Drum, Striped Drum
All Florida coasts.
Surf and estuarine areas.
Most consistently productive fisheries for big Drum are found in the St.
Mary's River estuary of the northeast coast, the Indian River, Tampa Bay
and the Suwannee River estuary. Like Redfish, small Drum forage along
shell bars, shorelines and on shallow flats. Big fish stick mostly to
inside channels and surf.
Somewhat similar to the
Redfish in shape, but usually distinguishable by color, and always by
the fact that the Drum has barbels, or feelers on the underside of the
lower jaw. Juvenile Drum have black vertical stripes on dusky white
sides, as do Sheepshead (which see). Only novices will be confused,
however, because Drum lack the prominent sheep-like teeth that give the
Sheepshead its name. The stripes fade with age and adult Drum are
usually blackish above and white below, although some develop a
decidedly bronze hue.
Drum over 100 pounds have
been caught and specimens weighing 30 to 50 pounds are not rare in many
areas. Striped juveniles generally weigh 1-15 pounds. World record 113
pounds. 1 ounce.
: 93 pounds.
Drum to about 6 or 8 pounds
are as tasty as Redfish. Larger ones become quite coarse.
Strong, bullish fight, but not so tough as the Redfish, size for size.
TACKLE AND BAITS:
Surf tackle and saltwater
boat rods are used when targeting big fish, but even the lunkers can be
caught rather easily on spinning and casting tackle with a bit of
patience. Fly fishing is a challenge. Any sort of crustacean, from
shrimp to cut blue crab to whole small crab, makes fine bait for Drum.
Cut fish and squid work fairly well. Drum are not avid lure-chasers but
can be taken on slowly worked jigs in deep water, and by carefully
presented streamer flies and jigs on the flats.
Casting; Still Fishing.