WINTER COLUMN: Take advantage of hot drum bite

  • Posted: Sunday, August 26, 2012 12:24 a.m.
Laura Gibson caught this big red drum while fishing with Capt. Mike Able Jr., her fiance.

We may be dodging storms this week, but be ready to shoot out for a quick fishing trip if a weather window presents itself.

The inshore fishing should be hot, according to some of Tideline magazine’s best sources:

Capt. Patrick Crawford of Allure Fishing (843-225-3474, allurefishingcharters.com) recommends that anglers target big red and black drum.

“The black drum bite is going off — it’s wild,” Crawford said. “We’re fishing deep-water structure, using 100-pound leader, 6- to 8-ounce sinkers, depending on tide, and half a blue crab.”

Crawford uses 7/0 Gamakatsu circle hooks for these big drum, and says anglers should break the backs off a crab and then cut it in half.

The black drum bite has been hottest around bridge pilings and at The Grillage and Dynamite Hole, Crawford said.

Most of his black drum have been keepers, averaging about 24 to 26 inches, he said, with a few bigger ones (over the slot limit). Though big redfish are known for hitting a bait and immediately making fast, strong runs, the “black drum bite is totally different,” Crawford said.

“Black drum are peculiar, they really are. They’ll kind of mouth the bait, play with it a bit. Most people, when they see that tapping, they’ll pick up the rod and end up pulling the bait away. … If you reel it up and see that your crab is all squashed, you’ll know you just missed a black drum.”

The key, he says, is to give the black drum time to probe the bait and then eat it (and the circle hook) completely.

“Don’t ever pick up that rod before the line starts peeling off that reel,” he said.

Anglers also should have success this week catching big bonnethead sharks “along any oyster bar on the Intracoastal Waterway,” he said, and spotted seatrout by casting D.O.A. shrimp in “Firetail” colors.

And though Crawford hasn’t been targeting them, tarpon appear to be settling in around Charleston. Crawford said he’s been hearing increasingly good reports from other captains.

Capt. Mike Able Jr. of Haddrells Point Tackle and Supply and Able Minded Charters (843-475-7696, ablemindedcharters.com) says anglers shouldn’t be scared off the water by a little weather this week.

Nasty, overcast days make for some of the best fishing, he said, especially when throwing topwater plugs inshore.

“I had one guy last week catch his first redfish on a topwater plug,” Able said. “That thing blew up on it. It was about 7 pounds, pretty fun for him.”

Able’s also hoping a little cool-down might push mullet toward their annual late summer, early fall mullet run.

“When the weather starts to cool down, usually the first week or two in September, that’s when that mullet run starts to happen, and that’s when your shark and tarpon bite is on fire.”

Able plans to give tarpon a try himself next week, probably near the north end of Bull Island.

“We’ll sit right on the outside of those sandbars. If the wind’s blowing out of the east, we may head to the north end of the bay and tuck in behind the cape (Cape Island).”

Able uses 15- to 30-pound-test rods when targeting tarpon, with Shimano TLD 15 conventional reels and Thunnus spinning reels.

He plans to use menhaden and mullet for bait, “but if I had the time to go catch croakers and pinfish, I’d be all about it.”

Contact Matt Winter at 843-937-5568 and mwinter @postandcourier.com.

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