Spot tail, puppy drum, bull red, channel bass, or redfish -- call them what you will, these trophy fish are making waves in the Gulf of Mexico and along the southern Atlantic coast. Named for their copper-colored bodies, the redfish also have one or more black spots just before their tail fin. Redfish are considered a warm-temperature and tropical saltwater fish regardless of habitat because of their jaw structure, thereby placing them in the same category as stingray and catfish. [source: Fish4Fun, McQueen, Smith]
Edible up to about 15 pounds, redfish flesh becomes strong tasting and coarse at heavier weights. The trophy fish can weigh up to 90 pounds and be greater than 36 inches long. [source: Fish4Fun]
At one point, the redfish was a threatened species because of aggressive commercial fishing operations. Declared a "restricted species" in 1989, the fish, which can live up to 45 or 50 years, have made a comeback. [source: Florida Outdoors] Various states have both prohibited commercial fishing and imposed strictures on game fishing. For example, anglers in Virginia are limited to a maximum of three redfish per day in the 18- to 26-inch class. And both North Carolina and Florida authorize only one 18- to 27-inch redfish per day.
Although redfish aren't considered fussy eaters, they are easiest to catch with cut bait. Sail along to the next section to find out more.