What's hot: Most fish become lethargic in water temperatures around 90 degrees. One species that seems unaffected by the heat is black drum. Big schools of monster black drum can be found around structure that has good moving water. Good places include bridge pilings, docks, seawalls, and jetties. The 20- to 70-pound fish will most likely be caught around larger structure in deeper water.
Bait and tackle: The best bait for the big ones is blue crab but black drum will eat crustaceans, muscles, barnacles, and other smaller baitfish. Around structure, stout tackle is necessary. Big spinning or conventional outfits lined with 50-pound braid should get the job done. Finish the setup with a piece of 80- to 100-pound leader, some weight, and a strong circle hook. Sometimes big schools can be found on the beaches or grass flats, which will enable an angler to use smaller tackle or even a fly rod.
Tactics: Anchor up to the structure so bait can be cast to the back side where the eddy is formed. This will keep bait close to the structure where black drum feed. Don't set the hook on every tap. Wait for the taps to subside, and a strong steady pull to ensue. Reel down on the fish and hold on.
Seth Leto charters out of Tarpon Springs and can be reached at [email protected] and (727) 385-0382.