Though it’s been hit or miss the past few years, when the boom or bust black drum bite in Delaware Bay is booming, one of the main hot spots for drummin’ includes the Pin Top.
The Pin Top is basically a tiny little bump on top of a big gully where the pinnacle rises to 16 feet and drops into the sloughs alongside down to 36 feet. It’s a small area, only about a quarter-mile in circumference and 100 feet in diameter, sitting southeast of the 16A Buoy, which marks the entrance to Flounder Alley and is on the western side of the Shipping Channel.
It’s a nice shallow point in the middle of deeper waters. Generally, the sloughs around the area run between 30 and 36 feet in depth, and rise up to 20 feet in certain points to their peaks. The main spot on the Pin Top, for which its name is spawned, resides on the south end, where an underwater hill rises to 16 feet.
Springtime is the hottest time of the year and its highlighted fishery is when it becomes a toll road for black drum as they inundate the bay on their spawn. Key to tackling big boomer drum of 25 to 80 pounds or more includes setting anchor on a clam chum slick either on the tip of the top or alongside one of the ledges, with moving tides the best time to get the slick working through the bay to attract drum.
Gear up for Pin Top drum by dropping down big gobs of clam glopped on size 9/0 Octopus Gamakatsu circle hooks, put the clickers on and wait for the boomers to run off with the baits. Be sure that you’re always humming with fresh cracked clams off the stern, and chum pots hung off the bow, sending the slick out to attract these Clydesdales.
Evening tides into the dark hours are prime times when the boomers are feeding, with generally accepted prime time from 6 p.m. to midnight. Many of the Delaware Bay drum faithful view May’s full moon (May 10, 2017) and new moon (May 25, 2017) tides as the periods of the best bite this season.
Often overlooked, during summertime, the area becomes a holding pen for large fluke. Drift along the edges of the sloughs with bucktails or strip baits, come on up over the Top, and over the other side on an east to west drift. Fluke will strike when baits flow along the ledges. Come fall, striped bass take up residence in the area, and fresh bunker heads sent back on fish-finder rigs will garner hits from bass in the 15- to 50-pound class.