First Black Drum- With Pictures

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Hey Guys & Gals, a quick report:

Spent the week in Ocracoke last week. Wow, interesting being there when Andrea decided to pay a visit. Biggest surf I've ever seen!

We rented a boat, but couldn't use it Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday. It was a 24ft Carolina Skiff, and it was still too rough for my wife (and really I could probably only have taken it for a few hours). We tried Friday, but it was so rough we couldn't stand it, and tried various spots. What a waste of money. Pretty disappointed.

We did see some cobia, all seemed like they were 1000lbs (but probably 30-50), but no dice in getting one to the boat. Also saw some dolphins (not mahi, like dolphin-dolphins) really up close, that was pretty awesome.

Besides that caught a bunch of croaker, 4 speckled sea trout, couple blues of 10-12", various little junk fish, black tips, and then a couple of really nice kingfish/sea mullet. One was 15" (just over) and was all of a pound, pound and a quarter (tough to tell on the hand held scale). We might submit for a citation. Why not right?

Seemed to do best on gulp, 3", new penny on a 1/4oz jig head either white or bright green. Lost a nice spanish mackerel on a 3" swim bait (baby bunker), and sister lost a nice little puppy drum right at the side of the boat- I saw it, probably 20-24" range.

As for the surf, we didn't do much better. Found a great spot- point to our right, point to our distant left, we fished the point and then just to the left where the waves broke right at your feet signifying a deep drop. Tons of bait in the water, mole crabs and minnows, and these cool little fish that looked like diamonds.

I think we surf fishing every day but Wednesday and Sunday, mornings and evenings (usually 6-10 hours a day, one day we fished 13), and hitting the high tides/low tides pretty well on a couple of those days, we really only caught a dozen or so croaker, very small to small (like 8-22") black tips (got annoying), and a few more kingfish. 1 blue fish of 9", and then on Friday when the wind was straight out of the North, I caught 5 pigfish (which I didn't even know you could catch in the surf, thought they were just a bay fish).

The only good fish was my first black drum. 9am on Tuesday (I keep a log) high tide was something like 11, wind out of the SSW. Caught him/her on shrimp as I was bring it back in nice and slow. No more than 20 yards from the breakers I'd say, and in an area that generally looked much more shallow and easy sloped then I usually fish (no drop, deep channel). Took some drag, fought like a beast, which is always a good sign. About 5.5lbs, 22" if I recall from my notes. Made my day, and saved the trip from being a complete wash.

No big rays like we usually catch, probably because we were so early this year. Probably also why we didn't get into many bluefish either I guess. Usually there's a ton of snapper blues. No flounder either, bummer!

Fished primarily with shrimp, but squid seemed to work just as well. 2/0 circle hooks, couple of days 6oz wouldn't hold and I had to cast for my wife. Couple other days, 2oz and you were golden, and my wife was casting 1/2 way to the bar (but of course most of the time was spent fishing no more than 20-40 yards from shore right in the breakers). Fished with 5/0's and chunks of bunker and caught only a couple black tips. Made the observation that we mostly caught fish about 90min to 1 hour before high tide, and that was it. Almost like clockwork, as that 90min window would approach we'd start getting constant nibbles, then it would shut down and you'd go 20-45 minutes without so much as a tug. All on the incoming too, outgoing didn't seem to be as good. Fished as early as 5am and as late at 11:30pm. Wife can't take being out super late, she gets bored.

Only other notable thing is one evening I got a pretty good take, and then nothing. Felt like a giant blue fish the way it took, but could have literally been anything, anything but a ray (i know that feeling). Let it sit for about five more minutes and figured I'd better check it. Bring it in, and all 15" of my 80lb flouro leader is gone, right to the swivel, nothing but a little tag end left. Checked it and the bit that was hanging is all scuffed and ragged. Must have been a pretty big toothy creature. I was bummed.

All in all not the worst fishing trip I've ever been on. Every year I learn a little more, and keeping track of tides, GPS points, winds, and the target species has sure helped. Going with smaller hooks than just 6/0 and 8/0 has helped too hahaha!

Tight lines



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