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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Doing some homework on the feeding habits of my nemisis, the Red Drum, which has eluded me thus far, and found an article by some people at UNC Wilmington. An interesting section on the % of which species of prey item found by frequency of occurence %FO, and percent by weight %W, in stomach contents. Study was done on the New River. Link to full article at the bottom. Enjoy.

"Diet Analysis

Age-0–1 juvenile red drum preyed on at least 29 different species that included 14 fish taxa and 15 invertebrate taxa (Table 1). Penaeid shrimp dominated the diet by weight (%W =30.7%), followed by Atlantic menhaden (27.4%) and blue crabs (9.6%). Other commonly recovered fish prey included Atlantic croakers, spot, mullets, pinfish, spotfin mojarras, and snake eels. Other invertebrate taxa represented in the diet included polychaete worms, snails, clams, insects, isopods, grass shrimp, marsh crabs, fiddler crabs, and mud crabs. Plant material (%FO = 20.4%) and inert objects such as rope, gravel, and fishing lures were also encountered routinely in red drum stomachs.

Age-1–2 red drum also exhibited a diverse diet, which included 20 different prey taxa (Table 1). Blue crabs dominated the diet by weight (%W = 35.1%), followed by Atlantic menhaden (15.4%) and pinfish (10.1%). In contrast to age-0–1 red drum, penaeid shrimp were not a major component (%W = 1.1%; %FO = 6.4%) of the diet for larger, older red drum. Other fish species were the redominant prey of age-1–2 red drum (%W = 61.1%) and included Atlantic croakers, spot, mullets, snake eels, and flounders. Other invertebrate taxa, including clams, insects, isopods, and other crabs, represented minor components of age- 1–2 red drum diets. Similar to the diets of age-0–1 red drum, plant material (%FO = 18.2%) and other inert objects (e.g., metal, gravel, and fishing lures) were encountered routinely.

Based on the relative importance of major prey groups, the composition of red drum diets varied between the two years included in the study. In 2007, the majority of the diet for age-0–1 red drum consisted of penaeid shrimp (%W = 46.7%), whereas in 2008 penaeid shrimp only represented 13.6% of the diet by weight (Table 2). In contrast, the %W of Atlantic menhaden in the diet was only 3.4% in 2007 but increased to 59.3% in 2008. The contribution of blue crabs to the diet remained relatively consistent between the two study years: %W was 11.5% (%FO = 19.5%) in 2007 and was 8.1% (%FO = 6.5%) in 2008.

Age-1–2 red drum also displayed interannual variability in the inclusion of major prey groups in their diet. In 2007, 87.1% of the diet by weight consisted of fish prey (%W = 33.2% for Atlantic menhaden; 53.9% for other bony fishes); however, in 2008 fishes only made up 50.0% of the diet by weight, primarily due to a decrease in the contribution of Atlantic menhaden prey (%W = 4.9%; Table 2). The contribution of penaeid shrimp to the diet of age-1–2 red drum was low in both years. Blue crabs were eaten consistently (%FO = 28.9–36.4%) by age-1–2 red drum, but their contribution by weight varied substantially between years (%W = 12.4% in 2007 and 48.2% in 2008), driven by higher masses of blue crab within stomachs that contained blue crab prey during 2008 (mean mass of blue crab per stomach = 9.6 g in 2008 and 6.8 g in 2007).

Seasonal patterns in food habits of age-0–1 red drum revealed a shift from a crustacean-dominated diet (%W ∼ 50%) during May–October to a diet dominated by bony fishes (%W=72.8%) during November–January (Figure 2A, B). Atlantic menhaden constituted the majority of all fish prey consumed during May–October; however, from November to January, Atlantic menhaden declined to less than 5% of fish prey (%W). Predation on blue crabs by age-0–1 red drum also displayed some seasonality: the %W of blue crabs was 8.8% (%FO = 9.0%) during May–July, increased to 15.0% (%FO = 18.6%) during August–October, and then declined to near zero (%W = 0.5%; %FO = 5.9%) during winter months.

Seasonality was also evident in the feeding habits of age-1–2 red drum (Figure 2C, D). Diet analysis revealed a shift in the contribution of crustaceans (mostly blue crabs), with a %W of over 50% during February–July, decreasing to approximately 19% during fall and to nearly 8% in winter. This decline was driven mainly by predation on blue crabs, which demonstrated a high degree of seasonality in diets for age-1–2 red drum. The %W of blue crabs was 31.1% (%FO = 22.8%) from February to April, increased to 60.5% (%FO = 42.5%) during May–July, and then decreased during fall (%W = 18.2%; %FO = 19.5%) and winter (%W = 4.9%; %FO = 11.1%)."


See entire article here:
http://people.uncw.edu/scharff/publ... Coastal Fisheries (Facendola and Scharf).pdf
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just need to find a place where I can get blue crab bait at 0500 somewhere between Wrightsville Beach and North Topsail Beach... Anybody have any experience with One Stop in Surf City? They don't open till 0600, but that'll have to do. Looks like I can stop there in my boat?
 

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I chop them in half or quarters, break off the pinchers and hook through the shell fairly close to the edge. If day fishing Pinfish peck them out quickly so check your bait often. Make sure you are using legal sized crabs so you don't get a ticket for keeping undersized ones. If you buy bait crabs keep the receipt as I have noticed in the past they are sometimes smaller than the state limit. I only use circle hooks, put the rod in a good rod holder with a snug drag so the circle hook can set itself but make sure your holder can handle that pressure so you don't lose a rod. If I se the bite I point the rod at the water and cup the spool to set the hook then give it a pop just to be sure its in. Same method for any bait fishing with circle hooks for any species.

* there should be a seafood shop in Fayetteville where you can buy ahead of time...
 

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There are numerous ways to hook up a crab. Some people pop the key and essentially dismantle the crab to use as bait.
Most of the time what I do is cut the crab in half from head to tail. Twist the legs out of the sockets and break the claw off.
Run my hook through one of the leg holes and out the top of the shell close to a back leg.

Some people take the hook all the way through top to bottom..
Some people leave the back legs on.
I'm surf fishing so I try to streamline a bulky bait as best I can which is why I remove the legs.

Take all crab parts you removed and chunk in the water. It's chum.

Ironically tarpon feed about the same as drum.
Every tarpon I've ever hooked on the surf was on a drum rig fishing for drum.
 

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A bait that size I might get 80 yards on a good day with a tail wind on modified tackle.
I'm not a phenomenal distance caster. I was pretty dang good at one time but back problems and twisting don't go together.
Most of my casting is just straight up casting now. If I'm feeling spry I might launch a few pendulum casting once in a while but I'm too rusty at it to be really effective with it anymore.

Casting is just one of those things you need to do all the time because it's all about technique and timing.
I cast more on dry land than I do in water. Just to keep the timing going in my head. Like yesterday, I was building on a boat. At points where I had to wait for something to dry I was casting.

Most of my fishing is in the dead of the night on a dark beach. You can't see or hear a splash down. Instead you train your ears to listen to the tone of the bearings, in my case ceramic bearings. You are also running a mental stop watch. If you cast enough you don't flub many casts and the hang time gets ingrained in some lobe of the brain half throttle, three quarter throttle, or full throttle. Anyway.....you know exactly when to slam on the brakes of a baitcaster.

The best rig to run for casting would be a pulley rig. The problem though is two fold. It's hard to find the right pulley rig components locally or even in the US. And the second problem is most of what you do find is not geared towards big fish. You have to modify the best you can.
I order all of my pulley rig components out of the UK. Breakaway UK. I don't deal with Breakaway USA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A bait that size I might get 80 yards on a good day with a tail wind on modified tackle.
I'm not a phenomenal distance caster. I was pretty dang good at one time but back problems and twisting don't go together.
Most of my casting is just straight up casting now. If I'm feeling spry I might launch a few pendulum casting once in a while but I'm too rusty at it to be really effective with it anymore.

Casting is just one of those things you need to do all the time because it's all about technique and timing.
I cast more on dry land than I do in water. Just to keep the timing going in my head. Like yesterday, I was building on a boat. At points where I had to wait for something to dry I was casting.

Most of my fishing is in the dead of the night on a dark beach. You can't see or hear a splash down. Instead you train your ears to listen to the tone of the bearings, in my case ceramic bearings. You are also running a mental stop watch. If you cast enough you don't flub many casts and the hang time gets ingrained in some lobe of the brain half throttle, three quarter throttle, or full throttle. Anyway.....you know exactly when to slam on the brakes of a baitcaster.

The best rig to run for casting would be a pulley rig. The problem though is two fold. It's hard to find the right pulley rig components locally or even in the US. And the second problem is most of what you do find is not geared towards big fish. You have to modify the best you can.
I order all of my pulley rig components out of the UK. Breakaway UK. I don't deal with Breakaway USA.
Excuse my ignorance, but this is all referring to Surf fishing right? Would love to see a M&G on the beach or a familiarization with some experienced surf slingers, as I'm interested but don't know anything about it really. Maybe I should start a new post about that.
 

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I've done all types of fishing from fly to some offshore, to the lakes and rivers and nothing gets me going like surf fishing does. I love it. My vacations are spent in their entirety in the surf. 14 hours or so every day. I'm not the best surf fisherman and I don't fish where I should be fishing that often due to family (single parent of an adopted 16 year old girl) but I have my moments with bigger fish. Drum, tarpon, and sharks which is primarily what I'm there for. I'm after the pull, not necessarily a cooler full of fish. But there are times when I chase Virginia mullet and flounder.
I've owned numerous boats and my hobby is boat building but I'd rather stand in the surf with a rod in one hand and a beer in the other. If I don't catch a thing I'm just as happy as if I did.

I'm not too far from Raeford. Maybe 45 minutes or so. Swing by the shop one Saturday or Sunday afternoon. We'll make some rigs and go over some of the gear I use.
 

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As one that has been accused, and rightfully so, of over thinking my approach to catching drum I am astonished no one has said that you are as well.
I'm no drum expert believe me but imo you should ditch all the "data" and throw some top water on other artificial. Bait is fine but it's obviously a hassle to obtain for you (and many others) and looking at data, again imo, has never made a rod bend.
Fwiw I have found mullet and/or other fish in maybe 10% of the drum I've caught. All the others have small mud crabs, fiddler crabs, shrimp and other crustaceans. They obviously eat bait fish but I feel they are more of a grazing fish that root around like pigs. I've caught many drum on top after seeing them sacking fiddlers from the banks of spoil islands and just as many casting over submerged oyster beds where they are sacking up the many mud crabs that borrow in these oysters.. All that being said I'll add that if I can catch drum anyone can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
As one that has been accused, and rightfully so, of over thinking my approach to catching drum I am astonished no one has said that you are as well.
I'm no drum expert believe me but imo you should ditch all the "data" and throw some top water on other artificial. Bait is fine but it's obviously a hassle to obtain for you (and many others) and looking at data, again imo, has never made a rod bend.
Fwiw I have found mullet and/or other fish in maybe 10% of the drum I've caught. All the others have small mud crabs, fiddler crabs, shrimp and other crustaceans. They obviously eat bait fish but I feel they are more of a grazing fish that root around like pigs. I've caught many drum on top after seeing them sacking fiddlers from the banks of spoil islands and just as many casting over submerged oyster beds where they are sacking up the many mud crabs that borrow in these oysters.. All that being said I'll add that if I can catch drum anyone can.
Challenger, let me be clear, I have most certainly been rightly accused of over thinking this whole redfish thing, that was on another post about fishing for them in the wind. This post was a result of that post as one of the comments there was to study the red drum's feeding and spawning habits. But I appreciate your comments.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
A little off topic but here goes.

I know there is no substitute for time on the water, or so I've been told, but how else can I pass the time of a 12 hour shift in front of a computer?
Here are a few things to consider: I have to drive about 120 miles (2-1/2hrs) one way to spend 'time on the water'. I don't have a local bait and tackle shop that is getting fishing reports about every 20 minutes from customers visiting the store, heck it's hard enough just for me to find salt water tackle. I have to trust online weather sources to be reliable for trip planning (I used the weather channel without double checking a second sight once, '84 partly cloudy 5-7mph breeze; try 65 raining and 10-15mph), I can't just walk outside and look at the horizon and decide to go.

I'm getting out as much as I possibly can, just trying to learn any way I can when I can't be on the water. By the way, does anybody know of a fishing report that you call and it's a recorded message? I think my brother used to use one like that in Florida.
 

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I will PM you with my number and maybe I can get bait for you so you don't have to waste time getting it instead of fishing.
5 hour round trip is a long haul IMO.
I don't know how often you are able to fish but you might think about putting you own crab trap out and take from it when you arrive? It would have to stay full of bait for sure so that could be an issue.
 

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A little off topic but here goes.

I know there is no substitute for time on the water, or so I've been told, but how else can I pass the time of a 12 hour shift in front of a computer?
Here are a few things to consider: I have to drive about 120 miles (2-1/2hrs) one way to spend 'time on the water'. I don't have a local bait and tackle shop that is getting fishing reports about every 20 minutes from customers visiting the store, heck it's hard enough just for me to find salt water tackle. I have to trust online weather sources to be reliable for trip planning (I used the weather channel without double checking a second sight once, '84 partly cloudy 5-7mph breeze; try 65 raining and 10-15mph), I can't just walk outside and look at the horizon and decide to go.

I'm getting out as much as I possibly can, just trying to learn any way I can when I can't be on the water. By the way, does anybody know of a fishing report that you call and it's a recorded message? I think my brother used to use one like that in Florida.
I understand. I am in the same situation. But man if I can catch drum then so can you. It sucks to have bad days after driving 2+ hours but its gonna happen.

Nothing wrong with researching and talking because IMHO that's what this forum is about.

Keep on keepin on.
 

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Maybe it will help to post this within this thread as opposed to starting a new one. Not meaning to high jack:
Ive heard people like to find drum using top water so this leads me to ask:
If top water finds drum why switch to another lure? I ask this because I'll often catch one on top and then won't catch another? I've always figured that the drum are not in any type of school and just swimming around as singles, doubles, triples etc. Now I'm thinking I should try throwing a paddle tail or spoon or other artificial suggested here. To ask this another way, if one catches a red on top and then nothing is it because they quit hitting on top? They are still there so switch baits? Do juveniles (27" & smaller) swim in schools? Average number in a school?
Last fall when the water started getting clear I was able to see some drum swimming in the creek and they would be maybe 3-7 fish in the schools that passed by me???
 
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