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This book is a given for recreational and commercial fishermen as well as anyone who loves the outdoors! Since most anglers identify their fish by reviewing illustrations rather than using scientific keys, the authors have succeeded in making fishing easier by providing superb illustrations and detailed diagnostics for fish identification. A valuable, one-stop reference tool for everyday anglers, fisheries experts, biologists, and outdoors writers, this guide includes intensively researched information on 207 species of saltwater fish, essential data on each species’ habitat, identification, typical size, and food value. By Jerald Horst & Mike Lane, illustrated by Duane Raver. 207 species.

Drum, Red
Sciaenops ocellatus

Illustrations by: Duane Raver     Click image for large version.
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Family:  Drums  (Sciaenidae)
Drum, Red resources :  
Rodnreel.com photos of the Drum, Red
Rodnreel.com reports about the Drum, Red
Other internet photos of the Drum, Red
Louisiana state records for the Drum, Red
Weight vs. length chart for Drum, Red
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Other Names :Red, Spottail, Redfish, Channel Bass, Poisson Rouge, Red Drum
Range & Habitat :Red drum are found Gulfwide, from low-salinity or even freshwater estuaries out to offshore waters at least 50 feet deep. Red drum are not fussy about bottom type, being found on everything from soft mud to hard bottoms of shell hash and oyster reefs. Often, large schools of large red drum will congregate at nearshore artificial reefs and oil and gas platforms in the northern Gulf.
Identification & Biology :Red drum can be silvery-gray with a copper cast or bright copper colored with an iridescent gray cast. Color depends largely on the water the fish comes from. The belly is typically white. Most fish will have a single ocellated spot located just ahead of the tail fin. Occasionally, more than one spot can be found, and rarely, any spots are present.

Red drum, like many other members of the drum family, spawn in high salinity waters in areas of high tidal current flow, such as areas near barrier island passes. Spawning usually takes place over an 8 or 9 week period from mid-August to mid-October. During this period, male red drum stake out, in large numbers, the prime spawning areas in and near the passes, being ready to spawn virtually every night. There they form large schools at night, called drumming aggregations, because of the drumming sound that they make with their air bladders to attract females. Females on the other hand, tend to appear at these areas only when immediately ready to spawn, which seems to be once every 2 to 7 days. This means that the large majority of redfish taken during this time by recreational fishermen are males, rather than females. While the 2-month spawning period is less than half that for spotted seatrout, the spawning potential of an individual redfish is truly stupendous. At an average of 1.5 million eggs per spawn, and a spawning every 2 to 4 days, the average female can be expected to produce 20-40 million eggs per season.

While it has been a generally accepted rule of thumb that redfish leave inshore waters when they mature at around age 5, there is a lot of variation in this. Immature 2 to 5 year old fish have been found in the offshore schools. Also, a small percentage of females mature at age 3 and about 9 pounds in weight. A few males mature even sooner, at age 2 and 5˝ pounds. All females are mature by age 6 and all males by age 5. Once mature, redfish typically will spawn for the rest of their lives.

Red drum are aggressive and opportunistic feeders and the result is evident in their growth rate. At age 1 they average over 13 inches and by age 2, they average over 21 inches long. Blue crabs make up a large part of their diet, but fish and shrimp are also eaten. Although red drum have been known to come to the surface to take topwater artificial baits, they are typically bottom feeders. Commonly eaten fish include searobins, lizardfish, menhaden, mullet, pigfish, spot, Atlantic croakers, and flounder. Most of these are bottom-living species.
Size :Very common from 1-10 pounds in estuaries, although larger fish are not uncommon. Red drum caught in offshore waters are usually over 10 and often over 30 pounds.
Food Value :Good, with smaller fish being considered better table fare than larger fish.
Description by: Jerald Horst, Associate Professor, Fisheries - LSU AgCenter

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