About This Fish

Red Drum

The red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) is a ray finned fish which is also known as channel bass, redfish, spottail bass or reds. It belongs to the family Sciaenidae under Order perciformes of Class Actinopterygii. It is found in the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Northern Mexico. The red drum occurs usually over sand and sandy mud bottoms in coastal waters and estuaries. It prefers shallow waters along the edges of bays with submerged vegetation such as seagrasses.

The red drum has a robust, elongated and moderately compressed body. Body color is typically an iridescent silvery gray, bronze or copper dorsally, fading to silver laterally and whitish ventrally. One or more dark spots set are present near the base of the caudal fin. The caudal fin and dorsal fins are dusky in color while the anal and pelvic fins are paler. The head profile is straight with a cone-shaped snout and large inferior mouth. No barbells are present on the chin. Dorsal fin is divided into spinous and soft part by a deep notch. The spinous part bears 11 spines, of which, the third and fourth spine are the longest and the eleventh dorsal spine is separate from the others while the soft dorsal fin contains 23-25 soft rays. The anal fin has two spines and 8-9 soft rays. Body is covered with large ctenoid scales. Scales have a dark center which forms poorly defined lines on the body. Lateral line is single and complete which runs from operculum to the posterior margin of the caudal fin with 45 - 50 scales. The young red drum feeds on small crabs, shrimp and marine worms while adult feeds on larger crabs, shrimp and small fish. The male red drum reaches sexual maturity at the age between 1 and 2 years while female at 3 and 4 years. It spawns in near shorelines from mid August to mid October. A female lays more than three million eggs per batch. It grows up to 155 cm in length and 45 kg in weight. It can live up to 62 years.

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Location Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
New Jersey
North Carolina