THE BIG, THE BAD, THE UGLY – Gigantic Black Drum

It's that time of year again! The first full moon of early Spring has past and the "Big Uglies" have reached the North East Florida Inlets. These massive Inlet monsters head up from south Florida and migrate north every year around February. On the way up, schools break off and spawn at inshore passes and river inlets. Every Inlet on the east coast, between Florida and Delaware are visited yearly. For us, the time is now.

We can catch these massive fish on a number of different bait types. Blue Crab(whole or chunked) Clams, and Fresh Shrimp are the most common but they've also been known to eat strips of Fish Bites in "Clam" scent. Some people layer the Fish Bites with a natural bait such as Clams and do well. This is more common up north but will definitely work down here. Something to think about when the bait shops are low on Blue Crabs.

Rigging is as simple as it gets. We use the exact same rigging you would use for Bull Reds or any other deep water big game fish. I prefer a hand tied, Single Dropper Rig. You can buy the store made deals but they are expensive, clunky and less effective. Making your own is a breeze. All you need is 50 pound mono, a pack of 7/0 Circle Hooks and a pack of heavy duty 3 way swivels. You can find plenty of tutorials on Youtube if you require additional assistance tying the rig.

Far as rods and reels, go heavy. heavy conventionals or spinning tackle around 7000 series are the most practical. You'll want to use a heavy braided line. Drum can be extremely subtle with their bite and often times will lay on the bottom, not moving after swallowing the bait. This is more common than you might think. Especially in a heavy current.

I run a 4 rod spread, 2 shorts and 2 longs. The shorts will have heavier lead to help separate them from the long rods. I typically use 16oz bank weights on the long rigs when currents are at their worst, and 20oz weights on the shorts. You can adjust weight as needed. Make life easier on yourself and use a large dropper loop to secure your lead. This way, if you want to change weights, you can do so without cutting and retying knots. Just pass the loop through the hole of the weight and wrap it around the weight. This is also handy when it comes time to stow your gear. You can take off your lead, put it away and stow your gear without a heavy weight swinging around. Work smarter, not harder.

Catch em up....

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