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Redfish - Red Drum

The Red Drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), also known as
Channel Bass, Redfish, Spottail Bass or simply Reds, is a game fish that is found in the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Northern Mexico. It is the only species in the genus Sciaenops. The red drum is a cousin to the Black Drum (Pogonias cromis), and the two species are often found in close proximity to each other, they can interbreed and form a robust hybrid, and younger fish are often indistinguishable in flavor.

Red Drum usually occur along coastal waters. Three year-old red drum typically weigh six to eight pounds. The largest one on record weighed just over 94 pounds. When they are large they are called Bull reds, although most people do not find the large ones good to eat.

Mature Red Drum spawn in near shorelines. Juvenile red drum typically inhabit bays and coastal marshes until they reach maturity between 3 and 6 years of age. They will readily accept any bait but prefer Menhaden, Shrimp, Mud Minnows and crabs. Red Drum are relatives of the Black Drum and both make a croaking sound when in trouble.

The most distinguishing mark on the red drum is one large black spot on the upper part of the tail base. Having multiple spots is not uncommon for this fish but having no spots is extremely rare. Scientists believe that the black spot near their tail helps fool predators into attacking the red drum's tail instead of their head, allowing the red drum to escape.

Red drum are often found over sand and sandy mud bottoms in coastal waters and estuaries. They feed mainly on crustaceans, mollusks and fishes. Since they are bottom feeders, they are commonly caught with bait either on the bottom or suspended within a couple feet of the bottom. Shrimp is a typical bait that works well; squid can also be used and is less subject to bait stealing by hardhead catfish and Atlantic croakers which often frequent the same waters. There are times when the older,larger fish are more readily caught on a half or a quarter of a blue crab with the top shell removed and cut or broken to fit on a 4/0 to 9/0 hook. Baitfish such as pinfish can also be effective,along with a variety of other techniques.

A big adult drum grabs the bait, takes off with gusto, and can put up quite a fight. An unsecured rod can easily be pulled into the water. Landing these big fish on light tackle can be challenging, and since drum are primarily scent-based feeders, there is little disadvantage in using heavier line and tackle,especially in stained or deeper water. A 40-lb braided line with a comparable weight flurocarbon leader is a good compromise between castability and strength. However, big drum are frequently caught with everything from 8-lb monofiliment to 100-lb braided lines with heavy steel leaders.

An effective strategy for fishing from a boat is to select a spot with a sandy bottom or oyster bed where food is plentiful at a time of day with some tidal movement. Pier or bank fishing should target jetties, structure, or a boat channel near a rapid increase in depth and some tidal movement. Because bigger drum can make a long, strong run right after taking the bait, preventing broken line often requires a relatively light drag setting early in the fight.

Information courtesy of Wikipedia
 

 

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