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Red drum

By TERRY TOMALIN, Times Outdoors Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 5, 2000


A favorite target of flats fishermen, red drum are common on the flats, but occasionally an angler might get lucky and tie into one of the big breeders offshore.

A legal redfish (18 to 27 inches long) found inshore is not old enough to spawn. When a redfish exceeds the legal slot limit, it begins to approach sexual maturity.

By the time it reaches 32 to 35 inches, it will move offshore and out of the reach of most recreational fishermen. These large fish will remain in deep water for the rest of their lives, which can last 25 to 30 years.

Most anglers never see these big bruisers, but every now and then, the reds will school up and put on a show. In recent years, more and more Suncoast anglers have been finding these tackle busters on the artificial reefs and wrecks off Pinellas County.

As a result of sound fishery management, red drum have gone from a species on the verge of collapse to one of the state's premiere sportfish in less than a decade.

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