How fast does a red grow?

I have been catching a TON of 14 inch reds. If they just grow an inch a year, we will be knee deep in legal fish next year. I checked the DNR site and they had very little about why we are seeing so many fish just under the 15 inch line. Could this be a sign we are over or under fishing the species? What gives?


This will have your answer.

Yes, there are a lot of reds that size this year. Good sign. They are all the same year-class of a successful spawning season.

1966 13' Boston Whaler "Flatty"
2018 Sportsman Masters 207 #predatorsstriketheeye
14s will be 16s in about 2 to 3 months, though sometimes growth slows when its a cold winter. About 2.5 to 3 years to clear slot and about a year for 14 inchers. They only stay in slot for about a year to year and a half. Some can clear 40inches in about 3 years. If you catch over and undersize fish you fish a area with fishing pressure because the slots are kept. Also the bigger fish in pressured areas get wise so are harder to catch. Redfish usually school in the same size class and most of the time i find the schools in separate areas. Those little reds will be close to where you caught them till spring.
from Fig. 8 in the above: "on average, a 14 inch red drum is about 14 months old. R1, R2, and R3 are ages of red drum when they have deposited 1, 2, or 3 rings on their
earbones and/or scales. A fish that just formed one ring is 16 inches long, with 2 rings about 24 inches long, and with 3 rings about 29 inches long."

the red drum spawning season occurs here in late summer/early fall when the water has just started to cool, and lasts for as long as it can till it drops below 75ish. we assign a birthdate of Sept 1 to each year class, meaning the fish just getting to the slot now were born without access to a vaccine and could only dine in open air settings. how far we've come, eh?
slot fish are supposed to be 1.5 to 2.5's because the first fish begin to mature around age 3 and most are mature by 5.
Thanks for the solid information Optiker and BWang!

There's a lot of misinformation out there.

"Another poon dream splintered on the rocks of reality." --Peepod 07-25-2017