The black drum (Pogonias cromis), also known as the drum or drummer, is a saltwater fish similar to its cousin, the red drum. It is in the genus Pogonias. Though most specimens are generally found in the 5-30 lb (2–14 kg) range, the black drum is well known as the largest of all the drum family with some specimens reaching excesses of 90 lb (40 kg). The world record black drum was just over 113 lb (51 kg). They are often black and/or gray in color with juvenile fish having distinctive dark stripes over a gray body. Their teeth are rounded and they have powerful jaws capable of crushing oysters and other shellfish.
The black drum is usually found in or near brackish waters. Larger, older fish are more commonly found in the saltier areas of an estuary (closer to the ocean) near oyster beds or other plentiful food sources. Juvenile fish have four to five bold vertical black bars on a light background and can be mistaken for sheepshead at first glance, but are distinguished on closer inspection because sheepshead have teeth and black drum have chin barbels. These stripes usually fade to dull gray as the fish grow from 12 to 24 inches (30 to 61 cm) in length. Juvenile fish are more commonly found in less salty areas and relate more strongly to structure and cover. In the western Atlantic, black drum are found from Nova Scotia to Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, the Antilles (uncommon), and the southern Caribbean coast; also from the Orinoco delta to Argentina. They are common between the Delaware Bay and Florida coasts, and most abundant along the Texas coast. After reaching maturity by the end of their second year, black drum spawn in and around estuarine waters. In Texas, most spawning takes place in February and March.