When fishing for reds, use a thick, deep-sea fishing rod about 10 to 12 feet long. Saltwater Fishing South Carolina; "Red Drum Natural History and Fishing Techniques in South Carolina;" Dr. Charles Wenner; October 1992. Once hooked, a red drum on flyfishing tackle is a worthy, exciting adversary. This 37" red drum had more than 970 spots per side. They are often broiled or grilled "on the half shell" as filets with skin and scales left on. Red drum are almost always called redfish on the Gulf coast. It is where the red drum gets its name, according to the website Fish for Fun. They are similar to black drum, but Redfish have no barbels (or feelers), and the Black Drum never have the spot near the tail. The blue disappears as the fish ages. On the northern Gulf coast, red drum are popularly regarded as one of the "big three" of sportfish, along with spotted seatrout (speckled trout) and flounder. (The species name oscellatus refers to these eye-like spots.) External parasites generally do no harm to the fish unless the occur on the gills in sufficient numbers to impair respiration. Although the run can happen anytime between July and October, September is typically prime time for oversize red drum. The Bull Redfish is a sexually mature fish of 27 inches or more. On feeling a bite, set the hook and let the fish run. Anglers refer to catching each species during a single trip as a "grand slam.". The mouth is located beneath the head. One of the most anticipated annual occurrences along the Texas coast is the bull redfish run. We had a great day with a great crew. However, little is known about the effects of human encroachment into estuarine habitat on red drum populations. Growth rates vary with location; Gulf coast fish typically grow faster than fish in other locations. Because red drum tolerate a wide range of salinity and water temperature, they are found in all types of water from freshwater to the open Gulf to the lower reaches of coastal rivers. "Bull" reds are best caught with natural bait. Unlike some other drums, the red drum has no chin barbels or "whiskers.". Red drum are most vulnerable as larvae and juveniles. Red drum is a fast growing fish reaching approximately 11 inches and one pound in its first year, 17-22 inches and 3 1/2 … When fishing from a boat, work a jig around reefs. The Texas record for a red drum catch is 59.5 pounds (23 kg); however, a red drum weighing 94 pounds (42.69 kg) was caught along the North Carolina coast. Where the bottom is muddy and the water is brackish, red drum have a dark copper color. If you plan a trip to the beach, you should try your hand at surf fishing for Redfish. The red drum has not been evaluated by the IUCN Red List. It is the only species in the genus Sciaenops. In Mississippi, the daily recreational creel limit is three fish, with a minimum total length of 18". The Redfish That Got Away. In shallow water, it is possible to "sight fish" for red drum, moving quietly and watching for the fish tailing or disturbing the marsh grass as they feed. Great sport to catch, they pull like a freight train and readily take a variety of baits and artificials. Red drum will take prey from the water column and even from the surface when the opportunity arises. What Is A “Bull” Redfish? Red drum are commonly found along the southern Atlantic coast from Chesapeake Bay to Key West, Florida, along the entire U.S. Gulf coast, and south to about Tuxpan, Mexico. Red drum often have more than one spot per side. Growth rates vary widely. GCRL researchers Robin Overstreet and Richard Heard conducted a detailed investigation of the diet of red drum in Mississippi Sound - Food of the Red Drum, Sciaenops Ocellata, From Mississippi Sound. Red drum are popular sportfish and food fish throughout their range, second only to the spotted seatrout (speckled trout) in the opinion of most anglers. Red drum, broiled "on the half shell" with simple Cajun spices. The dorsal fin has two sections, with a spiny fin at front separated by deep notch from the soft dorsal fin. Schooling Red Drum. ", Annual commercial and recreational harvest of red drum in the Gulf of Mexico, 1980 - 2010. It can be a great time to catch some fish for bragging rights. This action will garner the attention of a cruising red. Commercial harvesting of red drum is prohibited in other Gulf coast states. Often, anglers will find themselves battling a red that weights 8 pounds or more and are unable to bring the fish into their boat; a thin rod can snap under the sheer weight of the fish. Bloodworms net the same results as a fat night crawler would when fished in freshwater. Redfish do not gather in large schools, although on occasion group in two or five in any given area. But if it's not over 40", it's kind of small. A big bull red taken off Matagorda Island in Texas. The red drum is easily distinguished from the black drum (Pogonias cromis) by its lack of chin barbels, more elongated body, and the presence of a large black spot on either side of the tail just ahead of the fin. In this episode we go after big bull Redfish in the St. Johns River. Red drum are delicious when fried, broiled, smoked, and incorporated into dishes such as redfish courtbouillon. Bull reds will fight over a swimbait, bucktail, spoon or popper. Summary Report of the Red Drum Special Working Group for the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. A redfish is called a red, spot tail, channel bass or red drum for its bright copper bronze body, according to the website Rod and Reel. After reaching maturity, female red drum are found almost exclusively to the south of the barrier islands. On June 25, 1986, the Secretary of Commerce implemented an emergency rule limiting the commercial catch in the exclusive economic zone to one million pounds amid concerns that the stock would collapse. Red drum live in both inshore and offshore waters, with younger fish inshore and older fish moving offshore when they mature. Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, 703 East Beach Drive, Ocean Springs, MS 39564 | (228) 872-4200 | AA/EOE/ADAI  Red drum are opportunistic feeders and have been known to eat sand dollars, small nutria, snakes, turtles, and ducklings. Red drum may reach five feet in length and a weight of 90 pounds. Having multiple spots is not uncommon for this fish but having no spots is extremely rare. Only one fish over 30" in length may be kept. Red drum are a regulated game fish. Fertilized red drum eggs are spherical and approximately one millimeter in diameter. 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