Black Drum: Pogonias cromis


  • Back is highly-arched and gray or black, fading to a lighter belly
  • Juveniles have 4 to 6 dark vertical bars on sides (fade with age)
  • Barbels on lower jaw
  • Large scales
  • Powerful pharyngeal teeth used to crush oysters and other shellfish

Similar Species: Red drum, S. ocellatus; and sheepshead, A. probatocephalus (both lack barbels on lower jaw)

Size: Up to 67 inches


Inshore fish common to bays and lagoons. Bottom dwellers, often found around oyster beds. May also be found offshore. Juveniles found in estuaries.


Largest of drum species. Spawns nearshore in winter and early spring. Feeds on fishes and invertebrates including oysters, mussels, crabs and shrimp. May live to 35 or more years.

Additional Information

State Record:External Website 96 lbs, caught near Fernandina Beach

Fishing Tips and Facts: The vertical bars on juvenile black drum are somewhat similar to those on sheepshead and spadefish.

Recreational Regulations

Image Credit: © Diane Rome Peebles

FWC Facts:
The St. Johns River is one of the few rivers that flows north instead of south.

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