Fishing for Redfish: the definitive guide | WeFish | Your fishing app

Fishing for Redfish: the definitive guide

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!

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Characteristics of the Redfish

Redfish (Sciaenops ocellatus), also known as Red Drum, is a 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 its weight and dimensions, redfish measure approximately from 11 to 24 inches depending on its age and and can weigh up to 22 pounds usually. 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?

At summer and fall, adult redfish feed on shrimp, crabs and mullet. At 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 prefer prefer shallow waters (1-4 feet deep) along the edges of bays with submerged vegetation such as seagrasses. You can find them at rocky outcroppings including, piers, bridges and manmade structures, but you can also catch it near the beach, at oyster bars and at sand bottom. During the fall, especially during stormy weather, this 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 fresh water too.

Fishing for redfish fisherwoman
Redfish caught by a fisherwoman from WeFish

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.

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 during all year long, especially in the Florida area.

Which fishing modality is best suited to catch Red Drum?

Surfcasting is one of the most common but saltwater flyfishing for is increasing in popularity, specially 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.

Fishing for redfish by surfcasting
Red Drum caught at the beach by WeFish user: Cody Steele

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 believes the size of redfish lures and their presentation are 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 oyster shell, 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.
how to catch red drum
Kayakfishing for a redfish

Tips for catching Redfish:

Catching redfish may seem complicate but with this guide and some tips you will become a great redfish angler.

  1. Spend time on the water looking for new hot spots, and prevents pressuring prime redfish places you already know.
  2. They move fast, and it takes a good eye and quick reactions to stay ahead of the fish for a cast.
  3. 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.
  4. When using artificial baits, try to imitate the prey the redfish are targeting with the lures you choose.
  5. This 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: Conclusion

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 WeFish community.

Stay tuned! Soon we will post new guides about different species and fishing modalities. Until then, enjoy using the best fishing app.

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