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Published on: Apr. 20, 2011

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Sturgeon

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hooked, are determined fighters. Drum can be caught on a number of artificial and natural baits. Among artificial lures, most drum are caught on jigs, but they will also hit a crankbait. If you are specifically after drum, it is best to use natural bait. Night crawlers, crayfish, minnows, shad and cut bait are all effective for taking drum.

Regardless of the bait used, it should be fished on or very near the bottom around rocky areas. Fishing a jig vertically, slow trolling a bottom bouncer rig or drifting a bait over shallow rocky humps on light line and a split shot as a weight can all be successful. A word of warning: Drum have plates of powerful crushing teeth in their throats that enable them to feed on mussels by crushing the shells. If a drum swallows your hook, do not stick your fingers down its throat to get your hook back. It hurts. Believe me.

A number of anglers pride themselves on predicting, with a high degree of accuracy, the species of fish they have on the line before they ever see it, based on the way it fights. Because a big walleye and a drum feel very similar on the end of a line, many alleged “lunker walleye” miraculously transform into drum as soon as they break the surface of the water.

As for table fare, drum can be fried, smoked or cooked on the grill. They also make a tasty substitute for redfish in Cajun or “blackened fish” recipes (see recipe below).

Anyone who fishes in one of our reservoirs or medium sized streams is likely to land a drum sooner or later. But there are some species of fish that you may never encounter unless you venture onto our largest rivers. Good examples of this are the sturgeons.

Sensational Sturgeon

In terms of appearance, sturgeon are among the most unusual-looking fish in the state. Along with the gar and paddlefish, sturgeon are an ancient family of fish (Acipenseridae) that have been around since the days of the dinosaurs. The backs and sides of sturgeon are covered with a series of large, bony plates that have earned them the nickname “hackleback” or “shellback.” Their shovel- or conical-shaped head, streamlined shape and large pectoral and pelvic fins allow them to move easily and hold their position in the swift water of our larger rivers. The sucker-like mouth

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