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REDFISH

Family Sciaenidae, DRUMS Sciaenops ocellatus

Description: chin without barbels; copper bronze body, lighter shade in clear waters; one to many spots at base of tail (rarely no spots); mouth horizontal and opening downward; scales large.

Similar Fish: black drum, Pogonias cromis.

Where found: juveniles are an INSHORE fish, migrating out of the estuaries at about 30 inches (4 years) and joining the spawning population OFFSHORE.

Size: one of 27 inches weighs about 8 pounds.  Florida Record: 51 lbs., 8 ozs.

Remarks: Red drum are an INSHORE species until they attain roughly 30 inches, then they migrate to join the NEARSHORE population; spawning occurs from August to November in NEAR-SHORE waters; feeds on crustaceans, fish and mollusks; longevity to 20 years or more.

SPOTTED SEATROUT

Family Sciaenidae, DRUMS Cynoscion nebulosus

Description: dark gray or green above, with sky blue tinges shading to silvery and white below; numerous distinct round black spots on back, extending to the dorsal fins and tail; black margin on posterior of tail; no barbels; no scales on the soft dorsal fin; one or two prominent canine teeth usually present at tip of upper jaw.

Similar Fish: other seatrouts.

Where found: INSHORE and/or NEARSHORE over grass, sand and sandy bottoms; move into slow-moving or still, deep waters in cold weather.

Size: common to 4 pounds on west coast, larger on east coast.  Florida Record: 15 lbs., 6 ozs.

Remarks: Trout matures during first or second year and spawns INSHORE from March through November; often in association with seagrass beds; lives mainly in estuaries and moves only short distances; adults feed mainly on shrimp and small fish; prefers water temperatures between 58 and 81 degrees F; longevity 8 to 10 years.

SHEEPSHEAD

Family Sparidae, PORGIES Archosargus probatocephalus

Description: basic silvery color; with 5 or 6 distinct vertical black bands on sides, not always the same on both sides; prominent teeth, including incisors, molars, and rounded grinders; no barbels on lower jaw; strong and sharp spines on dorsal and anal fins.

Similar Fish: black drum, Pogonias cromis; Atlantic spadefish, Chaetodipterus (black drum have barbels on lower jaw, sheepshead do not; vertical barring on sides of black drum and spadefish disappear as fish mature; spadefish have small, brush-like teeth).

Where found: INSHORE species around oyster bars, seawalls and in tidal creeks; moves NEARSHORE in late winter and early spring for spawning, gathering over debris, artificial reefs and around navigation markers.

Size: INSHORE, 1 to 2 pounds; OFFSHORE, common to 8 pounds.  Florida Record: 12 lbs., 2 ozs.

Remarks: Sheepshead feed on mollusks and crustaceans such as fiddler crabs and barnacles; famed nibblers, prompting the saying that "anglers must strike just before they bite."

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simply call: "Fishing Experiences Of A Lifetime" and ask for Captain Bill Hope!

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(352) 796-5874 or 1-800-779-9968

"Fishing Experiences Of A Lifetime" with Captain Bill Hope is located 2 minutes off
US-19 in Chassahowitzka.  We're less than an hour drive from the Tampa Bay area.
Immediate access to the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge means more time for fishing fun!

We welcome large groups and can make all special arrangements.  Call Today!

Contact Information:
Capt. Bill Hope
"Fishing Experiences Of A Lifetime"
Phone: (352) 796.5874 or 1.800.779.9968
Email: whope001@tampabay.rr.com
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