Drum, Red (Redfish)
The red drum, or redfish, has an elongated body with a sub-terminal mouth and a blunt nose. The tail is squared on adults and rounded on juveniles. Unlike the black drum, the redfish lacks chin barbels. Its coloring is coppery red to bronze on the back and silvery white on the sides and belly. The fish is distinguished by a single black dot at the base of the tail. "Drum” references the sound the fish makes when striking an internal muscle against the fish’s swim bladder. This noise is assumed to be associated with locating and attracting other fish for the purposes of mating.
Fishing can be red hot in the Florida Everglades backcountry and on the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana. Anglers pursue these beautiful game fish in a manner similar to flats fishing for bonefish and permit, although redfish prefer muddier bottoms, deeper water and more underwater structure. Any outfit designed for medium to large-sized bonefish will be well suited to chasing redfish, which run larger than bonefish but don’t fight quite as hard or run quite as far or fast.
The redfish starts out its life in rivers and estuaries, then becomes oceanic as it approaches maturity. Redfish are found on sand, mud and grass bottoms in inlets, shallow bays, tidal passes, bayous and estuaries.
Redfish are found in the western Atlantic from the Gulf of Maine to the Florida Keys, although they are rarely found north of Maryland. They can also be found along the Gulf Coast to northern Mexico.