Murrells Inlet black drum have shrimp on the brain

black drum
Black drum are biting shrimp, but they'll also sometimes hit artificial lures intended for redfish and speckled trout.

Huge influx of crustaceans has kicked off great black drum bite

Even though the sun continues to cook the South Carolina coast, the action below water’s surface is brewing its own raging firestorm. Massive schools of shrimp have invaded Murrells Inlet, firing up a long list of takers. And locals are catching plenty of fish, with black drum making up a solid portion of the haul.

Capt. Jason Burton of Fly Girl Fishing Charters loves the influx of shrimp into his home waters.

“It’s always good to see the shrimp so plentiful and big during the middle of July,” said Burton (843-421-2870).  “The black drum love it too.”

Typically, fishing for black drum picks up in the fall when the speckled trout bite kicks off, but it can also be hot in the summer. That’s especially true when the influx of shrimp is strong. That’s when Burton said anglers can catch plenty of feisty black drum.

Shrimp gather tightly at low tide

Burton’s catches black drum from places where shrimp congregate on lower stages of the tide, close to large grass and mud flats. Shrimp will move into those shallow areas to feed on small worms and chunks of decomposing crab and fish. But on low tide, these expansive feeding grounds become exposed. That forces shrimp to flee to deeper holes. And it doesn’t take long for the black drum to figure that out. It didn’t take long for Burton to find these places, either.

“You can find these fish in deep holes lined with oysters up in the back of the creeks. I like places where the water is 12- to 15-feet deep on low tide,” Burton said. “Creeks with deep holes on sharp curves up next to the bank are naturally deep and are killer spots for black drum in the summer.”

Burton prefers to fish the last two hours of the falling tide through the first hour of the rising tide. For bait, he is using live shrimp fished on a Carolina rig on the bottom. But these fish also occasionally hit artificials for anglers targets redfish and speckled trout.

While black drum are the main target in these deep drainage basins, they are not the only species that will slide into these refuges. Expect red drum, speckled trout and flounder to be in these holes too.

Click here for Species spotlight: black drum.


Jeff Burleson
About Jeff Burleson 1376 Articles
Jeff Burleson is a native of Lumberton, N.C., who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences and is a certified biologist and professional forester for Southern Palmetto Environmental Consulting.