April 15, 2021

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Red Drum Cheat Sheet

Redrum

Red Drum

Redrum
Red Drum

SPECIES: RED DRUM

DESCRIPTION:
Red drum (Sciaenops Ocellatus), are also known as a channel bass, redfish, spot-tail bass or just “reds”. They range in the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Northern Mexico. Red drum are dark red/copper color on their backs that fades into a white belly.  Red drum have at least one dark spot, on the tail. A Red Drum under 18″ is called a “puppy drum”, when a “red” reaches 27″, they are called “bull reds”.  Like all species in the drum family the Red Drum make a croaking or drumming sound when bothered. A Red Drum with multiple spots is not uncommon, but a red with no spots at ball is extremely rare.

IDENTIFICATION:
Copper-Gold body with a grayish white to silvery yellow belly and one or more dark spots on the tail. The tail is squared.

AKA:
Red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), channel bass, redfish, spot-tail bass or just “reds”

SIZE:
Size range is on average 20-30″. They can get up to 60″ and weigh up to 90lbs

RANGE:
Red Drum range in the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts down to Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Northern Mexico.

IDEAL WATER TEMP:
70°- 90°

SPAWN:
Sexually mature red drum spawn near shorelines from mid-August to mid-October.

HABITAT:
Adult Drum are normally found near the shoreline. They inhabit inshore and offshore waters. They will normally school near the surface.

Puppy Drum are commonly found in the shallows in rivers, bays, canals and creeks around sea grass. and will move into wetlands during high tides.

Drum prefer rocky outcroppings around jetties, rip-rap and manmade structures, like pier and pilings, oil rigs and bridge posts throughout the water column.

DIET:
Puppy drum dine on anchovies, menhaden, mullet, lizard fish, and crustaceans like crabs, mole crabs and shrimp.

Big Drum feed mostly on fish during Winter and Spring like: croaker, lizardfish, menhaden, mullet, mummichogs (mud minnows), pinfish, sea robins and spot. During the later part of the year, Summer and Fall, they prefer crabs and shrimp.

SEASON:
Outer Banks from Mid-April -November.
They can be found in the Chesapeake Bay from May-November.
Adults are common near the mouth of the Bay during the Spring and Fall.

RECORDS:
The current world record was caught on November 7, 1984 by David Deuel. It measured 59″ and weighed 94 lbs. 2 oz. (42.69 kg) and was caught off the coast in Avon NC.

FISHING TIPS:
Natural:
Live bait like mullet, croakers, mud minnows and small blue crabs
Float a live shrimp under a popping cork.
Live fish are best fished on a fish finder rig with 4-8 oz. pyramid sinker depending on current and 4/0 – 5/0 circle or Octopus hooks.

Artificial:
Soft plastic bodied jigs and grubs.
For shallow redfish in clear water and low to no wind try a shad body and add flashy spinner.
Gold spoons are always good go to lures.
Top water lures that resemble mullet like Heddon “Zara Spook” & Mirr-O-Lures fished in shallows and near drop offs.
Lipless crankbaits like Rat-L-Traps fished around rocks & jetties.
Bomber style crankbaits, both floating and shallow-running fished with a stop & go retrieve over grass beds.

EQUIPMENT:
A 10′-12′ heavy rod with a fish finder rig, with 4-8 oz pyramid sinker and 4/0-5/0 circle hook is a good choice for fishing in the surf. You’ll need 25-80lb. line
5′-7′ heavy rod and reel with 25lb.+ test line is what is recommended when pier or boat fishing for drum.

Interesting and un-interesting facts about Red Drum:
• eggs incubate for 24 hours.
• A female lays about 1.5 million eggs
• the official state saltwater fish of North Carolina
• Having no spot(s) on the tail is extremely rare

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