May 16, 2011
"Redfish" (Sciaenops ocellatus)
Exerpts from Vic Dunaway's popular fish identification book "Sport Fish of Florida."
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REDFISH OTHER NAMES: Red Bass, Channel Bass, Drum
REDFISH RANGE: All Florida coasts.
REDFISH HABITAT: Most popular fishing areas are along shell bars and rocky or grassy shorelines and on shallow flats, where they are usually fished by sight. Reds also forage in the surf of outside beaches nearly everywhere on the Gulf Coast and along the upper half of the East Coast, especially in the fall. Adults move offshore to spawn and are sometimes encountered in open water in large schools. They roam into coastal rivers and creeks at any time of year, and in winter swarm into them, seeking warmer water.
REDFISH DESCRIPTION: Usually bronze or reddish with white underside, but sometimes quite pale all over. Prominent ringed spot or several spots at base of tail fin; occasionally, without the spot. Silhouette is similar to black drum and colors can sometimes be confusing in very large fish, but the redfish has no chin barbels and the black drum never has the tail spot.
REDFISH SIZE: Caught from less than a pound to 10 or 12 pounds; 30-pounders are not rare, and the potential in Florida is about 60. World record 94 pounds, 2 ounces; Florida record 51 pounds, 8 ounces.
There is more information on this and other sport fish in "Sport Fish of Florida." This handy book features 231 species, all illustrated in full color. Also included for each fish are detailed ranges, habitats, game quality, food quality and record sizes.
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