The Delaware Bay black drum (aka “Boomer” bite is beginning to roll and should bust wide open after the rough and tumble Wednesday weather and its residual after effects.
Forget the “When the dogwoods bloom the drum go boom,” as that adage fits for the likes of Great Bay; however, it’s more “When the gnats attack get on the track,” as on the track to Delaware Bay.

While there have been some drums beaten across the expanse on the state of Delaware side (saltwater fishing license required), the action is getting underway on the Jersey side at the likes of the popular and productive Pin Top, Tussys Slough and the Punk Grounds, among other kept-quiet hot spots as the spawning migration of these crustacean crushers continues to rev towards the late May redline stretch.

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Earlier, and continued drum fishing, is occurring in Great Bay, and while it will last
another week or so, it’s on the wane. Those wishing to experience the big time boomer
action should now concentrate efforts in Delaware Bay, as this run is likely to continue in
the second and perhaps even the third week of June.


And maybe even longer.

Captain Steve Bent from Free Spirit Sportfishing based at Utsch’s Marina in Cape May,
recently reported during the May 1 broadcast on Rack & Fin Radio (the podcast available below this blog), that, over the years depending on the volume of the run, clients have caught drum into the Fourth of July weekend. Not that many, perhaps, but enough to shed light on the fact that they will hang around, conditions (read: water temperature) permitting.

Figure the fish glomming the fresh clam or chunked blueclaw crab baits (the go to offering should the surf turkeys be in short supply) to be in the 25- to 50-pound range as you read this, with boomers to 70-plus pounds the norm by the third week in May, if not a few days sooner.

How big are the black drum invading Delaware Bay? Anyone’s guess, but certainly as
gargantuan as the 109-lb. mega-boomer state record caught by Nick Henry in 2008. Word was the fish lost a few pounds, guesstimates ranging from five to 10 pounds, from hitting the deck to hitting the scale.

Yeah, big game fishing within sight of land, for sure!

This is a short and intense fishery, and if you’re a DIY angler, have at it. Those who
prefer, and can afford, the services of a charter, two drum majors include Capt. Steve Bent (Free Spirit Sportfishing; 609-703-6630), and Capt. Bob Cope (Full Ahead Sportfishing; 609-247-2304; only Mothers Day open) both ensconced at Utsch’s Marina.

If you’re used to a party boat experience, then it’s the Bonanza II (Capt. Mike; 381-2978) sailing from Fortesque. With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, and the logistics of black drum battles that test tackle as well as shoulders, knee caps and lower backs, and rail space, angler counts per trip on the BII are limited.

Oh, yeah, the gnats. Pack along, and apply before departure, the likes of Skin-So-Soft
spray, or a Repel or Cutter’s Deet spray, or something/anything that will prevent the
swarms from descending should the wind or breezes quit, and be prepared to re-apply at a moment’s notice. These blood suckers are relentless.

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