, Port Arthur, Texas

January 11, 2014

Chester Moore column: Bull drum are here now

Chester Moore
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR —      The spring “drum run” is in March and April but the fact is in the Sabine system, the huge black drum start staging at the jetties as early as December and can also be caught in the channels and north end of Sabine Lake.

            The general rule is to fish the channel side of the jetties when the tide is moving out and the Gulf side when it is moving in.

            Once you know the tidal movement, start searching for structure.

            “What you will want to do is look for the deep holes at the jetties. At both Galveston and Sabine, there are deep holes at the southern tips on both sides and these are usually loaded with monster drum,” said Joe Persohn of Beaumont, the man who taught me about catching the big ones years ago.

            Known as the “jetty man” by his friends, Persohn said if for some reason the deepest holes are inaccessible, you should back off and look for dips in the rocks.

                “These dips are indicative of small spots slightly deeper than the surrounding water and that’s where the drum will be,” he said.

`            Another great spot is any deep hole in the channel, shell reef or drop off. I have caught bull drum at the Dupont Outfall Canal and in the Entergy Canal over the last year. Find deep sots and you will find big drum.

I prefer to fish for drum with heavy tackle, in the 30 to 50- pound class. Bait-wise, if croaker is not available I use blue crab. Broken in half, and hooked through the carapace, the stuff has a long hook life and is irresistible to drum. Shrimp also ranks as high on the list of bull drum, but it is best fresh and preferably peeled.

             I generally put out several lines with a slip egg weight and swivel, finished off with a wide gapped hook. This simple set up is ideal for catching them, but knowing when to set the hook is another issue entirely.

            Drum like to peck at the line. Sometimes, they will just double the rod over and take off, but most of the time, they toy with it awhile. When you do set the hook, be ready for a battle.

            The big drum does not fight like an oversized redfish. They swim slowly and use their weight to the advantage. Imagine a boulder with a trolling motor and you get a good idea of a drum fight.

            All drums over 30 inches must be released and that is best anyway. The big ones are full of spaghetti worms that could turn anyone’s stomach and it is the big ones that do the breeding.           

            Anglers are allowed to keep one drum a day over 52 inches, a provision added to allow someone with a potential record-class fish to weigh in it. If you do happen to catch such a fish, it will be a monster.

            The state record black drum weighed 81pounds and was caught by Wally Escobar way back in 1988.

(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can watch him on “God’s Outdoors with Chester Moore” on GETV/ Saturdays at 10 a.m.  and hear him Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI on “Moore Outdoors”.)