Red Drum: Sciaenops ocellatus


Also known as redfish.

  • Body is copper-bronze, fading to a lighter belly
  • One or more dark, ocellated spots at base of tail (occasionally without spot)
  • Lack barbels on lower jaw
  • Large scales
  • Powerful pharyngeal teeth used to crush oysters and other shellfish

Similar Species: Black drum, P. cromis (has chin barbels and lacks spot on tail)

Size: Up to 61 inches


Coastal waters. In winter, redfish are found in seagrass, over muddy or sand bottoms, or near oyster bars or spring fed creeks.


Juvenile redfish are an inshore species until they reach roughly 30 inches (4 years).  They then migrate to the nearshore population. Spawn in nearshore waters form August to November. Feed on fishes and invertebrates. 

Additional Information

State Record:External Website 52 lb 5 oz, caught near Cocoa (1996)

Fishing Tips and Facts: 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.

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.

Recreational Regulations

Image Credit: © Diane Rome Peebles

FWC Facts:
Each person operating, riding on, or being towed behind a personal watercraft must wear an approved, non-inflatable Type I, II, III or V personal flotation device (PFD).

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