By Blair Hansford, an avid fisherman on the lower Chesapeake Bay

In between watching my 1 year old grow and work, I have had less time to fish but still finding time to get out there when I can. So far this spring’s big bite has been from red drum.

Red drum caught in the lower Chesapeake Bay. Puppy drum are mature adults (3-5 years of age). Red drum can live up to 60 years.

These fish are hard fighting, grow quickly, and many of them winter over in the bay instead of migrating south like so many other fish in the bay. This makes them a great target for early in the year.

Red drum fish

These are puppy drum; also known as channel bass, redfish or spot tail bass. The largest red drum on record was more than 94 pounds, caught in 1984,

Last years class of fish and huge numbers don’t seem to be affected one bit by the unusually cold winter we had this.

It seems like there are more drum roaming around this year than I have seen my entire life in my neck of the woods. We have caught them just about everywhere from around the lower York River and Poquoson area to Fort Monroe and surrounding waters.

There are many ways to catch them but I prefer a popping cork with a 18 inch leader (40#) to a 5/0 circle hook. For bait live minnows and peeler crab are the go-to’s but shrimp will also work in a pinch.

The other way I fish fro them is using a 1/4 oz jighead with a 3 inch DucknBuck paddletail minnow. With just these two rigs you can almost guarantee a few fish in the cooler.

Last but not least is on spoons. Red drum love a spoon especially one with gold colors on it.

Blair Hansford drum fish

Red drum visits the Chesapeake Bay from spring through autumn.

A Few Tips to Catching Nice Drum:

  • Fish shallow flats preferably with some structure if possible. THEY LOVE OYSTER BARS! These fish will often be seen cruising in water so shallow their back and tip of the tail will be out of the water.
  • Make sure to check size limitP each year as they use a slot system for drum. Only fish 18-26 can be kept as of writing this post.
  • Drum tend to school so if you catch one make sure to fish around that spot for a few to pick up any of his buddies.

You can follow Blair on his blog, Fishing, Hunting and Life on the Chesapeake Bay —

Red Drum

Red Drum