Red drum can be found all over in the water column, but mainly are spotted patrolling around in shallow grass flats and oyster beds where they root around like aquatic vacuum cleaners hunting by both sight and touch for crabs, shrimp and smaller fish. Red drums are gluttonous feeders, and these bruisers regularly take their meals at the surface. Mullet, pinfish and menhaden are also popular live bait choices for reds. For those anglers who prefer fishing with artificial lures, top water skitter walkers, twitch baits, jerk baits and assorted popping corks all make excellent options.
Red drum tend to inhabit shallow waters making kayaks, sups and smaller individual fishing vessels incredibly popular among inshore sport anglers targeting Red Drum. Larger gas powered skiffs and flats boats also allow fishermen to get to where these bruisers feed, and throughout the Gulf Coast, chartered trips are widely available that aim to put you in the middle of the action.
Most areas in Florida allow recreational anglers to keep one fish per day between 18-28 inches. The average Red Fish in this size range weighs on average 5-8 pounds, and easily makes a gourmet seafood dinner for a family of four. Red Fish are so delicious, that during the 1980’s restaurant demand led to overfishing and brought redfish nearly to extinction in the Gulf. Thankfully though, strict rules on sizes and limits were introduced, and these favorites of sport fishers and dinner plates have rebounded nicely. If you fish anywhere in the Southeastern United States or East Coast, you are missing out if you aren’t after the reds.