Red Drum (Sciaenops ocellatus)

redfish, red rum, puppy drum, channel bass, delaware surf fishing
Henry Busby with a 20 inch redfish he caught in the surf.

Red Drum (Sciaenops ocellatus)

Also known as  … Channel Bass, Redfish, Puppy Drum, Spottail Bass

Description ..

Red drum have a copper to bronze coloring on the back that fades to a white belly.  They may be more silverish in clearer waters.  Ocellated spots are usually present on the tails.   The Caudal fin (tail) is slightly curved or shaped like a crescent.  The pectoral fins are rounded.  They have an underslung jaw and large scales.  They have a more traditional fish shape or stream lined body compared to a black drum.  They can average up to 80 pounds but generally fall in the 20 pound range.  When they reach twenty seven inches or more they are referred to as “bull reds”.  Three year old drum usually weigh six to eight pounds.  Adults mature by 3 to 5 years.  Males reach 28 inches at maturity and females reach 33 inches at maturity.  

Red Drum, puppy drum
Red Drum

In Delaware these just started coming back in recent years in the smaller sizes.  they can be caught on clam and cut baits.  They are also known to hit some lures like AVA jigs with red or green tubes and jig heads with soft plastics.  They are a great tasting fish and the smaller ones that are in our slot limits for Delaware make a great dinner.   Larger of the red drum (bull reds) runs tend to be further south from us at Assateague Island.  Though a few of the larger bull reds have been caught in the surf in Delaware in years past.  We see them here from late August into December. In the summer and fall, adult red drum feed on crabs, shrimp, and mullet; in the spring and winter, adults mostly feed on menhaden, mullet, pinfish, sea robin, lizardfish, spot, Atlantic croaker, and mudminnows.

Season and creel limit in Delaware 2015

Red drum

All year

20 – 27 inches may be retained


drum run, assateague, maryland, bull reds
Dave Moore’s PB 54″ red with a 30″ girth 

















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