Targeting Chesapeake Bay Bull Red Drum

by May 10, 2023Red Drum, Tidewater Updates

The Chesapeake Bay Bull Red Drum

One of the most prized gamefish in lower Chesapeake Bay fishing is the bull redfish or red drum.

Growing over 50 inches and weighing in sometimes well over 50 pounds these fish provide incredible opportunities for anglers for much of the year.

Bull redfish are the mature or adult version of the smaller, juvenile redfish or “puppy drum”.

Which are also fun to target in their own unique environments throughout the year as well. 

An image of anglers on Tidewater Charters catching Bull Red Drum


How we target the Bull Red Drum

The most consistent and effective way of targeting these fish is live or cut bait.

Baits including Atlantic menhaden, spot, croakers and blue crabs are some of the bull redfish’s favorite meals.

Fishing these baits on or near the bottom of the water column is the best way to encounter one of these giants.

Setting up in deeper water near secondary ledges, any kind of structure or shoal is critical in locating these fish.

Often traveling in large schools anglers should take note when they catch one because generally many more in the same area. 


An image of an angler with a large bull red drum on the Chesapeake Bay

Other methods for Red Drum fishing

Another popular method is casting or trolling artificial lures such as soft plastic shads, jigs and various spoons.

Fishing these artificial lures near or around structure is your best chance of locating a school.

Tackle for either of these techniques should be heavy enough to land a giant, bull redfish in a few minutes.

The water during the summer months is very warm and this fishery is strictly catch and release by law so a safe, healthy release is very important.

Medium-heavy or heavy action spinning rods loaded with 40-50lb braid, 30-60 lb mono or fluorocarbon leaders are a must.

For bait fishing large circle hooks are very effective and less stressful on the fish. 


Night time bull red drum fishing on the Chesapeake Bay.

Wrapping up

Overall, the bull redfish is a great gamefish to target in the lower Chesapeake Bay for several months out of the year on bait or artificial lures.

With these fish well managed by the coastal states over the last 20 years or so their numbers and size continue to increase.