Smaller fish feed in schools near shallow grassbeds and oyster beds on tide changes, especially in the early morning or late evening. Commonly feeds in schools and packs in and near the surf, around shallow reefs, and in bays and inlets. Large reds often hide behind pillings in channels, poping out to pounce on any edible tidbit. Feeds on molluscs (squid, clams, mussels, oysters), crabs, shrimp, and minnows (menhaden, herrings, anchovies, mullet, pinfish, croakers), even as large fish. Will chase schools of baitfish into shallow water, and also often can be seen 'tailing' in shallow water when it pokes its nose into the sand in search of food.
A Good Side Note
Very omnivourous and popluar for sport and table, its popularity almost brought this species to extinction. After extremely tight management and some stocking, as well as net bans in some areas, the population has again recovered to healthy levels. Commonly stocked in Texas and Florida in a marine hatchery program. The red will take a wide variety of flies, lures, and baits, but can be both very picky and very aggressive. A common surf fisher's target from Maryland to Florida and around the Gulf to Texas. It is also caught off piers and bridges, in the flats of bays, bayous, near oysterbeds and grass flats, in deep channels in passes and bays. Good flies include clousers, streamers, and poppers; lures such as plugs, poppers, twitchbaits, and spoons are effective; baits such as live shrimp, fresh squid, clams, crabs, mullet, croakers, and pinfish are effective either freelined or fished near the bottom. Watch the tide changes for prime actions.
Common Name: Red Drum
Other Common Names: Redfish, puppy Drum, drum, Channel Bass
Scientific name: Sciaenops ocellatus
Family: Sciaenidae (Drums)
Related Species: Black Drum, Atlantic Croaker, Southern Kingfish