Lack of big drum puzzles area anglers


Published February 22, 2009

The big drum run that is usually under way by now has not yet kicked off. Conversations with anglers accustomed to catching drum this time of year have disclosed that they are as puzzled as I am.

Bull reds still are hitting around the jetties and along with them large black drum should be appearing. Saturday, I called Raymond Berry, operator of GYB Bait Camp, and asked him if he had heard any reports of or seen any big drum hit his cleaning table. Only reds and sand trout had been brought in; however, we agreed it was time to start hearing of black drum catches. GYB is one of the camps that offer a good barometer of action from the jetties.

Capt. Mike Williams, Tarpon Express Guide Service, has probably logged more time fishing the Galveston jetties than anyone I know. Williams and I are the same age, and he has been fishing the jetties since childhood. His comment about the drum run was that when the surf water warms a bit, the fish will start showing up at the jetties. Until mid-March, according to Williams, fishing is “hit and miss” with all of the cold fronts.

Currently, beach-front water temperature readings are in the 65-degree range.

Williams also noted that the big drum run hits its peak around the first day of spring. At that time, you can take your mother-in-law fishing and be almost guaranteed action on drum, he added.

Capt. Paul Stanton, Aqua Safari Charters, is another frequent visitor to the jetties. Friday, he and Capt. Mike Malloy hosted a group to some jetty fishing and found bull reds at the North Jetty Boat Cut. Using Spanish sardines, the group caught two bull reds, which were tagged and retained. His guests Phillip Silva and Morton Talmgren caught the reds, which measured 37 inches each.

Moses Lake has been producing some nice reds, along with a variety of pan fish. Kent Carson and Terry Comstock of League City found action on reds and whiting while fishing the upper reaches of Moses Lake near the state Highway 146 bridge. Using dead shrimp, cut mullet and pieces of shad, the anglers caught nine whiting and five reds including two slots and three rat reds.

Carson commented on the reports of large ribbonfish being caught around Moses Lake by adding that three weeks ago he and another friend were fishing near the mouth of the lake and hooked a large ribbonfish that broke off close to the boat.

Next weekend, there are a number of events of interest to anglers taking place. The West End Anglers Fishing Club begins its big CPR (catch, photograph, release) Black Drum Tournament that lasts through April 5; Bass Pro Shops begins its annual Spring Fishing Classic; and on Saturday, The Mainland Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association will be holding its Galveston Bay Seminar at the Nessler Center in Texas City. Be sure and mark your calendars.

To get your catch in the Reel Report, phone Capt. Joe Kent at 409-683-5273, or send an e-mail to There’s no charge for this service.

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