What is the difference between Red Snapper, Red Drum, and Red Mullet? While these fish can often be confused because they all begin with red, each species lives in a much different fashion. Each has its unique habitat and is sourced by a fisherman in various forms. Fish is a staple in many people’s diets, and each of these is commonly found served on the dinner table. Let’s explore the difference in them all. Whether you are fishing or trying to prepare a meal it is always smart to understand the types of fish that you are dealing with.

Several Types of Redfish and Their Differences

There are three common fish the Red Drum, Red Snapper and Red Mullet that often get confused. Many people don’t even realize they are mixing them up because they are all rather similar. Here are the differences that you need to understand.

Red Mullet

The Red Mullet or Rouget is found in both the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Its size is relatively small; they range between ten and fourteen inches and weigh in at a whopping third to half a pound. 

The coloration is crimson to orange with faint yellow lines from head to tail, large scales, and small barbs under the chin. These fish roam mostly near the shore on rocky and sandy bottoms.

These fish are not caught by rod and reel but rather by gill and trawl nets. They are commercially harvested fish and are not sought after by the recreational fisherman. 

In the Mediterranean, Red Mullet is a delicacy. The smaller sized fish are more appealing to the connoisseur. The fillets are moderately firm, low in fat, high in protein but are mild and tasty. Red Mullet are commonly prepared by deep-frying, pan-frying, or broiling. 

  • Mostly found in North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea
  • Crimson to orange with yellow lines
  • Caught by net

Red Drum

The Red Drum otherwise knows as Channel Bass, or Redfish ranges between Massachusetts and Florida on the Atlantic coast. On the Gulf Coast, Redfish extend from Northern Mexico down through the state of Florida.

Channel Bass are known for their unique characteristics. They have at a minimum one spot near the tail. The spot resembles an eye, so a predator can be tricked into attacking the fish’s back half instead of the head. The coloration is bronze on the top with a nearly white lower half. 

Redfish are one of the most highly sought after recreational fish of the southern Atlantic states and gulf coast. Anglers catch bass by rod and reel in a variety of ways. Reds lurk from shallow creeks to deep wrecks and range from three pounds up to nearly one hundred. 

They are so popular to catch not only for sporting reasons but also for their excellent table fare. Redfish are often coated with blackening seasoning and grilled or panfried. The mild and firm fillets are a favorite amongst anglers of the southern United States.  

  • Mostly found on the Gulf Coast and East Atlantic
  • At least one spot near the tail
  • Bronze color with a white lower half

Red Snapper

The Red Snapper, also commonly called Genuine Red Snapper, Pargo Colorado, or North American Red Snapper, is primarily found between North Carolina and Florida. 

Red Snapper is pretty easy to distinguish from other members of the snapper family. The genuine red is very bright in a reddish, pinkish hue. When the fish becomes larger, the coloration becomes redder. When you look at the eye, it will also be red. 

Similar to the redfish, red snapper is a prized catch and is highly regulated. These snappers primarily lurk in depths of one hundred to two hundred feet. A stout rod and reel are necessary to bring these fish onboard successfully. Red snapper are most often caught between a few pounds to ten pounds but do max out at fifty. 

Fish markets earn top dollar for red snapper fillets. The texture of the fillets is flaky but firm with a nutty flavor. They can be cooked in various ways, including frying, steaming, broiling, and pan frying when topped with the seasoning of your choice. 

  • Found between North Carolina and Florida
  • Very bright reddish
  • Mostly found in the 100-200 foot range

Conclusion- Are all redfish the same? 

The names are so common, but yet each is vastly different. The habitat, taste, size, and fishing method differ drastically. One thing that is certainly similar in each of the three is the color red or closely thereof. Many anglers are going to be able to tell what type of fish they are catching simply by where they are located. When you are fishing in a certain area check to see what the local fish are in that area. Now you are prepared to head out there and catch some fish after all you now know the difference between Red Snapper, Red Drum, and Red Mullet.