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Redfish Fishing

Redfish FishingRedfish is a saltwater game fish. Juvenile redfish are known to inhabit marshes, inlets, creeks and rivers along the Gulf of Mexico up to the East Coast’s Atlantic Ocean. Redfish particularly prefer to live where there are oyster beds and weed beds. As they reach maturity after 3 to 4 years, redfish migrate offshore to spawn.  By this time the average length of a redfish is about 30 inches.

Redfish have blunt nose and a barbell-less chin under a wide undercut mouth.  They are naturally copper red or bronze in color when in dark water and tend to be light-colored when in clear water.  Catch and release is the norm for redfish but for those who fish for the meat redfish should be at least 14 inches long. Regulations vary from one state to another so it is best to check local rules.

Redfish are also called in some parts of North America as red drum. They are also known as red bass or channel bass as during the autumn migration they are found in deeper channels that lead out to the open seas.

fishing1Catching Redfish

Most anglers agree that landing a redfish is a “piece of cake”. All one has to do is drop a bait along the edge of a channel inlet and wait for a tug.  Wait for the redfish to take the bait before you start reeling.

The smaller “juveniles” prefer shallow water along the gulf coast and eastern seaboard of the United States. They thrive in salty marshes, creeks and rivers. Smaller redfish are easier to catch as they tend to travel in school that when you catch one more will follow.

In the winter, redfish migrate offshore. In the summer they go back to inlets where there is plenty food. In the fall, they prefer to stay in the mouth of deeper channels that lead out to the open ocean. The fall redfish are the biggest ones to catch and may well be the easiest ones to catch.

Redfish are not picky. They eat live baits such as minnows, shrimp and mullets.  Lures and plugs are also effective – floaters or deep divers work well.  Inshore, look for creeks and estuaries that have a lot of minnows or oyster bars and where water flows freely in and out of the body of water.

fishing1Tackle and Gear for Redfish Fishing

When fishing for redfish in the open ocean or near the mouths of channel a heavy and sturdy rod with a minimum 30-pound test line is recommended. A lighter tackle would do but an angler will most likely be in for a long fight that without an anchor marker the fish is likely to spool the reel. Where would that lead? – a redfish gallivanting with a hundred or two yards of fishing line.  There is a need to reel in redfish and get them in the boat quickly.

Sinkers (8 to 16 ounces) are advisable as deeper channels have strong current. It is best to use circle hook to prevent redfish from swallowing the hook. Most anglers agree on an 80-pound -test, five feet long monofilament leader attached to a 9/0 circle hook.

For inland fishing a spinning rod or jerkbait with a 10 to 20 pound-test and using 1/0 to 4/0 hooks will do.

fishing1Where to Find Redfish

There is great redfish fishing along the Texas Gulf Coast.  Some of the best spots for redfish fishing in the area are:  Aransas Bay; California Hole; Copano Bay; Estes Flats and Redfish Bay in Rockport, Texas. Along the eastern coast of Florida are some of the best inlets for redfish fishing.  The fish species is actually found in coastal lagoons in the state. The Florida record for redfish is 51 pounds.

Mosquito Lagoon in Northern Brevard County has a huge population of redfish.  In the Northern Indian Lagoon are creeks like Banana Creek, Dummit Cove, and Carbide Flats that are popular redfish fishing ground.

Finding redfish is not difficult. Inland marshes and coastal waters in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean are populated with redfish all year round.