Just how BIG is a black drum when he is tailing in 3 feet of water? You can be sure to call them all THE BEAST!
We came around the point and began working a secondary grassy edge and from 100 yards away we saw it clearly. “Oh my gawd! Do you see that? NOW THAT’S a Hooge Foosh!!!”
Carefully approaching with the boat and working hard to keep the boat upwind and the fish down from us with the sun at our backs, the sun light began to shine bright lighting up the creatures colors and we let the skiff glide into position. On the approach, nerves grew tense but the angler was prepared and got off 4 excellent casts, landing the fly just two feet ahead of the fish each time. Somehow though the massive 4 foot black drum did not show any interest in this particular fly so we let the wind slip us off of the flat away from the giant as the brute glided himself into deeper more secure water. Knowing that this beast was grazing like a water buffalo we circled back upwind ahead of where we spotted the giant tailing and made sure to give the area wide berth and allow enough time for the massive fish to move back onto the narrow grass flat and resume the feeding ritual. While repositioning the boat I spoke of courage, and the need for a change of flies. Sure enough, the angler produced a good looker, and I assured him it would get him some attention.
In short order the skiff slid into position again and slightly further down the grassy point, the white back and dorsal fins of the trophy black drum glowed white against the bottom and we saw it turn on its side while it worked the sea floor for some grub. Then as if on command, a large skillet-sized tail flared up and out of the water, waving like wet cellophane reflecting the now shining sunlight and I slowed the boat to a crawl despite the moderately stiff breeze.
“There! 11 o’clock, 60 feet and closing,..” I say with certainty. “Wait for it! Wait… wait…” I whisper, “50 feet now, then 40 feet. Go! Cast! He’s looking away and left and distance is closing!”
I see the fly land perfectly in front of the fish, we count for a few seconds under our breaths for the fly to drop and then call out the cadence, “strip, pause, strip, pause, strip again, OH!!!! He’s looking!!!! Let it lie!” But then the next strip ends up moving the fly too far from the fish and the trophy black drum lost track and turned away.
As we watch the beast glide away, I heard a little sigh let out by the bravest of anglers. The sound of that sigh seemed to have several emotions behind it, including the one of relief that the pressure was finally off. We laugh out loud, already in a state of reminiscence, and protest that the excitement was enough for now, we felt as successful as if we had actually hooked it and landed it because in fact, we moved that fish a good distance by changing our fly, making a good presentation and repeating the steps we took to get off more than one excellent shot at this monster of a fish. That was success enough for sure and not even a minute later as the salt water buffalo disappeared, we saw a dolphin surface in extreme close proximity and as it begin working the same area as us we knew that our chances had ended for the day and agreed to head to the marina.
All in all, we stalked 9 individual black drum all averaging 25-40 pounds, (with half of them easily breaking the 30-lb mark and all were at least between 3 and 4 feet long, maybe the biggest of them were more than 4 feet. Of the 9 fish we stalked, the Angler of the Day managed to produce eight fantastic casts at these fish with perfect fly placement. These monster saltwater brutes are well known for their tenacity and sluggishness in feeding, and the degree of difficulty of even hooking a fish of this caliber on the fly is enormous not to mention how difficult it is to even get them to show interest in a fly! Great respect is deserving for the angler today for his endurance and great exercise of patience while searching for and tracking the massive beasts that prove to even the best angler to be a fair match.
Fortunately, tomorrow is another day to fish, and another day to even the scores, or at least the chance to take at least one more shot at the gregarious beasts.
There are still a few dates open for guided trips to hunt these massive black drum although the weather window may be closing fast with a strong south blow in the lineup.
Call now for your shot at a monster black drum on the fly with Captain Kenjo 361-500-2552