In order to catch red drum successfully, it is important to understand their preferences, behavior, and other information. Red drum are specialized feeders with a variety of feeding patterns.
Juvenile red drum, known as puppy drum, feed on small fish, crabs, shrimp, and other invertebrates. As they grow in size, their primary food sources tend to increase in size. Adult red drum are known to feed on blue crabs, shrimp, and a wide range of fish species.
Occasionally, anglers are able to observe red drum behavior on the water. By watching reds feed, anglers can develop fishing strategies that best suit the current conditions.
Perhaps the best known red drum behavior is a phenomenon called "tailing" in which individual fish orient themselves on an angle to feed on the bottom. In calm conditions, the tails of red drum can be seen protruding from the water. Tailing drum sometimes remain in a small area for several minutes, allowing anglers opportunities to sight cast with lures or baits.
Another known behavior of red drum is their habit of cruising shorelines during early morning and late afternoon. In some areas, small to medium sized reds can be seen within a yard or less of the shoreline.
During late morning thru mid day, drum tend to move into slightly deeper water. At times, their locations may be indicated by small fish jumping out of the water.
Each of these feeding patterns may call for specific baits, lures, and fishing techniques. As with most fisheries, nothing beats experience on the water when targeting red drum.
It important to remember that red drum spook easily in shallow water. Anglers should avoid causing wakes, abrupt boat movements, loud noises, or other actions when fishing for these intelligent fish.
For anglers that have limited time available for fishing, it may be worthwhile to fish with a professional guide or experienced local fishermen for a few trips.