Black Drum Fishing Overview

Black drum might be less popular than redfish, but we think they get a bad rap. They are generally easier to catch while their cousin the redfish is known to be a little more sly, but they can still put up a dogged fight at the end of the line and can be just as good to eat.

Recent Reviews

Ralph did great! He has a super nice boat and nice gear. He was attentive and kept my hook baited! He was also funny and a great captain. I would use him again!

Ginny F. with Ralph Frazier of Galveston, Texas

Capt. Larry Bell was professional and extremely knowledgeable about the Bays we fished. Great experience with a great guide and good Guy. Would highly recommend him to anyone looking to book in the Aransas/Rockport area. Thanks for a great trip Larry. Charlie W.

Charles W. with Larry Bell of Aransas Pass, Texas

Cole and Anthony were excellent hosts and expert guides. We started off catching bait fish and then moved on to hunt for the big ones. We were successful and had a great time. The boat was the perfect size for 5 of us. I would definitely recommend Capt. Cole and will definitely charter with him in future.

John W. with Cole Griffith of Galveston, Texas

Capt. Skeeter knows where the fish are! Limited out on Red fish and caught and released more! Smallest fish was 25.5”. It was a great time, Highly recommend !!

Tanner A. with Skeeter Stuart of Rockport, Texas

Had a great time! Caught quite a few reds and was a great experience.

Caleb E. with Payton Prestenbach of Corpus Christi, Texas

What an absolute blast! Tim was a true gentleman, he took very good care of us. We began our day with a beautiful sunrise graced by God, followed by old country tunes, and FISH aplenty - we caught 6 red and 2 speckled trout. Tonight I’m cooking the speckled trout with a garlic lemon butter herb sauce and a side of roasted asparagus. This was such a memorable experience that we will treasure. Thank you, Captain Tim.

Tara C. with Timothy Cleghorn of Ingleside, Texas

We had a great day fishing with Captain Joaquin. He showed us the techniques we needed to use and was able to put us on the fish. Highly recommended.

Ian B. with Joaquin Pena of Port Isabel, Texas

This was without a doubt the best fishing trip I have been on. Justin was the best captain because he went well above and beyond anything he had to do to give us an incredible experience. I got to fight a shark for over 45 minutes and he was there in every way to help. You can tell anyone who asks they need to go out with Captain Justin! I assure you that everyone I know will have his information and I will be back as soon as I can. Thanks Captain Justin for an amazing trip!

Jeffery R. with Justin Simmons of Pensacola Beach, Florida

Had a great trip with Captain Mitch!

Brian C. with Mitch Deane of Corpus Christi, Texas

What a nice trip. Great time had by all. Knowledgeable, informative and kind.

Doug C. with Larry Bell of Aransas Pass, Texas

Everything You Need to Know About Black Drum Fishing

What is a Black Drum?

While not quite as recognizable as its more famous cousin the redfish (or red drum), black drum are a saltwater fish from the croaker family that are so named because they can produce loud noises with their air bladder between 100 and 500 Hz when performing mating calls, and you’ll often hear this “drumming” when you pull the fish out of the water.

Young black drum are often mistaken for sheepshead due to their black and silver stripes, but they generally grow out of this as they reach maturity and adopt a more even silver-gray color. Their teeth are rounded and located in the back of their throat, and used to crush oysters, shellfish, and other mollusks and crabs. Because of this, they are often found patrolling oyster beds and shell bottoms. 
 Black drum are a nearshore and inshore fish found in many of the same areas as redfish. Juvenile drum will be caught inshore while more mature fish can be found further out. They are generally a robust fish, tolerating a wide variety of water conditions and temperatures, although their range is not huge, extending only through the western Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

How big do Black Drum get?

Black drum have a strongly arched back almost resembling that of some trevally, and as mentioned above their coloring will fade as they age and reach around 12-24 inches. Black drum can grow to 60+ inches and over 100 pounds, although more commonly are found around 15-20 pounds with inshore juveniles being at most a few pounds.

The black drum is the largest member of its family and while some bull redfish can reach massive sizes, record black drum have been bigger. This is all the more impressive for a fish that spends most of its life close to shore.

Their growth rate is highest while they are young and they reach maturity at around 2 years, but these fish can continue to grow for a long time - potentially reaching upwards of 50 years, so it’s no wonder you can find some large specimens.  

What's the biggest Black Drum ever caught?

The world record black drum was a whopping 146 pounds.  

Where is the best place to catch Black Drum?

Black drum live throughout the mid-western Atlantic and are common in the Gulf states, and they are an inshore-nearshore schooling fish. They can be found from Nova Scotia to Argentina, but are most common from Virginia to Texas and in particular love the Texas coast.

They are often found near rocky jetties, piers, or pilings, or otherwise can be found near their one true love: oysters. They are also known to frequent brackish estuaries and channels, and larger fish will prefer saltier water.  

When should I catch Black Drum?

The best time to target black drum is February and March when they come inshore to brackish waters in large numbers for their annual spawn. They like current and structure, so you’ll find them in channels or by any sort of pilings or jetties.

You can also night fish for black drum with some success, and otherwise stick to structure and you can’t go wrong.  

How do you catch Black Drum?

Black drum are not particularly good fighters pound-for-pound, but they make up for this by reaching gargantuan sizes for an inshore fish, and they will use their heft to their advantage. They won’t make crazy runs, but they will fight you like a bulldog and refuse to surface (they sometimes even feel like a shark that is just continually pulling).

Black drum are bottom feeders, so you’ll want to drop your line to the bottom or suspended a few feet above. Jigging is a common method. Shrimp works well as can squid, and crabs are great if you have them, and you can use a circle hook (no need to set the hook!).

Since black drum usually feed based on scent, feel free to up the size of your tackle to make sure you wont break the fish off.

Are Black Drum good to eat? What are the best Black Drum recipes?

Black drum are generally only kept at the low-end of the slot limit, or about 14-15 pounds. Below that weight the have a moderate taste similar to a redfish. Above that, larger drum typically have tougher meat, have tougher scales that can be hard to remove, and can often attract some parasites as they age (especially since they can live for so long).

Smaller drum are tasty and the only challenge is generally removing the large scales, so its generally best to fillet them and remove the skin as well, and many regulars invest in an electric fillet knife.