Redfish Limits And Regulations (For All States In 2022)
UPDATED 22 FEBRUARY 2023
by Robert Ceran
Are you wondering if you’re allowed to keep the redfish you just caught?
In that case it’s essential to know the redfish size limits and bag limits for your state, since these limits can vary a lot from state to state.
All states where redfish can be caught have their own redfish size limits and bag restrictions, so it’s essential to get up to date information for your state specifically.
In this article we’ve compiled all relevant information on state redfish limits, to help you figure out what regulations apply to you specifically.
Redfish size and bag limits for each state in 2022
|State||Redfish size limit (slot limit)||Daily bag limit of redfish per person (creel limit)||Redfish season||Link to official source|
|Florida||Redfish between 18" and 27" may be harvested|
Northeast zone: 2 redfish per person per day
|Open year round|
|Texas||Redfish between 20" and 28" may be harvested||3 redfish per person per day||Open year round|
|Louisiana||Redfish between 16" and 27" may be harvested (one oversized fish allowed in the daily bag limit)||5 redfish per person per day||Open year round|
|Alabama||Redfish between 16" and 26" may be harvested (one oversized fish allowed in the daily bag limit)||3 redfish per person per day||Open year round|
|Georgia||Redfish between 14" and 23" may be harvested||5 redfish per person per day||Open year round|
|North Carolina||Redfish between 18" and 27" may be harvested||1 redfish per person per day||Open year round|
|South Carolina||Redfish between 15" and 23" may be harvested||2 redfish per person per day||Open year round|
|Mississippi||Redfish between 18" and 30" may be harvested (one oversized fish allowed in the daily bag limit)||3 redfish per person per day||Open year round|
|Virginia||Redfish between 18" and 26" may be harvested||3 redfish per person per day||Open year round|
The table above shows the redfish limits for all US states where red drum can be caught.
Now let’s take a closer look at each state and discuss additional redfish regulations that you need to be aware of.
Redfish limits in Florida
Redfish fishing is very popular in Florida, and due to the strong fishing pressure on redfish, Florida has some of the strictest redfish limits of all states.
- Size limit: Only redfish between 18” and 27” may be kept (applies to all management zones)
- Daily bag limit: 1 per day per person in the Northwest and South zones, and 2 per day per person in the Northeast zone
The Florida coast line is divided into three redfish management zones, which each have different redfish limits. The image below shows the three zones:
The Northwest management zone is shown in blue, the South management zone in orange, and the Northeast management zone in green.
Additional redfish regulations in Florida: in Sarasota waters covering all state waters south of state road 64 in Manatee county including Palma Sola bay through Gordon Pass in Collier county, only catch and release fishing is currently permitted, and all red drum must be released until August 31st, 2022.
Spearing, gigging, and bowfishing for redfish are not allowed in Florida.
When is redfish season in Florida?
Redfish can be harvested by recreational anglers all year round in Florida. However, the prime redfish season is in fall from late August through October (though in some areas, such as the Florida Keys, you can readily catch redfish all year long).
Before you try to catch redfish in Florida, make sure to get a valid Florida fishing license.
Redfish limits in Texas
Similar to Florida, redfish is a very popular game fish in Texas, but the bag limits are slightly more generous.
- Size limit: Only redfish between 20” and 28” may be kept
- Daily bag limit: 3 per day per person
If you want to keep a redfish that’s bigger than 28 inches in Texas, you’re allowed to do so once during a license year, but you’ll also need to get a red drum tag in order to do so.
If you decide to do so, you’ll have to complete the red drum tage and submit it to the state authorities.
When is redfish season in Texas?
You’re allowed to keep redfish all year round in Texas, but the best time to catch red drum is in late summer and early fall, from August through September.
Redfish limits in Louisiana
Louisiana not only offers some of the best redfish fishing on the Gulf Coast, but also has one of the most generous bag limits, allowing you to keep 5 red drum in any one day.
- Size limit: Only redfish between 16” and 27” may be kept
- Daily bag limit: 5 fish per person per day
Louisiana state allows you to keep one redfish over 27” as part of your daily bag, which means you can keep a big bull red for fish taxidermy. However, if you’re planning to eat the red drum you catch, the smaller ones definitely taste better.
When is redfish season in Louisiana?
You’re allowed to catch and keep redfish all year round in Louisiana, and there is no closed season. The peak season is early fall (especially for bull reds, which move into shallow inshore waters at this time).
Redfish limits in Alabama
Similar to Louisiana, Alabama also allows you to keep one oversized red drum as part of your daily bag.
- Size limit: Only redfish between 16” and 26” may be kept
- Daily bag limit: 3 fish per person per day
You also need a valid saltwater fishing license to catch redfish in Alabama.
When is redfish season in Alabama?
Redfish season is open all year round in Alabama, and the best fishing months are in the summer from March through September, with the peak season in September.
Redfish limits in Georgia
Georgia has a very generous bag limit of red drum (similar to Louisiana), and allows you to keep 5 fish per day.
- Size limit: Only redfish between 14” and 23” may be kept
- Daily bag limit: 5 fish per person per day
Make sure to get a valid saltwater fishing license before you target red drum in Georgia.
When is redfish season in Georgia?
You’re allowed to catch and keep redfish all year round in Georgia, but the main season is from April to October (peaking in October).
Redfish limits in North Carolina
North Carolina has one of the strictest redfish bag limits, and only allows you to keep one fish per day.
- Size limit: Only redfish between 18” and 27” may be kept
- Daily bag limit: 1 per day per person
You need a valid North Carolina coastal fishing permit in order to catch redfish.
When is redfish season in North Carolina?
You’re allowed to keep redfish all year round in North Carolina, without a closed season.
But the best fishing is from May to October, with a peak in October (when most redfish move into shallow coastal areas).
Redfish limits in South Carolina
South Carolina has a slightly more generous bag limit than North Carolina, allowing you to keep 2 fish per day per person.
- Size limit: Only redfish between 15” and 23” may be kept
- Daily bag limit: 2 per day per person
While gig fishing (also known as spearing) is allowed for redfish in South Carolina, it is prohibited between December 1st and February 28th.
When is redfish season in South Carolina?
Redfish open season is year round in South Carolina, but the best months for catching them are between May and October, with a peak in early fall.
Redfish limits in Mississippi
Similar to Louisiana and Alabama, the state of Mississippi allows recreational anglers to keep one oversized red drum per day.
- Size limit: Only redfish between 18” and 30” may be kept
- Daily bag limit: 3 per day per person
Make sure you have a valid saltwater fishing license for Mississippi before you fish for redfish.
When is redfish season in Mississippi?
Redfish can be harvested all year round in Mississippi, but the best months are from summer through fall, with the peak months in September through October.
Redfish limits in Virginia
Virginia has a relatively generous catch limit of 3 fish per day per person.
- Size limit: Only redfish between 18” and 26” may be kept
- Daily bag limit of red fish: 3 per day per person
You’ll also need a valid saltwater fishing license for Virginia.
When is redfish season in Virginia?
Open season for redfish is all year round in Virginia, but the best time to catch red drum is from May to August.
How many redfish are you allowed to keep?
The number of redfish you’re allowed to keep depends on the state you’re in. It ranges from 1 redfish per day in North Carolina and most of Florida, to 5 per day in Louisiana and Georgia.
In order to check the number for your state specifically, refer to our table above.
If there’s a chance of catching both redfish and red snappers in your location, it’s important that you can tell them apart, as they come with different limits.
To help you with that, check out our article on how to tell the difference between redfish and red snapper.
What size redfish can you keep?
The size of the redfish that you’re allowed to keep depends on the red drum slot limit in your state. For example, in Florida anglers can keep one red drum that is a slot fish (i.e. longer than 18 inches, and shorter than 27 inches).
That means you have to release redfish that are either smaller or larger than the slot limit in order to stay compliant with your state laws.
In order to make sure that you’ll be able to safely release any redfish that are outside of the length limits, it’s best to set up your redfish rig with circle hooks, since they effectively prevent deep hooking.
Can you keep a redfish over 30 inches?
Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi allow you to keep one redfish over 30 inches in your daily bag.
In addition, Texas allows you to keep one oversized redfish for a whole license year, while all other states have a maximum length limit for redfish that is less than 30 inches.
So if you want to catch a big bull redfish and keep it, you’ll need to go to Alabama, Mississippi, or Louisiana.
Red drum management success
During the 1980s redfish populations were heavily overfished by recreational anglers and trawlers engaged in commercial fishing, resulting in a dramatic population decrease in most areas.
However, after strict limits on redfish were introduced in the late 1980s, the red drum population has rebounded, and red drum are now plentiful in most parts of their range.
Frequently asked questions
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions that we get about redfish fishing limits and fish regulations.
Creel limit vs possession limit – what’s the difference?
A creel limit refers to the number of fish that you’re allowed to keep in one day, while a possession limit also covers the fish you’ve caught on previous days, and that you may be keeping at home in your freezer.
And keep in mind that if you catch other inshore species in your fishery, such as grouper, cobia, speckled trout, wahoo, tuna, or channel bass, this doesn’t count towards your redfish creel limit.
How do you correctly measure a redfish?
In order to measure the length of a redfish correctly, lay it down on its side, and measure the length from the forward most point of its head to the tip of the tail, with the tail squeezed together. Squeezing the tail together adds about an inch to the total length.
What is the difference between total length and fork length?
While total length refers to the length measured from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail, fork length refers to the distance from the tip of the head to the fork of the tail.
When it comes to redfish, all US states use total length as the basis for their red drum slot limits.
Can you keep a redfish caught in federal waters?
No, redfish are completely protected in federal waters, and cannot be harvested there at any time.
This is in contrast to state waters, where redfish can be harvested all year round.
So it’s better to make sure you return any red drum caught in federal waters immediately, and you should also check how far state waters extend from the shoreline.
In most states, state waters extend up to 3 miles from shore, but it’s better to make sure for your state specifically.
Finally, if you’re not sure what bait to use for redfish fishing, check out our article on Redfish feeding habits, to help you match the hatch with your bait.