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Red Drum Bag Limit Increase in Northern Florida

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After 20 years of strict red drum management rules, recreational anglers along Florida’s northern coast will soon reap the reward.

In November 2011, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission amended the rule for red drum by increasing the bag limit in northern parts of Florida from Escambia through Pasco Counties and Nassau through Flagler Counties, a move that will increase fishing opportunities for recreational anglers in Florida.

Harvesters in the northern counties listed can harvest two red drum per day starting February 1, 2012. Before the rule change, recreational harvesters could only take one fish. In southern Florida counties, the bag limit remains at one red drum.

The bag limit was increased for the northern parts of Florida because the red drum population in these areas is healthy and thriving. As a popular species to catch and eat, the red drum stocks are monitored regularly by scientists at the Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg. The red drum population in Florida has been increasing since the early 1990s, when strict regulations were established in an effort to reverse its declining population.

Fishermen in Florida can be proud of the red drum fishery. The bag limit increase will allow anglers to enjoy the fish that was managed for 20 years to grow to what it is today.


Know your Florida Fish











Red Drum

Sciaenops ocellatus


Most often bronze or reddish with white belly;
occasionally silvery all over


Generally one or more spots at base of tail,
but occasionally have none


May reach 60 lbs.


  • Narrow body
  • Rounded pectoral fins






Black Drum

Pogonias cromis




Blackish on sides with lighter belly


Juveniles have vertical black bars on sides


No spots


May exceed 100 lbs.


  • Barbels on chin
  • Deep body
  • Pointed pectoral fins
  • All fins are blackish




Gulf Kingfish

Menticirrhus littoralis


Southern Kingfish

Menticirrhus americanus




Silvery gray sides fading to whitish belly


One barbel on chin


Average 1–2 lbs.


*Note: both are commonly referred to as whiting



Edge of tail is black


Dark markings on sides

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