????? What a slob Ben!!!!:blob1::blob1::blob1:

Well since I have not caught a drum I do look at all the pics. Seems to me that these fish are caught in just about every condition. Night, day, drum weather, calm. Same for the winds.

It sure helps to be there in prime time but I guess you just gotta go when you can and have bait in the water......

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Ben - your reports are good to here and it is good to hear your enthusiasm come through your words. I was thinking recently of bagging the year fishing wise, mostly due to lack of success this year on the few times I got out. But, after reading your reports and hearing your enthusiasm and energy, I have been re-inspired to get back out as much as time and money permits this year. Keep up the good reporting and hope to see one of your catches in person sometime.

Grossy

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Ben,,,,Its good to see that you don't use a "Boga-Grip" on those fish! I hate those things!!!

you've got to cradle them like a big, mean, cantankerous baby!

Give em a big kiss and send them on their way. These fish are special from the beach.

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Conditions were:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

Dead Low to Incoming tide<o:p></o:p>

Bait: Bunker and Peeler<o:p></o:p>

Wind: S/SE 10/25<o:p></o:p>

WT: 62* 8:00am<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

About 45 minutes go by and we’re watching the yahoos RIGHT next (less then 10yds) to us chase rods down the beach with all the cow nose destroying their tackle. My middle rod with a peeler WTF out just on the inside edge of the bar goes nuts and here I’m figuring I’m in on the ray action so I’m putting it to this ray pretty good and had it 50 yards or so out very quickly, then it turns and runs up current and I see the dorsal of a beautiful red drum, now I back off the pressure pretty quickly. I’d say all in all I had it beached in less then 10 minutes but it was green for sure, I could barely get a hold of it for a pic. Sure was pretty, 42”, 35lbs, and the heart of a lion…or maybe a lion has the heart of a red drum? Damn I love drum fishing…it was quiet for us all day, slow on sharks and everything else, this was our only bite…it was a goodn’

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Conditions were:

5:30am-12:00pm

Incoming tide until 9:45

Bait: Bluefish and Peeler

Wind: S 3-4 shifting NW around 8:30 = no bites

WT: 66…perfect

Got a last minute cancelation from a friend and decided to head out anyway. I was especially amped up this morning with the forecast of almost no wind and if any 3-5 SW, I had an incoming tide until 9:30 and in the prime of the run. I had a feeling I was in for a treat of a day and my biggest worry would be having a double while fishing solo. I got setup in the normal fashion with some peelers and a bluefish head out, maybe about the second run through rebaiting I got a nice knockdown and run off and hooked up. This one was the bluefish head and therefore not that far out. I knew this was a drum almost immediately since it was running both with and against the current. It didn’t take long and I was down in my other lines and immediately tangled up. I forgot my top bead and think that is why I tangled so easily. Luckily my shock leader had tangled with the other running line and not vice versa so I was able to fight the fish through the mess and get it in. A real BIG 50” fish hit the beach and I was right, my trip was totally worth the effort. I snapped some camera phone pics and got it back in the water and revived without any trouble. That’s a 13’ rod in the background for some scale.

About a half hour goes by and I’m thinking about emailing my pics out to brag when I hear a clicker go off, as I turn around I see it is two at once. I grab the one that is screaming off louder and hook up. That one really takes off once I apply the pressure and I let it run out and over the one that is nearby. I go to that rod and tighten the drag just a bit to make it harder to spool me and get to fighting the one in my hand. It takes about 5 minutes to get it in sight and then I see the wing break the water…damn southern ray so I just break it off since I have something on the other rod. I get to it and still have a fish on, a really great fighter too and after another 5 minutes have it on the beach. A beautiful 40” fish and my second for the day, no tangles this time and taken on a peeler.

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Ben, was all this last year at Assateague?

Or are you somewhere else?

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these are spring drum up and down the east coast...I got it bad...

that's why it is in the general forum. Wait till fall, hope the get them in 4 states...

Edited by Charkbait

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Hey Ben maybe I can help you out with a drum report in the next couple of months!:icon_pidu::icon_pidu::icon_pidu:

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If you will answer, How long are the baits in the water ? Are you in a 20 minute change here, or is it necessary to soak the heads & peelers longer?

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Well last year was one to forget for me.:help:

Couldn't ever get the tide, wind, weather and luck all aligned. Seemed everytime I zigged, the reds zagged, would get the word while working, etc....!:icon_puke_r::disgust::icon_thumbdown::angry5::bootyshake::confused1:

Hopefully this year some things change for the better. All I know is by the size of the myllet around here, things are looking good as of now!

I'm with ya though Ben, every big red is something special, even when you help land or assist with someone else your fishing with! The look on the face on someone who just popped their first red is absolutely priceless!

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If you will answer, How long are the baits in the water ? Are you in a 20 minute change here, or is it necessary to soak the heads & peelers longer?

There are times when I change frequently and others (being lazy) I don't. Always like to keep it fresh!

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If you will answer, How long are the baits in the water ? Are you in a 20 minute change here, or is it necessary to soak the heads & peelers longer?

I'll start at 15 minutes, if when I pull in I don't have bait, I go to 10 minutes, if I have bait then I'll keep it at 10, if not I go to 5.

If at 15mins I have bait next time I'll go 20 but I do reel a couple cranks about half way through to move/uncover the bait. I rarely go longer then 20 unless I have all heads out and am looking to take a snooze or something.

The short answer is, let the condition of your bait tell you how long to soak it. It takes about an hour to figure out for me most times. I want to be pulling in ragged bait but not empty hooks.

Oh, I also tie my peelers on so I can leave them 15 minutes, I rarely go shorter or longer on peelers. I think that they stay on the hook when tied well enough but also have a propensity for coming off while being drug in. An empty hook gives no indication on a peeler unfortunately. I use ballyhoo rigging wire to wrap them on.

Edited by Charkbait

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I'll start at 15 minutes, if when I pull in I don't have bait, I go to 10 minutes, if I have bait then I'll keep it at 10, if not I go to 5.

If at 15mins I have bait next time I'll go 20 but I do reel a couple cranks about half way through to move/uncover the bait. I rarely go longer then 20 unless I have all heads out and am looking to take a snooze or something.

The short answer is, let the condition of your bait tell you how long to soak it. It takes about an hour to figure out for me most times. I want to be pulling in ragged bait but not empty hooks.

Oh, I also tie my peelers on so I can leave them 15 minutes, I rarely go shorter or longer on peelers. I think that they stay on the hook when tied well enough but also have a propensity for coming off while being drug in. An empty hook gives no indication on a peeler unfortunately. I use ballyhoo rigging wire to wrap them on.

How many rods? and, I guess you are casting these and not yakking out every 10 minutes, correct ? And, Thanks for responding!

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How many rods? and, I guess you are casting these and not yakking out every 10 minutes, correct ? And, Thanks for responding!

anywhere from 2-5 rods depending on location, who is with me etc. a group of people then we fish 2 per dude, Solo I usually fish 2-4 depending on what I'm aiming at. If aiming at structure then 2, if aiming at nothing like most times at AI then 4. 5 is for tourneys or days where bait is lasting a LONG time.

hint - best days I ever had were fishing 2 rods = find something to aim at

Edited by Charkbait

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Thanks for sharing some of your tips Ben! I am going to get one of those "goldfish" this fall!

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I think you will Jim, block out about 100hrs for an AI drum...seems to be the going rate.

builds character :D

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Well last year was one to forget for me.:help:

Couldn't ever get the tide, wind, weather and luck all aligned. Seemed everytime I zigged, the reds zagged, would get the word while working, etc....!:icon_puke_r::disgust::icon_thumbdown::angry5::bootyshake::confused1:

Hopefully this year some things change for the better. All I know is by the size of the myllet around here, things are looking good as of now!

I'm with ya though Ben, every big red is something special, even when you help land or assist with someone else your fishing with! The look on the face on someone who just popped their first red is absolutely priceless!

sounded like ya'll lost your hole last year as well, in 06 it seemed like you had a nice piece of structure you were hanging out on getting 4 and 5 a night...that's crazy talk.

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Took this from an old post a few years back. Here is what i originally posted when I landed my first big red.

________________________________________

October 5

Been putting in my time for Red's, but can't seem to find the lucky horseshoe or the right days when everyone else is catching. Called Bucket this morning and said, this is it if it's going to happen, my last shot at a window to fish. We both decided that with the blow forcasted for this weekend and the drum run coming to an end to try Sandbridge tonight with the weather and tide to our favor.

Met Bucket at his pad and he stated he thought that tonight was my night. Got to Sandbridge and set up south of the pier. Bucket proceed to catch some fresh spot which we put out. At about 7:45pm, Buckets rod SLAMS the ground right out of the rod holder as he runs for it. Picks it up and cut clean. A close examination of the leader and no doubt a Shark was on the other end briefly. The my turn as I get a run then nothing. Again look at the leader and another Shark that has bitten us off.

Thinking it just wasn't going to happen, Bucket reassure's me that he still feels the mojo even though the weed in the water is getting thicker. A few seconds later and my reel starts to scream. Crank down, pull back and the feel of the drum on the other end was sweet. After going under the lines and down the beach, Bucket finally gives me the assist in the dark to this beauty who went 48" and 43#'s 10oz clear.gif (Weighed on digital hand scale):

Was kind of hard taken pictures in the dark, but we got one. I then walked her back to the water and got some water running over her gills and she swam off just fine to fight again another day! My first Big Red and a citation at that!

I had one more shark bite off after that, then the tide stopped and the weed got thicker, so we packed it in. Caught a few small blues mixed in with the spot earlier.

A fish I will never forget and thanks again for the assist tonight Bucket!

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Took this from an old post a few years back. Here is what i originally posted when I landed my first big red.

________________________________________

October 5

Been putting in my time for Red's, but can't seem to find the lucky horseshoe or the right days when everyone else is catching. Called Bucket this morning and said, this is it if it's going to happen, my last shot at a window to fish. We both decided that with the blow forcasted for this weekend and the drum run coming to an end to try Sandbridge tonight with the weather and tide to our favor.

Met Bucket at his pad and he stated he thought that tonight was my night. Got to Sandbridge and set up south of the pier. Bucket proceed to catch some fresh spot which we put out. At about 7:45pm, Buckets rod SLAMS the ground right out of the rod holder as he runs for it. Picks it up and cut clean. A close examination of the leader and no doubt a Shark was on the other end briefly. The my turn as I get a run then nothing. Again look at the leader and another Shark that has bitten us off.

Thinking it just wasn't going to happen, Bucket reassure's me that he still feels the mojo even though the weed in the water is getting thicker. A few seconds later and my reel starts to scream. Crank down, pull back and the feel of the drum on the other end was sweet. After going under the lines and down the beach, Bucket finally gives me the assist in the dark to this beauty who went 48" and 43#'s 10oz clear.gif (Weighed on digital hand scale):

Was kind of hard taken pictures in the dark, but we got one. I then walked her back to the water and got some water running over her gills and she swam off just fine to fight again another day! My first Big Red and a citation at that!

I had one more shark bite off after that, then the tide stopped and the weed got thicker, so we packed it in. Caught a few small blues mixed in with the spot earlier.

A fish I will never forget and thanks again for the assist tonight Bucket!

Dang steve...shoulda come out tonight....tagged 20 Reds in all in the slot. Got to watch the reds feast on the mullet too in the shallow water...all were caught 3-6 feet off the rocks.... Im ready for fall....

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