Like the tarpon, redfish are a pretty common kind of fish to find in Florida waters. In Southern Florida, they can even be caught all throughout the year. The top portion is often red (hence the name) with white at the sides down to the belly. It looks like a black drum except that the redfish has a black spot near its tail.
The red fish also called Red Drum or Red Bass can range from less than a pound up to 12 pounds. In Florida, redfish weigh an average of 4-8 lbs although larger fish that weigh 15 lbs are not hard to come across. The largest redfish ever caught weighed 94 pounds and 2 ounces in Avon, North Carolina. It was caught by David G. Jewell.
Where to Find Redfish
Red fish are abundant in Florida waters especially during the fall when they start spawning. You can find a lot of them at Everglades National Park and they are mostly in schools during spawning season. However, you can also catch one or two red fish alone in shallow waters.
Red fish can tolerate both freshwater and seawater and although they are not as migratory as tarpons, they do go around waters spawning or looking for warmer temperatures. You can find them in estuarine creeks, basins, and flats. They also roam in rivers especially during the winter season when other bodies of water turn cold.
The best lure for catching redfish is live shrimp. You can get this at your local bait shop and they are readily available. Live shrimp proves to be the best especially when redfish are roaming the waters in search for food. However, you can also choose to use crabs for bait when catching redfish. This is because, during their early years, they only eat crabs.
Needed Fishing Gear
- Outfits – 7-9 weight fly outfits is the usual gear for catching red fish
- Leaders – The same leaders used for red fish can also be used in catching snook and small tarpon. The places you can find red fish are also places that are abundant with those fishes. You should use leaders measuring 9-12 feet that are tapered to 10-12 lbs of Seaguar Fluorocarbon.
- Flies – Redfish often fall for any kind of fly pattern whether they are small bonefish style crabs or poppers. You can also consider using weedless fly patterns even if there are reviews that say that it will only prevent hookups to take place. However, using weedless fly patterns are very helpful when you are fishing in shallow habitats.
- Reels – It is important to know that there are two kinds of redfish based on their size. First is the average redfish while the second is the “bull” redfish that goes over 30 inches. When reeling in bull red fish, use a bait-casting reel so you have more advantage over the fish.
Spin and Plug Fishing
- Reels – Spinning reels are fairly easy to use whether you are a novice or an expert. It can also be used in varying waters especially in mangroves and docks where redfish are often found. A rod and reel that is 6-7 feet is a great choice as well as using a 10-lb test mono.
- Add other equipment such as jerk baits, crank baits, jigs, topwater plugs and paddle tails. However, when you also plan on catching tarpons, make use of heavier leader which is 30-40 lbs.