March weather can be fickle along South Carolina’s coast, with some days close to freezing and others inviting T-shirts and shorts. Regardless, inshore anglers can count on a solid black drum bite in Little River’s waters.
Black drum overwinter in deep holes in the backs of tributaries and around barnacle-encrusted pilings along the Intracoastal Waterway. For Mark Dickson of Shallow Minded Fishing Charters, they frequently show up on the end of his line, and in March, the black drum bite is nothing to ignore.
“March is a prime month for us along the state line,” said Dickson (843-458-3055). “We catch red drum, trout and lots of black drum.”
Many black and red drum are caught in the same places as spring arrives. Hunkered down for most of the winter in deep holes where the water temperature is warmer and more stable, Dickson will consistently encounter schools of black drum around deeper places dominated by heavy structure.
“We catch them at the Tillman Point docks and along the wall there, but we also catch plenty up the creeks in holes, along the older docks along the ICW, and at the Sunset Beach Bridge just across the state line,” he said.
Black drum associate with deep water and places with heavy structure. Many of the docks along the ICW hold decent populations of black drum during the winter and early spring. The best docks will be the ones with the most submerged structure and the deepest water.
“The docks you get accustomed to getting hung up around all the time and with a drop-off right beside them are excellent places,” Dickson said.
Not only will the water temperatures concentrate fish, tidal flows will give fish and bait less water to move around in.
“I prefer to fish the two hours on either side of low tide for reds and black drum. The low water concentrates everything,” he said.
Black drum will eat a variety of baits, especially when the water is cold and few options are available. However, they will devour any kind of crustacean, including shrimp and chunks of blue crab; Dickson will use both. He will net and freeze buckets full of the small creek shrimp he catches during the fall for use over the winter. He will thread an entire small shrimp or a chunk of crab on an No. 1 or 1/0 Owner 5180 hook and use just enough weight to sink the bait all the way to the bottom.
In order to speed up the process, Dickson will also chum to bring black drum in from all around the area. He will smash up blue crabs, put them inside panty hose, and weigh them down next to the boat along the bottom.
“It disperses the scent and brings them in,” he said.