The black drum are biting like mad in the Beaufort area, and dropping down any type of fresh cut bait around sunken trees in the deep holes of small creeks is enough to catch a limit, especially in the area around Hunting Island and Fripp Island.
Morgan Watt has been fishing this area for more than 10 years, and he doesn’t remember ever catching black drum in the numbers he’s been catching them lately. With a house on Lady’s Island, he has easy access through the Russ Point boat landing and hits the creeks off Fripp Inlet.
“I have never really been able to target black drum before. They’ve always been something I caught when I was trying to catch sheepshead or red drum, but right now, the bite is hot enough that I feel good about hooking a black drum in areas with downed trees, especially when those trees are in deep holes,” he said.
"In the past, I've always caught a few black drum in between catching plenty of sheepshead, but this year, it's been the opposite. And it doesn't matter if I'm using fiddler crabs, cut shrimp, or cut mud minnows.
The black drum are biting all of it," said Watt.
Watt has been anchoring within easy casting distance of holes he knows are full of downed timber.
"I just use a basic Carolina rig with a slip sinker. I try to keep the sinker as light as possible, I use about an 18-inch leader, and I want to fish throughout the tide cycle. At low tide, the fish congregate in these deep holes. At high tide, they venture away from them, but still seem to stay close by, and some fish will hold tight in those holes. At slack tide I will usually catch bait and retie some rigs and fish a little bit and might pick up a fish or two," he said.
Anglers shouldn't spend too much time at a spot that isn't being productive, Watt said. "It's easy to find these holes at low tide, and there are plenty of these holes throughout the inlets and creeks."
At high tide, Watt said if he is a little off his mark when it comes to casting, he is picking up an occasional redfish.
"They seem to be a little bit further away from the wooden structure, so it's worth letting an errant cast sit instead of reeling it in," he said.