Species Identification

Drums are a family of fish that contains many different species throughout the world. This page will deal primarily with the ocean-going black drum and the freshwater drum.


Black Drum: Body oblong, moderately compressed, back much elevated; ventral outline nearly straight; head moderately short, snout blunt; mouth horizontal, inferior, lower jaw included. Live adults are silvery or blackish with a brassy luster, and the fins have a black or dusky color. Coloration may change with habitat and age.

Freshwater Drum: Except for color, freshwater drum resemble the red drum. They are silvery in color but do not have the distinctive tail fin spot of red drum.

Maximum Size

Black Drum: IGFA World Record catch of 113 pounds 1 oz (51.28 kg).

Freshwater Drum: 55 pounds (25 kg).

Geographic Range

freshwater drum
Freshwater Drum

Black Drum: Throughout much of the western Atlantic Ocean, from Nova Scotia south through to the Caribbean, and even in pockets as far south as Argentina.

Freshwater Drum:As far north as Hudson Bay and southward to Central America. In the United States, the freshwater drum can be found in many States in between the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains.


Black Drum: Mollusks, shrimp, and aquatic vegetation.

Freshwater Drum: small fish, crayfish, and aquatic insects.


Black Drum: They spawn in or near passes into the Gulf of Mexico and in open bays and estuaries. Spawning season varies by region.

Freshwater Drum: Freshwater drum may spawn in April or May, in open water.

Information courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

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