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Question on Catching Black Drum at the Choptank

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Hi, I just stumbled onto this forum and decided  I would try to get some advice from some more experienced anglers in the area. My friends and I really started fishing at the Choptank about a year ago and one of the most impressive sights we have seen are some of the black drum that get pulled in over there. We decided that this year we wanted to catch one. When is the best time of the year for black drum in that area and what baits work best? Thanks in advance for any tips!


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Anytime after Mothers Day , usually closer to or around June 1st.

 

Peelers or soft crabs (held on with a rubber band) or hard or razor clams (again with the rubber band)

Or, make a clam and crab "sandwich".

 

Don't get lured into the run and gun BS that sometimes goes on there, you'll just put them off of their feed and run them off.

Be patient and either drift along or anchor up.

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Thanks for the info. I actually don't have a boat... we just fish off of the long pier they have. Never tried rubber bands to hold on soft bait... might be why we were previously unsuccessful with clams lol. I'll definitely try that out, Thanks again!


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From the MD DNR Website:

 

Posted on June 24, 2010

Black Drum Caught from the Choptank Pier about 10:30 p.m. on June 4. 2010

Tags: Black Drum, Choptank Pier

 

450

 

I guess it is possible...(I've caught them from the surf on the VA Barrier Islands and from the Seagull Pier at the CBBT) but, your odds are a lot better from a boat.

 

Wise man says:

"It is better to have a friend who owns a boat than to own a boat"

 

Maybe you need to make some new friends(?) ;)

 

These fish generally move around and feed in schools, primarily on relatively shallow flats and ledges or along edges where there are clam and oyster bars or underwater weeds that harbor crabs and mussels (they love mussels).

 

At the mouth of the Choptank, they are mostly caught around the Sharps Island Light and on the shallow flats North and South of the channel.

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lol I completely agree, I need new friends. Choptank bridge is probably child's play compared to a boat, but I gotta make the best of what I have. I've tried a good number of other piers, but Choptank seems like the best option. I've seen probably 4 black drum pulled up at the Choptank bridge when I was fishing, so I know they are there. I'm just gonna have to put out a good number of poles and go frequently to make up for not having a boat I guess.



 



One person recommended shrimp to me once but I've had very little success with that. Would they bite live lines or manhaden/spot pieces? When bass season opens up again, I'd love to focus on a bait that could attract stripers as well.


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lol I completely agree, I need new friends. Choptank bridge is probably child's play compared to a boat, but I gotta make the best of what I have. I've tried a good number of other piers, but Choptank seems like the best option. I've seen probably 4 black drum pulled up at the Choptank bridge when I was fishing, so I know they are there. I'm just gonna have to put out a good number of poles and go frequently to make up for not having a boat I guess.

 

One person recommended shrimp to me once but I've had very little success with that. Would they bite live lines or manhaden/spot pieces? When bass season opens up again, I'd love to focus on a bait that could attract stripers as well.

 

Caught them on jigs while fishing for other things...jigs don't look like crabs or clams...maybe.

I've caught them on #19 Tony's too while trolling and casting for Reds...but not too many. They were just there at the same time.

If you want to catch them, stick to the baits of choice.

 

As a kid I caught a pretty decent bass on bubble gum....once.

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Haha bubble gum huh? Guess they will jsut eat anything if they are hungry enough. Ok I'll rig up some of my rods with clams and soft shell crabs next time I go out. Thanks for the advice!


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If you are near a tackle shop that sells them buy a quart or two of sand fleas. If not buy a couple of pounds of frozen, uncooked shrimp at the supermarket, Buy cheap small ones. Cut the shrimp into thumbnail size pieces Since you are stationary you have to make them come to you so chum them in by throwing 6 or so pieces of the shrimp or 6 or so fleas into the water every 3-5 minutes or so If you use shrimp mix some sand in with the pieces to help send them to the bottom quickly. Dead fresh grass shrimp will work too. Did that anchored in an anchored boat years ago and it works. Plus you might chum up some croakers.

 

Don't use fish for bait. Crabs and clams are much, much better and stripers eat both.

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Oh nice advice! Although I don't see how I could do that... since I cast my lines so far away from the pier... there is no way I could throw shrimp that far. Should I not cast as far? or would dropping them around my area attract them enough? Usually I buy my bait from Anglers... I'll check if they have sand fleas.



 



Really no fish for bait? I've had decent luck with them in the past... granted, I have had terrible luck with clams in the past so maybe I'm just doing something wrong. Maybe rubber bands will make the difference. Is there a good rule of thumb for how much I am supposed to put on the hook? Do I rubberband it around the barb or just below my snell knot? How frequently should I rebait the hook? Its easier to tell when fish chunks look like they need to be replaced... clams don't seem to change very much. Sorry for the boat load of questions, I just want to figure out where I am going wrong.


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Not to shoot your dreams down, but I wouldn't have high expectations on catching black Drum off the Choptank pier. Last years catch were more of an anonomoly that far up river... the do make a 'annual' showing at Sharps Island flats (mouth of Choptank), but that's hit or miss at best, and not that many are caught on a good year. If you have your heart on catching a black Drum, head down to Cape Charles around Mother's Day.

 

Bait of choice in the spring for the bay will be soft crabs up in Maryland waters, or clams down at the mouth of the Chesapeake bay, due to critters.

 

You would stand a much better chance of catching black drum in the surf May-June off A.I. than catching them in Cambridge MD. if you're boatless.

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Yea, I've heard that they aren't very common in the area, but in the last year I saw them caught a few times. I don't go that frequently, so I assume they aren't that rare... or I hope not lol. I've never tried surf fishing... although all my poles are 7 foot, so I imagine that would make surf fishing difficult (atleast thats what I heard)


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My two cents, so please also realize I am a catch and release guy, but if you want an afternoon of fun, try this from your boat, not off a pier.

Catch the first one, put a bleach bottle attached to over 50# test, and hook the drum with at least 120' of line. /When you throw the drum back, he will find the school and you can catch until they stop the bite. It works 100% of the time. I use clam and they love that dinner. Now do not yell back its not legal. I never checked it out , I do not keep any, so do not burst my bubble, both fingers are in my ears and I am humming.

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First learned this trick with crappie when I was a kid. I've done it for Drum at Sharps Island as well, but it's been a looong time (before all of the crowds) I sometimes do it now with Spades, but they generally hold pretty tight to cover, so it's really not necessary.

Fun to watch though...

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