Black Drum Fishing (Pogonias cromis)

All Tackle Record
113lbs, 1oz

Black Drum Fishing (Pogonias cromis)

The less popular Drum than its close relative, the Redfish, the Black Drum is by no means a lesser challenge to catch, nor does it make for a lesser meal. These large bottom dwellers are often underappreciated due to being relatively easy targets, not as quick and agile as their cousins.

These are inshore, schooling fish, often found in deep holes near rocky jetties, piers or bridge pilings, around clam/oyster beds, in brackish estuaries, bays, channels and sometimes in shallow waters over sandy bottoms.

Black Drum, like other Drum fish, are also able to produce croaking sounds by vibrating their air bladder, most likely for spawning purposes. Another interesting fact about this species is that they have flat, cobble-stone-like teeth in the back of their throat, which help with crushing shells of their prey.

How big

These fish grow to impressive sizes, seeing as they're mostly found inshore. The average catch will be between 5 and 30lbs, but giants in excess of 90lbs are not uncommon. Their estimated life expectancy is about 60 years.

The fish uses its barbels (whiskers) to detect food in the water. Captured with Fin Factor Charters in Cape Canaveral, FL

When & Where

Black Drum can be found in western Atlantic waters, from Nova Scotia to the north of Mexico, and from south Brazil to Argentina. They are especially abundant off Texas and the largest fish can be found between Florida and the Delaware Bay.

In Florida, they can be found from the middle of the state northwards, with good spots being St Augustine and Sebastian Inlet on the Atlantic coast (October through December and then again in March and April) and Tampa Bay and the Panhandle on the Gulf coast (winter months are best). Texas will see them year-round, but the peak spawning rates are in February and March, so this would be the ideal time.

How to catch

The optimal way to target Black Drum would be to deep drop a cracked crab. Shrimp are a close second, with other options including clams, squid or cut fish.

Unlike Redfish, Black Drum are a lot more fussy when it comes to artificials, but successes have been reported using metal and bucktail jigs, spoons and soft plastic lures. Chumming will be helpful.

They are not quick to strike and will require patience before setting the hook. Once you're in, be ready for a fight, as they pull hard. Stout tackle is recommended and will not hinder the hook up, as these fish feed primarily on scent.

Great for kids to catch as they don't drop the hook easily. Take yours Fishin' with Fresa in Port St John, FL

Good to eat?

Black Drum up to 15lb have a moderate taste similar to Redfish. Larger fish usually have tougher meat, their scales are hard to remove and they can be infested with parasites, so it's recommended only to keep smaller ones for food.


Season - always open;
Size limit - Florida - 14 to 24''; Texas - 14 to 30''; Georgia - 14'' minimum; South Carolina - 14 to 27''; North Carolina - 14 to 25''; Virginia, Maryland, Delaware - 16'' minimum; Louisiana - 16 to 27''; Alabama has no size regulations;
Bag limit (per angler per day) - Florida, Texas, Louisiana - 5 (1 oversized fish allowed and included); South Carolina - 5; Virginia, Maryland - 1 (6 per boat in Maryland); Delaware - 3; North Carolina - 10; Georgia - 15; Alabama has no bag regulations;
Similar Game Fish:

Black Drum Fishing Destinations