Perhaps you have thought to bowfish for a unique saltwater fish and thought about black drum. This isn’t an oily fish, and it has a tasty flavor. In fact, it tastes so good that some restaurants in the South even serve black drum as a delicacy. When these fish are caught young, they have a taste almost indistinguishable from red drum. Many fishermen prefer them at under 15 pounds.
Can You Bowfish Black Drum?
Yes, you can bowfish black drum. Black drum are not a gamefish, which means that you can bowfish them. With bowfishing, you can only bowfish for non-game fish. A lot of people don’t realize this because of how the regulations can seem murky in this area with nothing specific, but they do allow you to bowfish for black drum.
Black drum have a reputation for being notoriously fussy with the bait they take, which can make them difficult to lure onto a hook, but with a bow, you can sink an arrow right into them whether they want to bite or not. That’s one of things that I love about bowfishing, your trip doesn’t hinge on the whims of the feeding habits of the fish.
Now that you know that you can legally shoot black drum with a bow and arrow, let’s have a look at some interesting facts about black drum and things you must know about bowfishing them.
#1: Why You Want to Bowfish the Black Drum
Did you know that the world record for a black drum came in at 113 pounds? If that doesn’t sound like an exciting time bowfishing, then I don’t know what does. In general, the smaller black drum will taste like red drum, but they can be a little harder to clean once the black drum gets to a larger size.
Catching 40-pound black drum could be considered common, but it also depends on where in the nation you go bowfishing for black drum. While it is legal to bowfish black drum, you have to stay aware of the size limits in your region, and you should also understand how many they allow you to catch. This differs from one region to the next, and it might only be one per fishing session, or it could be up to five. It depends on the state.
#2: Where Can You Bowfish Black Drum
Considered as bottom dwellers, you will often find black drum near docks, oyster beds and bridge pilings. You could also look for sand bars because you can find them here lurking for their own meal. Understanding where to find black drum, you will increase your chances of shooting them on your next bowfishing adventure.
They also sometimes inhabit deeper water, but that doesn’t help a bowfisherman since we tend to shoot in shallower water.
In terms of which region you can find the black drum, they’re most commonly found in Texas, but you can find them all along the East Coast of New York down to the Gulf States. If you live in Texas and want to shoot some black drum, you might plan a trip in the area between Corpus Christi and Brownsville because you will find them in the greatest abundance here in all of the United States.
#3: Look for Their Food Sources
If you want to bowfish for a specific fish species, look for their food sources because you can usually find them feeding nearby. Black drum feed on oysters, mussels, shrimp and crabs. That’s one of the reasons that they have become popular feeding in the oyster beds. Black drum is considered the largest of the drum species.
Black drum will occasionally hang out in the shallow flats, which is the perfect place to look for them since it’s prime bowfishing territory.
#4: Often Mistaken for Sheepshead
In some cases, people have mistaken black drum for sheepshead. Luckily, you can also bowfish sheepshead, so even if you do mistake a sheepshead for black drum, it will be fine. You can shoot either one.
To distinguish black drum from sheephead, the black drum will have chin barbels (whiskers) while the sheepshead will have teeth. Here’s a scary fact: Sheepshead have almost human-like teeth that they use to grind down oysters and crustaceans. You can’t mistake it for anything else when you see it. Trust me. First time I encountered it, I thought of it as like a redneck fish.
#5: The Meat of the Black Drum
As said before, big black drum can be harder to clean. Anything over 15 pounds will usually be much tougher to clean because of its large scales. You might use an electric fillet knife to make the filleting process much easier. To begin with, you cut out the fillet at the backbone, and you will cut away the fillet, removing it from the scales and the skin.
Unlike with other fish meat that has a flaky texture, black drum has more consistency in texture like what you would get with chicken. That said, the younger fish will taste more like red drum. You can’t tell the difference. Black drum can live for up to 35 years.
#6: Why They Call It the Black Drum
They call it the black drum because the sound it makes sounds like a drum. The first time that I heard it, I could not believe that I was hearing a black drum and it sounded so similar to a drum. Check it out.
#7: Aim for Light Refraction
With black drum or any other fish, you will have to aim for light refraction. This means that the fish will be lower in the water than what it appears. What I usually tell bowfishermen when they first start, aim low like you wanted to miss the fish, and you will often hit it. Don’t get discouraged if you miss you first couple dozen shots because it takes practice to get good at this.
#8: Bowfishing Black Drum at Night
The one thing to understand about bowfishing for black drum at night is that their behavior patterns tend to shift in comparison to during the day. You can bowfish black drum at night so don’t get discouraged. In fact, a lot of bowfishermen prefer to bowfish at night because they can spot the fish more easily with their lights. That said, bowfishing will always have its share of challenges when it comes to shooting the fish.
Hopefully this has shed some light on bowfishing for black drum. It’s a wonderful fish that has become a popular sport fish, and because of the delicious flavor, a lot of people seek it out. This is a non-game species so you can bowfish for black drum. In all truth, it is kind of a beautiful fish that even looks majestic when swimming in the water.
When it comes to the drum species, they belong to the croaker family where you have over 260 different types of drum, and this includes the spotted seatrout and the weakfish.