This important and excellent Florida gamefish has a copper, subtle
rust "red" color along the dorsal half. It's pale or white
along the underside. Fish from clear water, or just in from the open
ocean, can be very silvery, with fins tipped in a subtle blue hue.
No confusion with the Black Drum is possible, since the Black Drum
has chin barbels and the Red Drum is clean shaven.
The scales on the Red Drum are noticeably large. Almost all reds have
a single large, thumbnail-size black dot (called ocelli) on each side
of the tail fin. Often many dots are present; rarely are there no
dots. Old-salt anglers love to tell the myth that the spot on the
tail of the Red Drum (more commonly called redfish in Florida) is
the thumbprint of Christ, showing that the Red Drum is the fish He
chose to feed to the hungry throng, from the famous story of the "Loves
and the Fishes."
Where found: juveniles are an INSHORE fish, migrating out of the estuaries
at about 30 inches (4 years) and joining the spawning population OFFSHORE.
Size: one of 27 inches weighs about 8 pounds.