A alternative Winter Fish Species: (besides Sheepshead)
"Redfish's ugly cousin". Yep, that's what I've always called them. The Black Drum. A favorite winter time species for me. Not all that glamorous. But you have to look at the positives. And look beyond their appearance. To have them in your personal favorites list.
First off. Around here a Black Drum doesn't act like some super predator. They seem to behave more like a Sheepshead, kind of grazing around. Looking at the bottom for a many times "smellier" meal. They do have very pronounced nostrils, and actually four of them right above their mouths, so that ought to tell you something about how they feed. Their noses really lead them around.
I've caught two in my whole life, on lures (soft plastic on a jighead). And each one wasn't over 5 or 6 pounds. In NE Florida, the Black Drum act different than the Drum I see caught over in Louisiana. Over there, they readily eat unflavored plastic, as well as hard bodied lures. Not here! But it would be nice if they obliged, more often.
The largest ever caught on my boat was weighed on a 100 pound scale I kept on the boat for Tarpon, back then. It took four customers, about two hours to get it to the boat. And it weighed in at, 92 pounds. We were anchored up off the end of the south Jetty, at the inlet, Many, many moons ago. During April, on a "kitchen sink" bait; Dead shrimp, with some fresh clam strip, wrapped in a package of, strip of squid. (aka: a stink bomb)
The big big ones are usually a spring fish. But that's not the ones I want to take home. Right now, in the depths of winter. I want those winter time 15 to 20 inchers, (a positive). Of course those expensive Blue Crabs and if available the other expensive crabs a 16th of the size called Fiddler Crabs can be used with success for Black Drum. But, I usually just use jumbo dead Shrimp, pieces. If they are there. They'll eat it, no problem. (a positive)
But, I'll come clean with you all.
The real reason I like Black Drum in the deep winter months is, I only catch Redfish too big or too small, these days.
So, if I want a few decent "eaters", in the fish box. I'll take Black Drum!
At 14-24" with one over 24" out of a 5 per person limit, it sounds like a deal to me. (a positive, compared to Redfish regs.)
And since I'm not into splitting hairs, my live or dead.Shrimp may also catch a Sheepshead, an illusive 21'' Redfish, or a Speckled Trout. .
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