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Red Drum (Redfish)

Sciaenops ocellatus


red drum

Also known as redfish.

  • Body is copper-bronze, fading to a lighter belly
  • One or more dark, ocellated spots at base of tail (occasionally without spot)
  • Lack barbels on lower jaw
  • Large scales
  • Powerful pharyngeal teeth used to crush oysters and other shellfish

Similar Species: Black drum, P. cromis (has chin barbels and lacks spot on tail)

Size: Up to 61 inches


Coastal waters. In winter, redfish are found in seagrass, over muddy or sand bottoms, or near oyster bars or spring fed creeks.


Juvenile redfish are an inshore species until they reach roughly 30 inches (4 years). They then migrate to the nearshore population.

Prodigious spawners that produce tens of millions of eggs. Spawning season is from about August through December, in passes, inlets and lagoon estuaries around the state. During spawning season, redfish use special muscles rubbing against their air bladder to produce a "drumming" sound for which they are named.

Feed on fishes and invertebrates.

Additional Information

State Record: 52 lb 5 oz, caught near Cocoa (1996)

Fishing Tips and Facts: One of Florida’s most popular sport fish and the state’s most widespread estuarine fish. Floating a live shrimp under a popping cork is a good way to fish for redfish. They also chase crabs, mullet, pinfish and killifish (mud minnows). Casting soft-bodied jigs, spoons and even top-water plugs will catch the attention of these powerful estuarine musicians. Redfish make great table fare.

Recreational Regulations


Image Credit: © Diane Rome Peebles