Redfish

Useful information and tips

Redfish, or Red Drum if you wish, are one of my top five tastiest fish. They can be anywhere from a deep blackish to a more coppery color, and can even be nearly silver. Though the most common color is reddish-bronze. Whichever color they start it always fades as it travels down their body ending in a white belly. The most recognizable characteristic is their eyespot near the tail. Most scientists believe that the spot helps fool predators into attacking their tail instead of their head, allowing them to escape.

Preferring water that is 1 to 4 feet deep, they can be found in a variety of habitats, but generally prefer some vegetation and a soft muddy bottom. Oyster reefs and cuts, breaks in the shoreline, and other significant breaks in the surrounding structures are other excellent places to find them.

They have a somewhat downward turned mouth positioned at the bottom of their head. This helps them push up food from the bottom. While most of their food comes from this method, they are not limited to finding it this way. They can be stealthy hunters, hanging out in the deep cuts that lead back into tidal lakes and grass salt flats waiting for the tides to change. Lying in wait for shrimp, crabs and small bait fish to be carried in and out of the grasses and shallow areas by the moving water. Another tactic, mostly used by larger redfish, is to work through cuts or across flats to push bait fish up to the edge of the shore where the bait runs out of water. It’s not unusual to see redfish so shallow that their tails and backs stick out of the water.

Known as “tailing”, this is one of the best ways to visually find redfish. Another is for angler’s to cruise along shallow waters looking for schools of baitfish that are swirling and jumping. If you find a group of large mullet try casting into the wake of the school. Redfish will often follow them to feed off of the things they stir up.

Man holding large fish that he caught

Being fairly opportunistic feeders, both live and dead baits are effective in catching redfish. Most of the tips and techniques I’ve talked about in past posts for fishing with live bait work perfectly with Redfish. Rig the bait to allow it to maintain as natural a presentation as possible. Once you get the bait in the water make sure to twitch the rod every 15 to 20 seconds or so to keep the bait lively.

There are numerous artificial baits and rigs that work wonderfully against reds. Gold spoons are great in cuts, potholes and just above or through the grass as they easily resemble bait fish with the light bouncing off their sides and the vibrations they cause. Soft plastics like paddle tails, jerk baits, and tout tails can be very effective rigged Carolina style with a small egg weight above a small swivel and 12” to 18” of leader or rigged weedless with a small bullet weight. One of the most common riggings is simply hooking them on a lead jig head, cast out and reeled in above grass lines and letting the jig drop into holes or cuts. However, few things are as exciting as watching a red explode up from the bottom after a twitching top water lure.

The daily bag limit for reds is three per day. Minimum length of 20 inches and a maximum of 28 inches. One red over the max length can be kept as long as you attach a properly filled out Red Drum Tag and one other can be kept with a completed Bonus Red Drum Tag. Any fish brought in with either of these tags on them do not count against your daily limit.

Have fun out there and remember, make every trip a guided trip with MyFinFinder.

-Woody