Florida Red Drum Tag Returns

This article provides recent statewide information, including the locations of release and the number of captures by anglers, regarding tagged and hatchery-reared red drum.

Young angler holding tagged red drum
A young angler holds an externally tagged hatchery red drum.

Summary of Red Drum Tag-Returns by Anglers
Hatchery red drum that have grown to a length of 7 inches or more may be marked with a variety of externally visible streamer tags. These tags can be seen protruding from the back near the dorsal fin or the belly behind the left pectoral fin. External tags allow recreational anglers to identify a hatchery red drum. Each tag has a unique fish identification number and a toll-free Tag Return Hotline phone number imprinted on the streamer. The belly streamer tag has a flat base plate that anchors the tag through the body wall and is imprinted with the same information as the streamer. Anglers capturing tagged red drum can report tag information to stock enhancement scientists. The table below shows the number of externally marked fish, the locations of release, and the number of captures reported by anglers.

RELEASE AND CAPTURE INFORMATION FOR HATCHERY RED DRUM
(longer than 7 inches at release)
Current through 12/23/04

Location of Release

Release Number

Caught and Reported

Percent Caught

Biscayne Bay

183,291

766

0.42%

North Indian River Lagoon

5,817

970

16.68%

St. Lucie (South IRL)

5,542

587

10.59%

Volusia County

16,283

546

3.35%

Tampa Bay

26,090

192

0.74%

Hatchery Red Drum Records
The largest hatchery-produced red drum caught by an angler was 45 inches long. It was only 7 inches long when released. The hatchery red drum record for the longest time in the wild before being caught is 2,183 days (approximately 6 years). The greatest distance traveled by a hatchery fish after release is 220 miles. This fish was released in Card Sound (south of Biscayne Bay) and reported caught by the Eau Gallie Causeway in Brevard County.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission stock enhancement scientists give a special thanks to all the anglers who have assisted in our effort to replenish Florida red drum stocks.



FWC Facts:
Otoliths, commonly known as "ear stones," are hard, bone-like structures located directly behind the brain of bony fishes. These structures aid fish in balance and hearing.

Learn More at AskFWC