Red Drum, also known as Channel Bass, Redfish, Spottail Bass or simply Reds, is found in the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Northern Mexico. Red Drum usually occurs along coastal waters. They are tolerant of a wide variety of salinity levels and are often caught in waters sporting largemouth bass. Red Drum are relatives of the Black Drum and both make a croaking sound when in trouble.
All reds sport one large black spot on tail. Multiple spots is not uncommon. It is believed spot near their tail helps fool predators. Drums are an iridescent silvery-gray overall, with a coppery cast that is usually darker on the back and upper sides. Their bodies are elongate and heavy, and their mouths inferior. Drum move from the estuaries around three years of age into the open ocean where they can grow over fifty pounds.
Mature Red Drum spawns in near shorelines around cuts and passes to estuaries around mid-August to mid-October. Up to two million eggs are laid per female. These free floating eggs hatch after 24 hours. Young drum feed on zooplankton and invertebrate. As they grow in size they expand their diet to include fish and larger invertebrates.
Red Drum in Florida
The following is courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:
Chin without barbels
Copper-bronze body; lighter in clear waters
1 to many spots at the base of the tail
Mouth horizontal and opens downward
Habitat: In winter, redfish are found in seagrass, over muddy or sand bottoms, or near oyster bars or spring fed creeks.
Behavior: Juvenile redfish are an inshore species until they reach roughly 30 inches (4 years). They then migrate to the nearshore population.
State Record: 52 lb 5 oz, caught near Cocoa (1996)
Fishing Tips and Facts: Red drum are 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.
Additional Information:Redfish are 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.