Southern Slam Outfitters has created a 5 part series dedicated to fishing for the Florida redfish. Undoubtedly one of the most commonly sought after gamefish for inshore fisherman in the state, the redfish never ceases to disappoint.
In this series you will see:
This series is written by a Southern Slam Outfitters contributing writer who has extensive knowledge of the Florida inshore fishery. We admit that in the case of fishing information (for any species) that there are a thousand and one methodologies to be found. We chose information for this series that will effectively work for you, anywhere in the state.
Common Names for Red Drum
While most Florida angler's simply call them "Red's", redfish are correctly named "Red Drum". There are a few other types of "drum" in Florida. These include Black Drum and Sheephead. The reason these species are given the "drum" attribute is because they each make a "drumming" noise when mating or sometimes when taken out of the water. Scientifically speaking their latin name is "Sciaenops ocellatus". Other common names include: "channel bass", "spottail", and "red bass". All of these variations are rooted mainly in local terminology or though different generations of Florida fisherman.
Redfish in many southeast U.S. fisheries were over fished for several decades. This not only caused dwindling numbers, but it also called for state agencies to take measures in order to protect the species. In Florida specifically, the redfish fishery was considered to be in dire straights into the 1980's. The state instituted emergency closures and new fishing regulations designed to help the redfish populations recover. Thankfully, the FWC has considered these redfish conservation efforts here in our state an absolute success. Populations have rebounded, the fishery is very active, and anglers can still bring them home who wish to do so (within state regulations and guidelines).
Florida Redfish Regulations
As mentioned in the previous segment, there are some Florida redfish regulations and rules to take into account. These rules were established in 1989 and have been the driving force behind the success of this species recovery in the state. These guidelines are (as of 3/17/2017):
Bag Limits Vary By Location:
Note on boat max limits:
These maximums are regardless of the fact that the boat may be holding more anglers. What I mean, for example - though you are allowed 2 per angler in the Northeast Zone, if you had a boat with 5 people on it, you cannot hold 10 redfish on that boat, it stops at 8.
(Image courtesy of the FWC)
Redfish Florida State and IGFA World Records
The Florida record for redfish has held strong since 1996. This is a 52 lb 5 oz redfish caught near Cocoa, Florida.
Some of the IGFA World Records for Redfish:
All Tackle - 94 lb 2 oz
The all tackle world record was caught by David Deuel out of Hatteras, North Carolina in 1984.
Men’s 3 kg (6 lb) Tippet Class on Fly - 41lbs
The men's 6lb tippet world record was caught by Jim Seegraves out of Houma, Louisiana in 2004.
Women’s 6 kg (12 lb) Tippet Class on Fly - 40lbs
The women's 12lb tippet class world record was caught by Dotty Ballantyne out of Venice, Louisiana in 2014.
Men’s 8 kg (16 lb) Tippet Class on Fly - 43 lb
The men's 16lb tippet world record was caught by Dr. Greg Braunstein in Banana River Lagoon, Florida in 1995.
Men’s 2 kg (4 lb) Line Class - 52 lb 5 oz
The men's 4lb line class world record was caught by George Hogan out of Indian River Lagoon, Florida in 1996.
Women’s 3 kg (6 lb) Line Class - 44lbs
The women's 6lb line class world record was caught by Maureen Klause in Ocracoke, North Carolina in 2008.
Men’s 3 kg (6 lb) Line Class - 51 lb 8 oz
The men's 6lb line class world record was caught by Raleigh Werking in Oriental, North Carolina in 1999.
Women’s 6 kg (12 lb) Line Class - 51 lb 8 oz
The womens 12lb line class world record was caught by Joan S. Dull in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina in 1958.
Men’s 15 kg (30 lb) Line Class - 90lbs
The mens 30lb line class world record was caught by Elvin Hooper out of Rodanthe, North Carolina in 1973.
(IGFA Record data courtesy of Sport Fishing Mag)
Up Next: Part 2 Finding Redfish
We hope you enjoyed this intro to Florida redfish, and stay tuned for the release of Part 2 Finding Redfish. This will outline methodologies for locating Red's in the various conditions found on Florida's multiple coasts.
Homosassa, Florida is home to excellent redfishing. Southern Slam Outfitters is your premiere Homosassa guide service. Whether a half day or a multi day stay on our private island, the redfish charters here with Captain Carey Gibson are second to none. Give him a call or email today!