The Black Drum has a dark, silvery-gray body with a brassy sheen. It grows 40 to 60 inches in length and weighs between 50 to 100 pounds. It has a grayish belly, black fins and a high, rounded back. Many small barbels appear on its lower chin, and it has cobblestone-like teeth plates. A deep notch appears in its dorsal fin. Juveniles have four to five black vertical bars on their sides.
Fishing for Black Drum in South Carolina Low Country is best from November through April. These bottom feeders are most active with the water temperatures are in the upper 40s and lower 50s. The best fishing will be in the middle of the day when the sun has warmed the waters. Try to get out to fish two hours on either side of dead low tide.The hungry fish eat oysters, crushing and chewing them with their strong teeth, which happens to be one reason why anglers find concentrations of them around oyster-encrusted structures. Live shrimp on the bottom using small hooks on a Carolina rig, or on a jighead. Black Drum locates food largely by scent. Since Black Drum are very adaptable, they may not stay in one place throughout the season.
The artificial reefs off the coast of Hilton Head and other types of structure are covered with barnacles and oysters, the Black Drums table fare. Black Drum are schooling fish this time of year, and if you catch one, you will catch more. The winter months are tough times for the Black Drum with very little to eat, they can display a fierce appetite, especially during a period of unseasonably warm weather. Just a few degrees can make a huge difference and produce an aggressive bite for anglers looking for winter action.
Since food is scarce in the winter months the Black Drum aren’t too picky when it comes to their diet, just about any bait will put fish in the boat. Fresh chunks of crab, shrimp and oysters are ideal baits, with shrimp usually the most-available, most-affordable and easiest to thread on a small hook. Black drum can pick up the scent of bait from long distances they find food with the receptors at the end of their chin barbells, and a smaller piece of bait will insure that the hook makes its way into the fish’s mouth. It’s recommended that you fish slowly on light tackle for the best action.