Red drum, a type of Redfish, are a streamlined fish with a dark red back that fades into white on the belly. Red drum typically mature by 3-5 years of age, and the approximate length at maturity for males is 28”, females 33”. Once a red drum reaches 27” or longer, they are called “bull reds”. The largest red drum on record weighed just over 94 pounds, caught in 1984 on Hatteras Island. When distressed, red drum make a croaking or drumming sound as do their black drum relatives.
Red drum have a characteristic large black eyespot on the upper part of the tail base. Scientists believe this spot helps fool predators into attacking the red drum’s tail instead of their head, allowing the red drum to escape. Using its sense of sight and touch, along with its downturned mouth, red drum bottom feed prey through vacuuming or biting. In the summer and fall, red drum feed on crabs, shrimp, and mullet. In spring and winter, they seek menhaden, mullet, pinfish, sea robin, lizardfish, spot, Atlantic croaker, and mud minnows.
Red drum are heavily populated along the southern Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts. Immature red drum prefer grass marsh areas of bays and estuaries. Red drum between the ages of 3-6 prefer rocky outcroppings including jetties, oil rigs, and bridge posts where they are most often found throughout the water column.
When dining on red drum, expect a moderate flavor. Look for younger fish that are less than 15 pounds, as the larger fish tend to have a tough consistency (comparable to chicken) and lose the preferred flakey texture of many species. Large drum can also be a challenge to clean as the large scales are difficult to remove.
Inshore fishing for red fish in Venice, Louisiana is spectacular year round, as the Louisiana coast is abundant in this feisty game fish. We’ll help you along the way on your chartered fishing excursion, but if you want to read up on helpful tips before your trip, check out this great article from Sports Fishing Magazine.