45-Inch Red Drum Caught on Cape Cod

Are southern species the new norm?

Cape Cod Red Drum

On May 27, angler Chris Cavanaugh, of Norton, Massachusetts, pulled a trophy-sized red drum – a southern species more commonly associated with Florida and the Gulf States – from the chilly waters of Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. Cavanaugh was fishing from shore near his vacation rental, catching small scup on cut squid, when he ran out of bait and switched to a Berkley Gulp Shrimp. The red drum picked up the Gulp Shrimp and after an epic battle, Cavanaugh measured and released the 45-inch fish, not exactly sure what he had just caught.

Red drum are a rare catch north of New Jersey, but at least two have been reported in New England waters in past 5 years. Some fishery scientists suspect that warming ocean waters could be one reason that red drum are venturing farther north.

Gulp Shrimp
Berkley Gulp Shrimp are a popular bait often used by anglers targeting red drum in southern waters.



31 on “45-Inch Red Drum Caught on Cape Cod

    1. Doug

      Very cool. I worked for the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT a few years back. We collected fish for exhibit from, among other places, Rhode Island. We would get some southern species, including red and black drum, amberjack, banded rudder fish, blue runners, cobra, and stingrays. Not all the time, but these things would show up with some frequency…and close to shore. I always find it exciting.

      1. Hayden

        that could be a factor, but it is more that the fish probably got caught in a current and was brought up the coast. last year on cape, there was a blue runner run, and the had all been brought up here on the gulf stream

      1. jaded_angler

        No, he pulled it out of the water and held it up in the air long enough for its eyes to dry out and start dying. Waste of a fish to “release” it, it ded anyway.

  1. carl vining

    Great for future if water keeps warming. Mahi mahi maybe next. Who knows what fish might come north. Blues never used to come up beyond cape.

    1. derek

      I work at a fish market in new bedford, mass. We have local Mahi Mahi

    2. Ron

      Yeah that’s great and all Carl, but I hear they don’t hold over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. John Hashem

      Carl we have had the Blues show up on the north shore since I was a kid and my parents remembered them too.

  2. Mike

    Nice catch, have U ever eaten one, what is it similar too in taste

    1. Boxca Mcgee

      Similar to striped bass. Ones that size aren’t good to eat. We release the big ones and only eat ones in the 18″-22″ range

  3. Greg

    Awesome !
    Great Catch & Release !
    That’s one for the “Memory Books!

  4. Greasybeaks

    I second marks post – thank you for releasing him or her. We need to be better as a population in terms of C&R. What a cool catch!

  5. Hodgie

    These fish are excellent to eat. However the big ones should be released as this one was. The larger ones are not as good to eat as the Slot fish we take here in FLA 18 to 27 inches. some will say global warming but this is just a really healthy stock of fish. You will see more and more healthy stocks of fish migrating with the available bait…. We are seeing Bonefish and Permit in the Daytona area in the summer and this has been almost unheard of.

  6. Brad L

    It didn’t happen like that. That guy was at that spot fishing for scup in that weather and ran out of squid yet had a gulp shrimp and was able to land that fish and wasn’t able to figure out what kind of fish it was and released it? Who fishes for scup in that weather from that kinda spot also with gear you can land a fish like that? Who has a gulp shrimp on Cape Cod and doesn’t know what a red drum is? Not saying he didn’t catch it, but that’s not the story.

  7. Geoff Mongeon

    Brad L. I’m with you…….It could happen, but something sounds fishy. Just saying………almost sounds as real as sailfish caught in CC canal.

  8. steve

    In 2013 I caught a small redfish off a beach in westport,ma on a seaworm fishing for scup. I’ve gotten a grey trigger fish in that very same spot. Hopefully this becomes a more common occurrence in ma.

  9. Salty

    Brad L and Geof what’s wrong with the guy saying he caught a Red Drum? Fish
    stories are what makes fishermen, fishermen. Lighten up. LOL

  10. J,bass

    Well that jetti and rocks aren’t from FLA or NC ,,he just carried it down there for a pic u guys are jealous is all,,,, gd catch and release aswell people are becoming the worst enemy of fish of all species it’s sad to

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