Giving the spacing of the missing chunks, and the shape, I'd say prop hit. Poor guy. . . he survived that, he deserves to go in an aquarium and fed all the crabs and shrimp he can eat for the rest of his life.
The plug is a "Zara Spook" "Sway Back". These are a tiny bit longer than the spook Jr but they weigh 3/4 Oz. I modified it by splitting it open and putting in some tiny bird shot to give it a rattling sound instead of the knock knock sound of the spook Jr. I also changed the splits and hooks to stronger.
I really don't think it was a shark because the damaged spots are too far apart. It is difficult to see in the photo but there is much more flesh removed from one side than the other and the cuts have a defined leading edge with a curved trailing edge. The pattern started at the front of the dorsal with a more shallow cut and went all the way to the tail which had two notches in it separated at the same distances as the rest.
No way to be sure what did it but the wounds are recent because there was still a tiny amount of blood coming from a couple of small spots.
I think we under estimate what kind of damage these things can survive.
This is one I got last year. The whole tail was gone and had been gone for a long time. This fish didn't put up much of a fight not having a hind section and all.
I'd already gotten my keeper when I got this tail free unit but today's fish is cleaned and ready for the frying pan. I'd like to say I am noble for putting it out of its misery but I think it would have healed up just fine and lived happily ever after.
My take home fish this year is pitiful and if normally not keep a 20" Fish. Bad year for me and this fish.
I've seen and caught drum with damage before, mostly nets. I'm not an expert at all, but if I had to guess that looks like porpoise wounds to me, as if one got hold of him and re-caught him again each time he got away (tail pieces missing, and shape of the marks on back). I've also seen a lot of porpoise in the waterway the past couple weeks.
But...the fact that a drum in that kind of condition with still bleeding wounds had the energy to hit a surface bait is befuddling to me, even though they are tough fish.
I beg to differ. I think a gill net would show obvious id. I've seen many and they were all dead with distinctive marks directly behind the gill plates. They will hang on to a drum harder than Shark jaws.
It's the nearly perfectly spacing that has me leaning toward a propeller. If it were a porpoise I think the marks would be much more random??
I thought it was a short while I was reeling it in and I guess the lack of a complete tail fin explains that.
I should have taken more/better pictures.