Puppy drum, also known as juvenile red drum or redfish is a popular game fish found in the Atlantic Ocean. In the United States, they are fished from Massachusetts all the way down to Florida where fishing for puppy drum in the surf is common. If you’re going fishing for puppy drum, read these tips.
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8 Tips to Catch More Puppy Drum
Fish Close to Shore
Most puppy drum are caught in the shallows close to shore. Fish for them near inlets and passes. They tend to stay near structure, so docks, piers, sandbars, and shoals are all likely spots. You can also catch them in the surf near the sandbars.
Work the Shallow
Puppy drum usually stay in the shallows in waters less than four feet deep. Oftentimes you can see their bodies as they swim through the water. Fish near the edges and work the shallows to get the most bites.
Don’t Be Afraid to Go Offshore
Yes, we just said to fish them close to shore, but you can still catch them in deeper waters too. Anchor your boat in deeper waters next to sandbars and shoals and cast your bait out. Work your bait back towards the boat through the deeper waters and you may get some action.
Use the Right Tackle
We recommend using a medium action spinning rod and reel with a 10 to 20 lb test braided line. When using braided line a leader is always recommended, so you may want to use up to 20” of fluorocarbon line. If you are only going after larger red drum you may want a baitcasting rod that can handle a fight.
Fish Natural Baits
Natural baits are often the most effective for catching drum. Shrimp, crab, or smaller baitfish like mullet or minnows work well.
Artificial lures can also work well. Topwater lures, weedless spoons, and jigs can all be productive if used correctly. Soft plastics that mimic their favorite foods can also work.
Go Surf Fishing
Surf fishing is one of the most popular ways to catch puppy drum. If you’re going to be surf fishing you need a long rod that can cast a long distance. Usually 10 to 12 foot rods are ideal. You also have to make sure you are using weights heavy enough to launch your bait, as well as pyramid sinkers so you can plant your lure without it getting pushed back.
Try Different Setups
There are a number of different ways you can rig for redfish and puppy drum. The popping cork setup is always effective. This is usually set up with a popping cork placed above the around 20 inches above the hook. This setup keeps the bait in place in the water column while the cork pops which attracts fish.
Another popular setup is the slip-lead rig. This is used by placing an egg sinker above a swivel and then having a leader and hook attached to the other end of the swivel.