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What Is The Difference Between Red Fish And Red Drum?

If you’re into fishing or simply curious about the underwater world, you might have come across terms like “Redfish” and “Red Drum.” You might even wonder if they’re the same or completely different species. Well, let me break it down for you!

The confusion between Redfish and Red Drum often arises because of regional terminology. In some areas, these two terms are used interchangeably, referring to the same fish, scientifically known as Sciaenops ocellatus.

Redfish, also affectionately called “channel bass,” “puppy drum,” or “spot tail bass,” is a versatile species found along the Atlantic coast, stretching from Massachusetts to Florida, as well as in the Gulf of Mexico, from Florida to northern Mexico.

Here’s a quick comparison table:

RedfishRed Drum
NicknamesChannel bass, puppy drum, spot tail bassRedfish, Reds
DistributionAtlantic coast, Massachusetts to FloridaAtlantic coast, Gulf of Mexico
Distinct FeatureCopper-bronze body with black spotsCopper-bronze body
SoundDrumming sound when reeled inDrumming sound for mating
HabitatCoastal waters, sometimes upriverDeepwater, often near oil rigs
Record Catch94 pounds (Avon, NC, 1984)Varies
LifespanUp to 60 yearsVaries

Red Drum aren’t just deep-sea dwellers. They can also be found in places with significant vegetation, like bays and even upriver, especially during the cooler months.

In their early years (the first three), they tend to stick to shallow waters near bay edges before moving to deeper waters for spawning near mouths of passes and shorelines.

As they grow larger and more mature, they venture into deeper waters, often around oil rigs.

Here are a few key points:

  • Habitat: Red Drum primarily inhabit coastal waters and sometimes venture upriver, while they also frequent deeper waters, often near oil rigs.
  • Size: It takes around three years for Red Drum to reach a weight of 6 to 8 pounds, with recorded catches varying in size.
  • Lifespan: They can live for up to 60 years.

Now, let’s talk about their cousin, the Black Drum (Pogonias cromis). Unlike their “red” relatives, Black Drum is characterized by their grey or black color and slightly angled vertical black stripes. They share the ability to create drumming sounds, and interestingly, they are often found in the same areas as Red Drum.

In fact, these two species can interbreed, producing robust hybrids. The world record for the Black Drum stands at an impressive 113 pounds.

So, in a nutshell, these are indeed many names for what might seem like the same fish, but when you dig a bit deeper, you discover two distinct species: the Red Drum and the Black Drum.

It’s a fascinating world under the waves, isn’t it? Happy fishing!

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