“This is something we planned to do six months ago,” said Nabozny. “We were trying to catch large drum with a fly rod last fall. They were big fish, but nothing like the fish this time of year.”
Nabozny used a T -14 tungsten sinking line and the heavily weighted fly to get to the big fish, typically found this time of year in deep channels and passes.
Nabozny and Horbey timed their March trip to coincide with the beginning of an incoming tide.
“I was fishing in about 15 feet of water, trying to tease one of these drums onto the fly,” Nabozny said. “I was just inching it very slowly across the bottom, and I got lucky.”
Nabozny said it took him more than 30 minutes to bring the fish to the boat on his 12-weight fly rod.
The black drum actually qualifies for three records: the traditional state record for weight (fly fishing), a water body record for Matagorda Bay and the new catch and release length-only record for fly fishing.
The previous fly fishing record was 19.5 pounds, set in December of 2001 on the Lower Laguna Madre.
Joedy Gray, who runs the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Angler Recognition Program, said submissions for black drum records from fly fishermen are relatively rare.
“My first impression was that this is just a beautiful-looking fish,” he said. “It’s only the third black drum fly fishing submission I’ve had since I’ve been doing this program.”
“That was the very first fish I hooked,” Nabozny said. “I caught smaller fish, nothing that size. It was just an amazing fish.”
– Texas Saltwater Fishing Guide