Family Sciaenidae, DRUMS

Sciaenops ocellatus





2. Redfish: A gamefish usually taken from the two jetties, with a fall run sometimes coordinating with the fall mullet run around the north jetty. Will hit five baits, including shrimp, on sliding sinker bottom rigs and bucktail jigs. Daily limit is one fish between 18 and 27 inches. Caught year-round. No closed seasons.

Description: chin without barbels; copper bronze body, lighter shade in clear waters; one to many spots at base of tail (rarely no spots); mouth horizontal and openng downward; scales large.

Similar Fish: black drum, Pogonias cromis.

Where found: juveniles are an INSHORE fish, migrating out of the estuaries at about 30 inches (4 years) and joining the spawning population OFFSHORE.

Size: one of 27 inches weighs about 8 pounds.

Florida Record: 51 lbs., 8 ozs.

Remarks: red drum are an INSHORE species until they attain roughly 30 inches (4 years), then they migrate to join the NEARSHORE population; spawning occurs from August to November in NEARSHORE waters; sudden cold snaps may kill red drum in shallow, INSHORE waters; feeds on crustaceans, fish and mollusks; longevity to 20 years or more.