The inlets and creeks in the Beaufort area are giving up lots of fish, but no bite has been hotter than the black drum bite in recent days. Fishing for redfish and sheepshead, anglers like Bishopville's Richie Boykin are not complaining when finding the fish biting their fiddler crabs and cut shrimp aren't their intended targets.

"Places like the Fripp Island jetties and any of the old downed trees around Station Creek Landing at Lady's Island typically give up lots of sheepshead this time of year, and we are still catching some of them, but we are catching more black drum than anything, and more than we've caught in years," said Boykin.


Anglers are allowed to keep five black drum per day, and all must be between 14 and 27 inches in total length. Boykin has been catching a good share of these fish by using fiddlers on size 3/0 hooks and tight-lining them vertically around barnacle-encrusted structure like rock jetties and old trees. This is his tried-and-true method of catching sheepshead. He has also caught plenty of black drum in creeks while employing his typical redfish tactic of using cut or whole shrimp on a 3/0 hook tied to an 18-inch leader on a Carolina rig, then fishing it on the bottom in deep holes around small feeder creeks.


"We've been catching the majority on cut shrimp, but whole shrimp is also working," said Boykin.


The black drum have been biting at all stages of the tide, but like most saltwater fish, they have been more active during the two hours leading up to low tide and another hour or two after low, then again a couple of hours of the incoming tide and an hour or so into high tide.


"They want some moving water, so I concentrate on those times," Boykin said.  


Boykin and other Beaufort-area anglers said it's a mystery to them why they are catching so many black drum while really targeting other species, but they don't mind it.


"They are fun to catch, good to eat, and I would rather catch them than toadfish or black sea bass," said Boykin.