Redfish Fishing: Everything You Need to Know

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Fishing for redfish is a popular pastime activity since redfish fishing is one of the most commonly sought sport. Here’s what you need to know about it.

What Is Redfish?

Redfish is a kind of fish with a copper-colored body and one or more black spots near their tail fin. Redfish in Florida is simply known as reds. They’re also known as red drum, spot tail, bull red, or channel bass.

Redfish is large, weighing up to 90 pounds and having an average of 36 inches length. Redfish are a warm-temperature, tropical saltwater fish. However, they can be found in any season. They travel in large schools to breed, especially in murky waters.

Fishing for redfish is very common as this fish species is probably the most popular inshore fish in the southeast. In Florida redfish is one of the most highly sought-after sport fish.

What Does Redfish Eat?

Redfish eat finger mullet, shrimp, or crab in the waters of the flats. This fish is a bottom-feeder that relies on their sense of smell, sound, and sight to find their prey.

Redfish Fishing Regulations

These are the regulations about fishing for redfish in Florida and other regions.

  • Minimum size limit: Not less than 18” and no more than 27” in total length. Applies in Northeast, Northwest, and South Zones.
  • Daily bag limit: 2 fish per person per day, 8 fish vessel limits (Northeast and Northwest Zones); 1 fish per person per day, 8 fish vessel limits (South Zone).
  • Gear requirements
    • Legal gear for Redfish fishing: you can use cast nets, hook, and line.
    • Illegal gear to be used: use multiple hooks with natural bait, spearing, gigging, snatching.

How to Catch Redfish Tips

Anyone who is familiar with Florida redfish fishing knows that red fishing Florida, or any location basically, can be challenging. But you can also catch redfish successfully if you know the right spot and techniques. Here are some tips on catching redfish.

Fish the Tides

Redfish tend to move a lot within estuaries and lagoons. In grassy flats, they usually follow the tides to seek for crabs, shrimp, and fish. Get ready in shallow water about two hours before high tide to find a large number of redfish.

Understand the Seasons

Redfish can be found in any season of the year. However, where you can find them depends on the season, the temperature, and the time of the day. So, keep it in mind when you are going redfish fishing in Louisiana or anywhere else.

In the summer when the days are hotter, you’ll find them in the shallower waters in the early morning. But as the day warms, they’ll move deeper for cooler temperatures. it’s the opposite in winter, as you’ll find them in shallow waters in the afternoon and deeper for the rest of the day.

How about spring and summer? In the spring, you can find them pretty much anywhere. Whereas during fall, they’ll be spawning near the inlets.

Use Proper Equipment

This is quite self-explanatory. However, it’s very important to use the proper equipment when fishing for reds in Texas. If you are looking for bull redfish in an area with heavy current and a lot of structures, your equipment has to be extra sturdy. On the other hand, a very heavy leader may not be very useful especially in shallow waters, since redfish don’t have a very rough mouth.

Your fishing tackle depends on whether you are fishing for redfish or “bull” redfish. A bull redfish is over 27 inches in length, so naturally, you’ll need a heavier tackle.

For the average redfish, you are good with a 6-to-16-pound test line and a 20-pound leader. But for bull redfish, it’s better to use a 20-to-30-pound line and a 40-pound leader.

Use a Circle Hook

Circle hooks are very effective for red fishing Texas since redfish put up a lot of fights. When the fish bites and tries to run, the circle hook will keep them in place.

Use a Spinning Tackle

Spinning tackle can be handy for redfish fishing in Texas. They are easy to use and can be used for any situation, whether for live baiting, deep water, or reaching other places where redfish in Texas can be found such as under docks or mangroves.

If you need additional leverage to reach redfish from docks or mangroves however, a bait-casting setup may be useful. It will give you a more accurate cast and extra power.

Fly Fishing for Redfish

Fly fishing is great if you are doing shallow water redfish fishing. it’s advisable to use a heavier rod, around 8-to-10-pound weight, to catch them.

Find Redfish Fishing Spot

Choosing the best place to catch redfish in Texas or anywhere else is important. Redfish are mostly inshore, but they can also be found along the beaches and even offshore. Their location depends on the time of the day and the season. For example, if you are fishing for redfish in Florida, redfish prefer to stay within the Indian River Lagoon all their lives.

A good place to look for while redfish fishing in Florida is in mullet schools. Redfish eat them so they’re usually found around or even in mullet schools. So, if you see mullet jumping in and out of the water, chances are you’ll find your catch there.

Look Out for Tails

Redfish are mostly bottom-feeders. When they are in shallow waters, you can see their large, dark-spotted tails sticking out of the water. When you see them, throw live bait on the bottom right away!

Go Near Structures

Redfish can be easily found in areas with a good structure in the water. It provides a consistent food source from shrimp, crabs, and baitfish since they hang around the structure a lot. At the same time, it also gives them protection from dolphins and other predators. Structures where you can easily find redfish include shallow grass flats, docks, rocks, jetties, oyster bars, and mangrove roots.

Go to Shallow Waters

This fish species is huge, but they do love shallow waters. Redfish prey on crabs, shrimp, and fish found in the shallower waters. They also move to shallow waters in the early morning and evening during summer, and on midday during winter.

7 Great Redfish Fishing Locations

From Louisiana, Florida to Texas, here are some of the best redfish fishing spots.

Venice, Louisiana

Venice is a popular Louisiana red fishing spot. The jetties of Southwest Pass are perfect for finding bull reds. The marshes have clear waters where you can find redfish all year round. Other great places are the Wagon Wheel, Venice Marina, Bay Coquette, and Yellow Cotton Bay. Expect murky water, so get your popping corks ready.

Hopedale, Louisiana

Biloxi Marsh, which consists of bays, ponds, and bayous, is a perfect place to find redfish. You’ll find a lot of aggressive reds here, so a wide array of lures work. Most of them are on the larger side too. You’ll also find many other fishes here. Mostly, light-tackle anglers come to this Louisiana redfish heaven.

Cocodrie, Louisiana

Louisiana red fishing is incomplete without Cocodrie. It’s less popular than Venice and Hopedale, but here you’ll find many lakes, bayous, and channels that house plenty of magnificent redfish. The best area is along the outer shorelines of Caillou and Terrebonne bays. You’ll also find bulls in Dernieres, Raccoon, Whiskey, and Timbalier.

Port O’Connor, Texas

Port O’Connor boasts grass flats and oyster reefs full of shrimps, crabs, and baitfish that redfish feast on. You’ll find redfish all year-round, and there is always the seasonal influx coming to and from the Gulf of Mexico. It’s one of the best spots to find redfish in Texas.

For this area, the best setup is drifting baits or lures over shell bottom. Alternatively, blind casting around structures works as well.

Keep in mind the redfish limit in Texas of three redfish per day, with a length range of 20-28 inches. You can keep one redfish larger than 28 inches if you affix it to a completed Red Drum Tag from your fishing inches, and add one more if you use a completed Bonus Red Drum Tag.

Galveston, Texas

Galveston Bay, as well as East, West, and Trinity Bays nearby, are full of structures. From oyster reefs to dock pilings, redfish swarm those structures to find prey or protect themselves. That’s why many anglers flock to this area during redfish season Texas. According to local anglers, the best setups are jigs with strip baits, aromatic soft plastics, or live shrimps.

Mayport, Florida

Late summer and fall are the best time for red fishing Florida at Mayport Inlet and the ship channel. The inlet and its jetty hold many large bull reds, but you’ll also find the slot-sized ones in St. Johns River and the surrounding grassy marshes and mud coves. Not only that, but the ship channel also attracts spawners in large schools, usually behind bottom structures such as pipes and boulders.

This is one of the best places to find redfish in Florida. The best way to find bulls is to go bottom fishing using blue crab as bait. Also, use a spread of 4-6 baits to get multiple catches quickly.

Mosquito Lagoon, Florida

This is where you can find some of the largest catches ever. But you’ll also find plenty of fish within the slot limit. Mosquito Lagoon has grass flats, coves, troughs, and oyster bars which makes it perfect for red fishing in Florida.

Soft plastics and weedless spoons are the setups that work best. However, topwater baits are effective too in the early morning and late afternoon. Ladyfish and large live shrimps are the best baits to use.

Good Bait for Redfish is Cut Bait

Redfish mostly rely on their sight to hunt but have a powerful sense of smell. In murky waters, cut bait or aromatic bait can work better than a live fish because they’d rely on their smell.

Conversely, a live mullet on the bottom works better in clearer water such as in lagoons or on the beaches.

One of the redfish’s most favorite food is crabs, especially blue crabs or fiddler crabs. So, use them for bait while fishing during the redfish season.

In the first few years of their lives, redfish feed on crabs. Mature redfish eat crabs, fish, and shrimp. You can easily find live shrimp from a bait shop. it’s one of the best live baits for catching redfish.

Alternatively, you may find other baits such as mullet, ladyfish, sardines, pinfish, or small crabs on the water. Redfish love crabs, so they make the best baits.

Lures for Redfish Fishing

Artificial lures can also be effective to catch redfish. For shallow waters, a top-water plug is great, while a weighted shrimp or fish-mimicking jig and spoons work well in both shallow and deep water.

Redfish Fishing using Gold Spoons

Somehow, gold spoons work better than silver spoons for redfish, though the latter also works. Spoons are useful in deeper or murkier waters while doing redfish fishing Texas.

Rapala Saltwater Skitter Walk

One of the best lures for redfish fishing Louisiana or in other places is Rapala Saltwater Skitter Walk. It is a classic lure that is made with large internal rattles and also the weighted tail. This lure is recommended for any anglers who want to catch redfish in the topwater.

Shimano’s Suspending Waxwing Lure

For all of you who want to catch the redfish, it is important to know the redfish Florida season. It is recommended for all of you to come to Florida in late summer. It is the best time when you can meet more species of fish and not only redfish. When you come to Florida, you better carry this second lure. You can choose to use Shimano Suspending Waxwing Lure.

It is recommended lure to use because it is made as a slow-sinking lure. It offers a zigzag and also walk-to-dog action when it is used below the water surface. The size of this lure is 2.7 to inches. It is recommended as the best artificial baits for redfish and other types of big fish.

The Sebile Splasher Lure

Finding more information before you go fishing is important. You need to know about the redfish limit so you will not waste your energy and your time. When you are looking for another effective lure to use for fishing redfish, you can use the Sebile Splasher.

It is the best design of lure that offered to you. This lure is recommended because it offers you a slower walking action. This lure has 3 ½ inches size to 6 inches size. You can use it as the smallest lure too. How much money do you need to pay this lure? You can pay this lure after you pay $15.49.

The MirrOlure 17 MR-18 Lure

For all of you who want to go for red fishing Louisiana, you better prepare this lure. It is the best wide flash lure. It is recommended for all of you to get the best big redfish and also other types of fish such as snook, tarpon and also trout. The price of this lure is affordable and it becomes the common reason why so many people need to buy this bait or lure.

You can get the best design lure too when you use this lure for fishing your redfish. This lure is common as suspending jerk bait to buy. Choosing the right lure is not the only thing that you must do. You need to attach bits of chicken, hotdogs, raw bacon, fish, and also corn to your hook. For all of you who want to catch catfish, you can use smelly foods too. It will attract them to come to you.

Best Redfish Fishing Rigs

To catch redfish, you have to use the right rigs.

Popping Cork

Popping corks are effective to catch redfish using live bait. They work well with live shrimp or minnows, which reds feed on. You also need to adjust your leader length according to the depth of the water, since reds are bottom feeders.

This rig works especially well when the water temperature is colder and redfish move more slowly. The chugging sound the cork makes attracts their attention. Redfish also love the smell of shrimps, as they frequently use the sense of smell to hunt their prey.

Jig Head

This simple setup can get you a lot of catches. Tie a jig head directly to your leader and hook a live shrimp or a mud minnow. An effective setup is spinning or plug casting using a braided line, plus a graphite rod for extra sensitivity and power transmission.

After casting out, let it drift to the bottom and sit there. Wait for a few moments, then lift and retrieve it. If you go around oyster beds, the hook will snag, but don’t worry about it because it can still work.

Fish Finder Rig

The fish finder rig works well in challenging conditions. It can attract redfish even in areas with minimal structure or cover. It’s also great for surf fishing when you face big waves and high winds.

The heavy pyramid sinker of the rig can resist the waves. Meanwhile, your bait will be bouncing up and down and your line will move freely. The redfish will take the bait but not feel the pressure of the rod. At the same time, the fish is directly connected to your rod through the line. This setup works best with live bait.

What is the Best Time to Fish for Redfish?

One reason redfish fishing in Louisiana is very popular is that this species can be found all year long. However, different seasons have their own pros and cons.

Spring

As the waters are warming up in springtime, redfish are becoming more active. This season is one of the most fun. During this season, redfish could be found in many places, from grass flats, rivers, and even on the beaches.

Flats or expansive grass prairie can be an excellent place to find redfish because they will be coming to shallow waters as the temperature increases. But they can also be found upriver and in many estuaries where they feed on blue crabs or small fishes, especially during hotter days. On beaches, they can be found near the inlets except during fall when they breed.

Summer

Late spring and summer is the best time for red fishing in Louisiana. During this time, you’ll see Venice Louisiana fishing resorts being crowded by fishing enthusiasts. Many fish and crabs breed in spring. As a result, large schools of redfish can be found feeding on these newly hatched fish and crabs during summertime. So, using live baits is the best for summer fishing.

Redfish move throughout the day due to the high temperature. The time of the day you pick will determine the suitable location.

In the early morning, you can find them in the shallow flats. The best time for flat fishing in summer is at sunrise, where the water temperature is not very hot and the fish can be found in the shallow waters.  Soft bait lures or flies can be effective for this.

By afternoon they’d move to cooler, deeper waters, where you are better off using spoons and deeper lures. You can find them in backwater lakes, deep basins, or channels.

Fall

Fall is the best season to catch bull redfish because this is when redfish spawn. So, you’ll find a lot of big redfish gathering in one spot. A downside is that usually there is much wind and rain, making the water not very clear, so avoid flies. Live baits, cut natural baits such as mullets, scented soft baits, or spoons would be more effective.

Large adult redfish usually spawn near ocean inlets and jetties. If you are fishing for reds in Florida, in the northeast, bull redfish may be found as far as 30 miles offshore. On the other hand, if you are around the Indian River Lagoon, you won’t find them so far even throughout the year.

The beach is the best place to catch bull redfish especially during the fall mullet run, when mullets migrate southward to find warmer waters. But you can still find redfish in shallow flats or mangroves in the early morning.

In fall, redfish can be found swimming in and out of the grassy patches in flats. While if you are looking for them in the inlets, you can find them near the jetties or at the edge of the channels. Be prepared to catch a lot because there are many of them!

Winter

During this season, much of redfish’ preys have migrated offshore to deeper waters. So, you’ll find redfish constantly on the move to keep their metabolism high.

In winter, redfish mostly eat small blue crabs, stone crabs, fiddler crabs, and a few fishes. you’ll be successful in your catch if you use them as baits and flies.

Redfish can be found in deeper channels and basins in the morning and evenings. They also travel farther upstream. On middays and warmer winter days, they can be found in shallow waters, looking for crab and fish.

If you are fishing for redfish in winter, focus on the bottom and middle water column where there is a thermocline. A thermocline is a line where a layer of colder, denser water will be below a warmer water layer. Redfish could be found in the warmer layer.

During winter, look for redfish in the deeper channels and basins in the morning and evening. They could be found in the shallow flats in the afternoon.

Redfish Fishing In Louisiana

Louisiana is also a great destination for fishing especially to fish for redfish. With natural scenery and cool air makes it a suitable spot for fishing. Many anglers think that Louisiana provides a pleasant fishing experience with many interesting and challenging fishing spots especially for fishing for redfish in Louisiana.

Many fishing spots for redfish in Louisiana include Handerson Lake which is the most interesting spot to get this fish, then there is Caddo Lake, Lake D’Arbonne, Calcasieu lake that offers a lot of redfish with attractive natural scenery, Toledo Bend Reservoir which has amazing natural conditions and many exciting fishing destinations to give the best red fishing in Louisiana.

How to catch redfish is almost the same as in other areas. To be able to catch redfish, anglers must choose the right time to get the best fishing in Louisiana. The right time to catch a redfish will provide a greater chance to be able to get a large redfish. In general, the best time for red fishing in Louisiana is a cool time starting from the morning when the sun is not too hot to heat the waters and the afternoon when the water has begun to cool, especially in deeper spots. Bait to catch redfish can use fake bait.

Using weedless spoons is one of the right fishing choices for fishing. However, using natural bait will be more effective to be able to catch redfish. Natural bait such as live shrimp and mullet is a common bait to be given. If you are lucky, anglers can also get big redfish. Also, the redfish in Louisiana are limited by daily limit 5 and the minimum size is 16 inches and the maximum length is 27 inches.

Fishing For Redfish In Texas

Texas is visited by many anglers because it has a good fishing spot. Fishing redfish in Texas is also a popular activity. There are many best places to catch redfish in Texas starting from Matagorda Island, Laguna Madre harbor, Sabine Pass, West Bay, North Padre Island, and many more places that store many of big redfish. The limit on redfish in Texas is limited to only 3 for the daily limit.

Furthermore, the recommended legal size for redfish in Texas is the minimum length is 20 inches and the maximum length is 28 inches. How to catch redfish in Texas also uses artificial and live bait. But live bait is the right choice. The best redfish fishing bait that is given is usually the shrimp which is the main bait, then also uses crab both crab whole and crab that has been cut in several parts and the last is to use mullet which is a natural food from redfish.

Redfish are known to eat greedily, so the bait will be caught faster. The experience of fishing for reds in Texas is pretty challenging.

For maximum fishing for redfish in Texas, of course, requires the right time. Redfish are the best saltwater fishing in Texas that are hunted by anglers. To be able to catch it requires the right time. Waves play an important role in being able to catch redfish. Morning and afternoon time is the best time to catch redfish in Texas. At this time the water is so calm with a friendly wave that makes it the perfect time for redfish to appear. The many fishing locations and a good atmosphere for fishing make it the best red fishing in Texas.

Redfish Fishing in Florida

Florida redfish fishing also provides an amazing experience for anglers with beautiful and enchanting waters. Florida provides redfish with good quality redfish. Therefore, redfish are sought after in the waters of Florida by many anglers from various regions. The size of redfish caught in Florida has an average size of 11 pounds. Redfish are also widely spread in Florida waters.

For regulations on fishing for redfish in Florida, it is only limited to once, and for the size of redfish that is allowed is a fish that is at least 8 inches in length and with a maximum length of 27 inches. One of the most used locations for fishing in Florida is Mosquito Lagoon, where many redfish are up to 27 inches in size. This place is also known to have a redfish population that is unique so that the chance to get redfish is even greater for anglers. Besides, anglers can choose the right time to fish for redfish so that more leverage. Like most occurrences of redfish, the best time to catch redfish in Florida is when the sun is not so hot when the waters turn cooler between mornings or afternoons.

At this time the possibility of getting redfish will be greater. especially for big redfish. Fishing for reds in Florida can use natural bait which is more preferred by redfish. Providing shrimp and crab bait can attract the attention of redfish.

Fishing for redfish in Florida will be more interested in their natural bait in nature. Lures used include crabs, shrimps, marine worms, and even snails.

Catch redfish with natural bait will be more profitable to be able to get redfish more easily. Redfish prefer to prey on natural bait per their natural habitat. But using fake bait is also reliable. Fake bait can also attract redfish easily followed by the right method and the appropriate time for the appearance of redfish. Anglers may fish redfish throughout the year but still pay attention to the right time, especially in certain months.

That’s all you need to know about redfish and how to find them. Fishing for redfish can be a challenging but exciting activity, so good luck with redfish fishing!