Location: Eastern Shore, Maryland/Virginia
The red drum fishing is normally active during a very specific time of year. Earlier in the season when they are migrating is when you can catch them on the 7" Hogy Original. In the beginning/middle of May, everything is kicked into high gear with these bull reds. When the summer is hot, they congregate at the mouth of the Chesapeake bay, which is when you would want to downgrade to a smaller Hogy Pro Tail Paddle at that time, somewhere between 4 and 6-inches.
Some of the most popular, guaranteed red drum areas around the Eastern Shore of Maryland/Virginia are Cape Charles, Deal Island and the Chesapeake itself. Some anglers focus on Virginia Beach, known as the Western shore side, but Capt. Steve says there's more of a bite on the Eastern shore side.
Tides: The bull reds in this area are somewhat tide dependent. When there is a flood tide, they can be found up in the marshes in super skinny water chasing shedder crabs and pogies. They will often push them against the shoreline as the water comes in and wait for them at the high tide mark when the bait is flushed out.
Approach: If they're lucky, it's mostly sigh casting. They can be found gorging on menhaden (also known as bunker or pogies) ranging from 9 to 15-inches. They are tidal and moon phase dependent, which almost always effects the fishing. During the summer, they target them in open water. During the spring, them target them in shallow water with current. Capt. Steve explained it as, "they'll be holding in exactly what you expect them to be holding in."
For example, if you think they're all balled up in a 5-foot hole waiting for bait, that's probably, exactly where you'll find them.
Rigging/Lure Selection: Hogy Original 7-inch
Why This Bait? There are a couple of theories as to why they're keyed in on this specific bait and color. Shedder crabs are a popular bait amongst red drum and when the crabs shed their shells every full moon, they become soft, pink crabs before they become hard again. This is when the fish key in on them, and the Hogy Originals, based on coloration. They're not fishing in super clear water so on murky days, they use bubblegum and on clear days they use white or bone.
Retrieve: Cast the lure out and let it dead drift while imparting small twitches. Point the rod towards the water with a little pull and slowly retrieve. Capt. Steve prefers using spinning gear with big fish and baitcasters with smaller fish.
Rod: St. Croix VIS76MF Avid Inshore Rod 7'
Reel: Shimano Stradic 4500 with 15 to 15lbs of drag
Line: 30lb PowerPro Braid
Leader: 60lb Seaguar Fluorocarbon. The fluorocarbon sinks more than the mono, helping to get the normally weightless Hogy Original down a little while keeping it unweighted.
Connection: Uni-to-Uni Knot connection between the braid and the fluorocarbon. A palomar knot to connect the leader to the lure.