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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

 

Species

 

Description

 

Identification

 

 

 

 

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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