Pogonias cromis Photo Claire Sunquist ©
Black drum are named for the loud drumming noise they make when they are caught on a hook and line. Adults are grey or black and younger fish have vertical black bars that make them look like a sheepshead. Fishermen say that when black drum are large enough to have lost their stripes, they are too big to make good eating. Older fish, which can weigh more than 80 pounds, have coarse flesh and more parasites.
Like catfish, black drum have soft fleshy whiskers or barbels that they use when foraging for food. Black drum are often seen ‘tailing’ in shallow water, as they stir up mud in search of oysters, crab and shrimp. You need live bait to catch them because they rely heavily on their sense of smell when feeding.
Black drum are not very popular with recreational fishermen because they give up quickly when hooked. Fishermen say catching a black drum is like pulling a tire from the bottom of the ocean.
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