Red drum

Sciaenops ocellatus

Family Sciaenidae - drums

Distinguishing
Characteristics
Body elongate; color reddish or orangish; 1 or more black spots at base of caudal fin, sometimes with more spots on upper sides; mouth subterminal (slightly on underside) and large, extends past eye; 5 pores on chin, no barbels; dorsal fin with deep notch; tail truncate (nearly vertical straight edge) in adults; lateral line extends onto caudal fin.
Similar Species
No other drum has the large black spots on the caudal peduncle and back; black drum have barbels on their chin.
Habitat
Gulf and bay, sand or mud bottoms, abundant in the surf zone
Maximum Size
155 cm (5 ft), common to 100 cm 3 1/3 ft)
Fin Element Counts
D. XI,24; A. II,8 (explain)
Other Common Names
redfish
Previous Scientific Names
Comments
One of the most popular recreational fish in Texas; it is illegal to sell red drum commercially unless farm-raised; can tolerate freshwater, stocked in some Texas lakes, grows to larger sizes in freshwater but cannot spawn there.
State size/bag limits
Minimum size is 20 in., maximum size is 28 in.; bag limit is 3; in addition to the bag limit, 1 red drum over the maximum limit may be retained when properly affixed with a Red Drum Tag and 1 red drum over the maximum limit may be retained when properly affixed with a Bonus Red Drum Tag; Check for state record.