If you wonder how to catch a redfish, don’t worry, you are in the right place. From WeFish we are going to explain some basic considerations when fishing redfish: characteristics of the species, where to find it, techniques to catch it, tricks and tips… Read it and run to cast the rod!
Also, so that you can show how much you have learned after reading this post (or how much you already knew), at the end of this post you have a quiz about redfish fishing.
Characteristics of the Redfish
Redfish (Sciaenops ocellatus), also known as Red Drum, is a fish desired by many anglers. At first glance, one of the most distinctive features of this fish is the eyespot it has near the tail. In terms of their weight and dimensions, redfish measure approximately from 11 to 24 inches depending on their age and can weigh up to 22 pounds usually. The largest ones are called Bull Red. The record for the heaviest redfish ever caught is 94 pounds… Amazing!
Curiosity: Why the name ‘Red Drum’? Because the male ones make a knocking or drumming sound during spawning by vibrating their swim bladders
What do they feed on?
In summer and fall, adult redfish feed on shrimp, crabs, and mullet. In winter and spring, adults primarily feed on mullet, pinfish, sea robin, lizardfish, Atlantic croaker, and marine worms among others. This species is always looking for food, regardless of the conditions of the environment in which it is, they adapt themselves to every situation.
Where to find it?
This species is found in the Atlantic Ocean, specifically in the eastern parts of the United States and in the Gulf of Mexico. One of the best things about fishing for redfish is you can find them anywhere. It prefers shallow waters (1-4 feet deep) along the edges of bays with submerged vegetation such as seagrasses. When targeting redfish, it’s smart to focus your time on areas with good structure in the water. You can find them at rocky outcroppings including, piers, bridges, and manmade structures, but you can also catch them near the beach, at oyster bars, and at the sand bottom. During the fall, especially during stormy weather, these species go to the bays or to surf zone near passes. It’s interesting to know that redfish can be found also in tidal creeks and rivers, ergo they can live in freshwater too.
Fishing for Redfish: How to catch it?
Fishing for Redfish is so popular among anglers because this fish will hit on most kinds of bait, both natural and artificial. For this reason, it becomes a highly wanted species in the world of sport fishing.
And we are not surprised with this, if not, watch this incredible video of a massive school of redfish in Virginia with over 10,000 fish. He threw a huge topwater lure in the school of redfish and it took less than three seconds for a massive redfish to eat the lure. They caught redfish well over 50lbs… Incredible! Also, the fish were released safely.
When to catch it?
Late summer into early fall is when Redfish start showing regularly around jetties, increasing in numbers through fall and early winter during annual spawning runs. That’s the best time of year to catch the biggest ones, but fortunately, redfish are available all year long, especially in the Florida area.
Which type of fishing is best suited to catch Red Drum?
There are different types of fishing when catching the desire Redfish. Surf fishing for red drum is popular on the East coast but saltwater flyfishing is increasing in popularity too, especially when fishing in flats. Fishing from a boat with a strong trolling motor is effective too. The modality will depend on the area where you want to catch Redfish: on the flood tide, on the grass flats, along the beaches, over mud bottom, at passes, etc.
You can use artificial lures but the use of live bait seems a very good option. We have already talked about what this fish eats, they’ll most often be eating whatever is in the area they’re in at that particular moment. So the best way to determine which bait is best is to simply use whatever bait is most prevalent in the area you’re fishing at that particular time.
Fishing equipment when catching redfish:
- The best natural baits are mullet, live shrimp, Atlantic croaker, mud minnows, ladyfish, and small live blue crabs.
- As for artificial lures, some fishermen believe the size of redfish lures and their presentation is more important than lure color. Even so, the favorites are 1/2 and 1/4 ounce shallow-running spoons. Also fish-shaped plugs, both floating and shallow-running, shrimplike plastic worms and jigs are are effective baits and lures. Expect explosive strikes on lures such as poppers when redfish are at the surface.
- Rods more than 10 feet in length and stiff enough to handle a heavy terminal tackle. For smaller fish (less than 10 pounds), the best rod to use should is 6 1/2 to 8 feet long, with a medium action, and with a two-handed grip to help the anglers in long-distance casting. If it’s flyfishing, use a heavier rod such as an 8-to-10 pound weight so that you can use heavier fluorocarbon sinking lines and leaders to get the flies down to the fish.
- Reels should be large enough to handle several hundred yards of 25-40 pound test line and reels should have a good drag system. For smaller catches, reels should be able to hold at least 100 yards of line. Spinning or baitcasting reels are always a good option.
- Line strength will vary depending on what type of habitat is being fished. Heavier line (17-25 pounds) is needed when fishing around oysters shells, rocks, or pilings. Lighter line (8-15 pounds) is favored when fishing the grass flats.
- Leaders are optional, depending on line weight and where the fishing occurs.
- A heavy grabbing sinker is needed to keep baits stationary on the surf bottom.
Tips for catching Redfish:
Catching redfish may seem complicated but with this guide and some tips, you will become a great redfish angler.
- Spend time on the water looking for new hot spots, and prevents pressuring prime redfish places you already know.
- They move fast, and it takes a good eye and quick reactions to stay ahead of the fish for a cast.
- If you’re looking for a live bait choice, use what’s in the water you’re fishing, so Redfish will be already accustomed to eating it.
- When using artificial baits, try to imitate the prey the redfish are targeting with the lures you choose.
- These species inhabit clear and turbid waters, you will need to adapt to the conditions. You should either find a good vantage point from which you can spot the fish, or test your luck by blind casting for it.
Fishing for Redfish in Florida
Fortunately, you can find this fish around all Florida coasts. They are early everywhere on the Gulf Coast and along the upper half of the East Coast, especially in the fall. The Indian River Lagoon system, which includes the Mosquito Lagoon, is the only place where redfish live their entire lives inshore. Another freshwater spot recommendation for fishing redfish is Banana River. The majority of redfish in central Florida are caught while “flats fishing” which is a general term for fishing in shallow water.
Regarding Florida regulations for fishing for this species: Throughout the state of Florida, the slot limit is not less than 18 “no more than 27” total length, and the daily bag limit is 1 fish per person per day. Except in Northeast Zone (Flagler through Nassau counties) where the daily bag limit is 2 fish per person per day. In addition, all state waters from the Hernando/Pasco county line through Gordon Pass in Collier County are catch-and-release only through May 31, 2021.
Some illegal gear is Spearing (includes spearfishing, gigging, and bowfishing) and/or use of multiple hooks in conjunction with live or dead natural bait is prohibited.
Do you know everything about fishing for Redfish?
So far the guide about fishing for Redfish. We hope it will be useful for you to catch this wonderful fish in your future fishing journeys and so you can share the catch with all the WeFish community.
Stay tuned! Soon we will post new guides about different species and fishing modalities. Until then, enjoy using the best fishing app.