Red Drum (Sciaenops ocellatus)
One of Florida’s most popular sport fish to catch. The Red Drum is also known as Redfish and has an elongated body, blunt nose with a reddish copper tint, white bottom and a prominent ringed spot on the base of the tail. The color has plenty of variations depending on the water they inhabit. In muddy brackish water, the color is a darker copper color while those found in sand bottoms are usually a lighter pink color. During the early years of their life Redfish grow very rapidly but once they reach 5 years old their growth rate tends to slow significantly. Their name comes from the drumming sound these fish produce when you pull them out of the water. The sound they produce is produced by muscles that rub against their inflated air bladder. They live for a long time, the oldest Redfish caught in Florida was 40 years old. Redfish in Florida have been caught with lengths of 45 inches weighing up to 51 pounds. The world record for the largest red drum caught in Florida was 52 pounds, 5 ounces. Redfish are great eating fish that have a mild, sweet flavor with a medium-firm texture similar to a red snapper. The larger fish over 25 inches are not so good to eat because there flesh is tougher and more prone to having worms. Other common names for the Red Drum are Redfish, Red, Red Bass, Chanel Bass, and Spot-tail bass.
How to catch Red Drum in Miami
If you’re looking to catch Redfish in Florida heading to the Mangroves is a good place to start. The hardest part of fishing for Redfish is actually finding the fish. When you hook a Redfish be prepared for a bullish run across the flats. When fishing for red drum you can use a fluorocarbon leader with a circle hook and a live mullet. Free-lining live shrimp is another technique that works well in shallow water. Sometimes redfish will eat cut bait such as finger mullet sitting on the bottom. Fishing with Whole, half or quartered crabs on the bottom can also be effective. If you’re going to use a lure its crucial to work the jig with lots of twitches and hops to get the redfish to bite. Making the lures seem like real baitfish can make the difference between landing a big red and going home empty-handed. Working lures over oyster bars and sand bottom is a great way to catch Red Drum. They are known for their strength and stamina. They can be caught using various fishing techniques such as drifting, still fishing and casting. Nothing replaces experience so booking a fishing charter in Miami with an experienced captain who specializes in catching redfish and knows were to find them and also knows their habits.
Where to fish for Red Drum
Redfish can be found along the entire Florida coast in both shallow and deep water. The larger fish are usually found offshore and the smaller ones are found int he shallows over sandy bottoms, bays, estuaries and also in seagrass beds. The smaller red drum stays in the shallow water for up to four years and then usually move to nearshore or open ocean waters when they become adults. Sight fishing the estuaries, shell bars, and grassy shorelines are one of the most effective ways to find Red Drum. In the winter time, they roam into coastal rivers and creeks looking for warmer water. Adults can also be found sometimes in schools offshore when there spawning. Isolated rock piles near a jetty is another great place to find these marvelous creatures.
Best time of the year for Miami Red Drum fishing
Before the sun rises is a good time to fish for Red Drum. The best time of the year to fish for Red Drum in Miami is from September to December when the colder temperatures bring the bigger fish into the shallow waters. Red Drum spawn from August which causes them to be more abundant. Bull reds are also present in inshore waters during this time of the year.
The best bait to catch Red Drum
As with many fish species live bait works best for catching Redfish in Florida. They eat a variety of live bait including crabs, killifish, shrimp, pinfish, croakers, menhaden, finger mullet, and small sardines. Using a popper or a float with a live shrimp is will almost always land you a big Red. Although live bait always works best many Red Drum have been caught using top-water plugs, spoons, paddle-tail jigs, shrimp lures, soft swimbaits, and swimming plugs. Yellow or green and pink lures work best if your fishing with artificial lures. You can also use dead bait such as cut up mullet, croaker, or pinfish. Egret baits make an ultra-realistic shrimp made with super strong nylon that is woven through the body making them ultra durable and lifelike.
Florida Red Drum fishing regulations
The minimum size limit for Red drum in Florida is 18 inches and the maximum size is 27 inches. The bag limit for Florida Red drum is 1 per person with a limit of 8 per vessel. They can be fished using hook and line as well as with a cast net. It is illegal to catch them using gigging, bowfishing and while spearfishing. Multiple hooks on your line with live or even dead bait are also illegal. Bag limits also apply when fishing from docks, bridges and parking lots. There is a 6 fish per person transport limit when traveling in a vehicle on land away from any fishing site and they must remain in whole condition until landed ashore. If you catch a redfish in federal waters you must release it. Commercial harvest is also prohibited in the state of Florida. A current Florida saltwater fishing license is required to fish for all types of saltwater species in Florida. You can obtain a license from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission by going online, calling or going to a bait and tackle shop. Florida residents who are fishing from shore, bridges or piers can get a recreational saltwater shoreline fishing license, which is free of charge.