Red drum have a moderate flavor and are not oily. In the early 1980s, the chef Paul Prudhomme made his dish of Cajun-style blackened redfish (red drum) popular. When catches of redfish declined in the 1980s many believed that it was being commercially over-fished because of its recent popularity. However, redfish numbers started declining in the late 1970s, possibly because of over-fishing of young redfish in shallow coastal waters by recreational fishermen. On March 1, 2009 redfish was the “secret ingredient” on the television program Iron Chef America, with competitors Mourad Lahlou and Cat Cora both preparing several dishes from the fish. Redfish was named as giving a good result with court-bouillon in a cookbook published in New Orleans in 1901
The red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), also known as channel bass, redfish, spottail bass or simply reds, is a game fish that is found in the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Northern Mexico. It is the only species in the genus Sciaenops. The red drum is a cousin to the black drum (Pogonias cromis), and the two species are often found in close proximity to each other, they can interbreed and form a robust hybrid, and younger fish are often indistinguishable in flavor.The most distinguishing mark on the red drum is one large black spot on the upper part of the tail base. Having multiple spots is not uncommon for this fish but having no spots is extremely rare. As the fish with multiple spots grow older
Scientists believe that the black spot near their tail helps fool predators into attacking the red drum’s tail instead of their head, allowing the red drum to escape. The red drum uses its senses of sight and touch and its down turned mouth, to locate forage on the bottom through vacuuming or biting the bottom. On the top and middle of the water column, it uses changes in the light that might look like food. In the summer and fall, adult red drum feed on crabs, shrimp, and sand dollars, in the spring and winter, adults primarily feed on menhaden, mullet, pinfish, sea robin, lizardfish, spot, Atlantic croaker, and flounder.