Redfish Fishing Basics


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Habitat

Redfish are found primarily inshore.  They can be found near bridges, piers, jetties, near docks, in the surf, in bays and in tidal creeks.  Redfish will be found inshore year-round, which is one of the reasons why they are so popular among anglers.


How to Catch Redfish

You can catch redfish many different ways.  Redfish can be found in so many different places inshore, but the tides usually dictate when and how they feed.  In the shallows, a high tide will help position redfish along the shorelines, on the flats, near the mangroves and other types of shallow cover.  Most anglers will target redfish on the flats, where you can often sight fish for them.  During low tides, redfish will move off of the flats and into the deeper water nearby.  The cuts and channels will provide some of the best fishing opportunities during a low tide.  If you are fishing deeper water near a bridge, pier, pass or in the bay, you have a better chance of finding some of the bigger bull redfish (redfish that are over 27 inches).  Redfish can be caught on shrimp, crabs and many different types of bait fish.  Live baits and cut baits work well for redfish.


Recommended Tackle

The tackle you are going to need for redfish can vary greatly.  If you are on a school of eater-sized fish on the flats, you can get along with some lighter tackle.  Medium rods and reels with 14 pound line and a 20 pound fluorocarbon leader will get the job done.  However, when you are fishing for bigger redfish, you can easily need 20 to 30 pound line and maybe even heavier depending on if you are fishing areas that have plenty of snags.  Medium heavy to heavy action rods are recommended for handling some of the bigger redfish.  Spinning gear and baitcasters will work for redfish.


Eating Redfish

Redfish taste excellent.  The smaller fish have a reputation for tasting better than the bigger redfish.  After filleting the fish, it is common to eat redfish blackened, barbecued and fried.


How the Tides Affect Redfish

The tides can greatly affect where and how redfish will be feeding on any given day.  Inshore, the tides play a huge role.  With a falling tide, you may find some tailing redfish feeding on a flat.  That same flat might not even have water on it at the bottom of the low tide.  Understanding the tides and how it helps to position bait fish and then the redfish is key to catching more redfish inshore.

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How the Time of Day Affects Redfish

The time of day can definitely affect the redfish bite.  The morning and evening will usually provide better fishing opportunities, however, the bite can also be very good during the middle of the day during the tidal changes.

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How the Time of Year Affects Redfish

The time of year can definitely affect the fishing.  There will always be some redfish inshore throughout the seasons.  The fishing can be more difficult during the colder weather during the winter months, but from spring through fall, you can find redfish feeding somewhere.

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Inshore Fishing for Redfish

Redfish are found inshore year-round.  There are times when the bigger bull redfish will move offshore, however, there will always be some redfish that live in the inshore waters throughout the seasons.  We have a lot of good information on many of the areas that will provide better fishing for redfish when you’re looking for them in the inshore waters.

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Pier Fishing for Redfish

If you don’t have access to a boat, the piers may be your best chance to catch a trophy redfish.  The piers tend to offer better fishing during a tidal change.  Combine a tidal change with lowlight conditions during the morning or evening and you should have a better chance to catch some redfish off of the piers.  Depending on how crowded the piers are, you may not be able to cast lures up and down the pier.  Fishing with shrimp, live bait fish or cut bait on the bottom is how most anglers catch redfish from the piers.


Surf Fishing for Redfish

Redfish can be caught from the surf, although, it is much more common to target redfish in the bays, on the flats or back in the creeks.  If you are planning on fishing for redfish in the surf, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of catching some fish.  Tidal changes provide better fishing and most anglers would agree that an incoming tide is better than an outgoing tide for surf fishing.  Lowlight conditions combined with a tidal change will also help to improve the fishing.  The cuts and troughs usually hold most of the fish along the surf and this is definitely the case for redfish.  Live baits, cut baits and artificial lures will all work for redfish along the surf.


Offshore Fishing for Redfish

Redfish are primarily an inshore fish.  Redfish can be found offshore around the reefs and wrecks, but most anglers target these fish inshore.  During the spawn, redfish will move offshore in large schools.  If you can find these schools of redfish offshore, you can experience some excellent fishing, especially for the big bull redfish.


Spawning Redfish

Redfish typically spawn from late summer through fall.  Big bull redfish can be found in large schools in the passes, in the lagoons and offshore on the reefs and wrecks.  In shallow water, you can sight fish for these large schools of redfish.  Around the passes, you may be fishing anywhere from 15 to 30 feet deep and if you time it right, you could catch 20 or more big redfish in one day.  Most anglers don’t target redfish offshore, but you can also find big schools of redfish on the reefs and wrecks.


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