RED DRUM (Redfish)

A Major Sport Fish

Artist Joe Suroviec

World record 94 pounds, 2 ounces

Red Drum (Redfish) Taxonomy

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Sciaenidae

Genus: Sciaenops

Known to fish experts as Sciaenops ocellatus, this is the only species in this genus. It is a very lonely fish.

Also known as the Red Bass, Spot Tail, and Channel Bass,these fish are characterized by a bronze or golden coloration on the upper body that fades to a silver-gray on the belly. There is a dominant dark spot (or spots) near the tail fin. This differentiates Redfish from others like it.

Where to find them and their Life Cycle.

The Redfish calls a large area home here in the USA. The Gulf of Maine is where redfish start becoming prevalent. The home waters stretch from there all along the Atlantic coastline to Florida, around the tip of the peninsula, and into the northern parts of the gulf of Mexico. Around the Cape Canaveral area of the Indian River Lagoon redfish can be found in great numbers.

A fairly average sized fish, the redfish will grow to approximately 6 inches in length, and weigh up to more than 40 pounds. Redfish have an unusually long lifespan of about 40 years. Just think, if you are about 35 years old, you can go catch a fish that was hatched 5 years before you were! AMAZING isn’t it?

Spawning occurs at different times depending on the location. In the eastern regions of Florida, this occurs in the fall when daylight savings time is ending. In the Gulf of Mexico, redfish spawn from August thru December.

As most species of fish will live in deep waters and migrate to shallower water to spawn, the Redfish does the opposite. Life is lived in shallower waters of estuaries and streams where the water is a bit brackish, then they head to deeper waters to lay and fertilize their eggs.

The males will emit a drumming sound (thus the name Red Drum) and nudge the female in the side to induce the eggs to be laid. Then the male swims nearer to the eggs and spreads the milt over them for fertilization. Females are known to produce from 20,000 to 2,000,000 eggs in a single spawning season.

Channel Bass (Red Drum, Redfish)

What they eat and when

The American Red Drum will eat just about anything that is smaller than itself. Preferred dining includes menhaden, anchovies and small fish, as well as crabs and shrimp. Eating occurs on a constant basis, and they will take almost any lure offered in high population areas. Being a voracious predator, Redfish are notorious for being singular feeders, as opposed to forming schools to find food sources.

How we eat them and how to cook 'em.

Red Drum can be prepared in several different ways. The most common are broiling, baking, and grilling. Be a bit different and use this savory white aquatic delight as an ingredient in soups. Red Drum is a favorite staple of many Creole dishes like bouillabaisse.

Redfish a.k.a. Red Drum, Channel Bass

Other species like this one and the differences.

The term “redfish” is actually used to describe numerous fishes around the world. Each has its own colors, formations, and fin combinations. The Red Drum will be distinguished by its golden brown over white pigmentation, and a dark spot near the tail fin(s).

Flats fly fishing employing the double-haul casting technique is especially productive in the Florida Keys.

DC Wiggler Tan Fly -- great for several fish on the flats

Where you fish will determine which fly you should use. Check with your local bait shop or guide first.

Now go Catch and Release one.

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