My first black drum
While not as prestigious as Mallory’s first redfish, I was still pretty excited for my first black drum, caught on a live sand flea at Stump Pass beach last weekend.
By MATT STEVENS
Man on the Pier
There are certain species of fish that mean a great deal to you when you catch your first one. Some fish, such as cobia for me personally, seem to loom larger than life, consuming your thoughts and fishing trips until you finally land one. Other species just seem to sneak up on you.
I can vividly remember my first shark, a 4-foot bull caught at the Gilchrist Park pier in Punta Gorda.
Then there was the moment I broke the cobia curse, lucking into a 22-pounder while fishing for trout at the old Bayshore pier in Charlotte Harbor.
When I lived on a canal off Edgewater Drive in Port Charlotte, the first redfish I reeled in fell for a MirrOdine 17MR one winter night while I was casting off my dock.
While I could go on with tales about goliath grouper, pompano and a host of other species, you get the picture. The anticipation of catching these fish for the first time made the moment when it happened that much more special.
But when I caught my first black drum recently, I didn’t even realize it was the first of that species for me until I was holding the fish up for a picture. I had caught it on a live sand flea just moments after my first cast of the day hit the surf.
It’s a bit hard to believe, but for all my seven years of saltwater fishing in Southwest Florida I hadn’t caught a black drum until this past Sunday at Stump Pass beach.
While black drum aren’t exactly a highly sought-after species, they are a pretty regular catch around here. And while I’m pretty sure I’ve hooked and lost a couple big ones fishing the U.S. 41 bridges in Punta Gorda, I had never landed one.
This one was just a pup, and at 12 inches was still shy of the minimum length of 14 inches for a keeper. But as I released it back into the surf I was still happy that I could cross black drum off the list of saltwater fish I’ve caught.
What species are you hoping to cross off your list this spring?
Until next time, hook ’em up and fight ’em hard. Fish on, fellow anglers.