Redfish, also called red drum or spottail bass, can be found in the inshore waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, where they have become one of the most popular game fish. These beautiful fish generally have a gold to red streamlined body with a distinct black spot on their tail—multiple spots are also not uncommon.
Red drum don’t have an open season in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and the harvest of redfish is strictly prohibited. In state waters, redfish have no closed season and can be harvested year-round within the bag limits set by each state. The best time of year to catch redfish in the Gulf is generally late summer into the fall but will vary depending on your specific location.
In the 1970s and 80s’, red drum were commercially harvested and were not a protected game fish. This ultimately lead to overfishing, resulting in smaller and fewer fish. With the elimination of commercial fishing and the addition of strict bag limits, redfish have been able to recover. Red drum regulations are set by the states. The exact regulations vary from state to state but minimum and maximum size restrictions(slot limits), as well as daily bag limits, are present in every state where redfish are found.
Texas has a variety of places to target redfish, with everything from the busy Galveston Bay, to the pristine waters of the Laguna Madre. With both large fish and a high population of fish, Texas has all of the qualities that make for great red drum fishing. Check out our Texas redfish guides to plan your next fishing trip.
There is no closed season for redfish in Texas, making them open to harvest year-round. The best time of year to catch redfish in Texas is in the fall, but anglers can have success throughout the year.
A redfish must be at least 20” but no more than 28” in length to be legally harvested. The daily bag limit for redfish in Texas is three redfish per person. One redfish over the maximum length can be kept each year with a red drum tag that comes with a fishing license.
Catching huge bull redfish is just one of the many things Louisiana is known for. The sheer volume of brackish water in the marshes and lakes creates endless places to find great red drum fishing spots. If you want to catch a giant redfish, our Louisiana redfish guides have you covered.
There is no closed season for redfish in Louisiana, so they are open to harvest year-round. While the spring may produce more fish, the best time of year to catch big redfish in Louisiana is in the fall.
Redfish must be at least 16” and no more than 27” to be legally harvested in Louisiana. The daily bag limit is 5 fish per person two of which may be allowed to be over the maximum length limit.
The rich bays, rivers, and marshes in Mississippi are full of redfish most of the year. With so many great spots to choose from, our Mississippi redfish guides will keep you on the bite.
Because there is no closed season for redfish in Mississippi, they are open to harvest year-round. The best time of year to catch redfish in Mississippi is in the fall.
Redfish must be between 18” and 30” to be legally harvested in Mississippi. The daily bag limit is 3 fish per person. Recreational anglers can keep one redfish over 30” each year.
Alabama has a year-round redfish bite that is one of the best in the country. The jetties, rivers, and bays always have a strong bite and plenty of bull reds when the migration starts. Check out our Alabama redfish guides to find your next trip.
There is no closed season for redfish in Alabama so they are open to harvest year-round. The best time of year to catch redfish in Alabama is in the fall but fishing opportunities are strong year-round.
Redfish must be between 16” and 26” to be legally retained in Alabama. The daily bag limit is 3 fish per person. One fish of the 3 fish may be kept over the maximum length per day.
Florida has the Atlantic and Gulf coast where top-notch redfish can be caught throughout the year. Florida has incredible fishing across the state and routinely produces some of the biggest red fish each year. Start planning your next fishing trip by checking out our Florida redfish guides.
There is no closed season for redfish in Florida so they are open to harvest year-round. The best time of year to catch redfish in Florida is in the fall, but the bite stays hot year round.
The redfish restrictions vary by location in Florida, so it is important to know where you are fishing and what regulations apply. You can read about the recent 2022 regulation changes in FL here.
For the entire state, redfish must be between 18” and 27” in length to be harvested. The daily bag limits are 2 fish per person or 8 per vessel in the northeast zone and 1 fish per person or 8 fish per vessel in the northwest and south zones. Some areas have special restrictions, and it’s important to check the regulations before you hit the water.
Redfish have no closed season in state waters in the Atlantic and can be caught year-round. The best time of year to catch redfish will vary depending on location.
In the Atlantic, redfish are regulated within state waters with federal waters prohibiting the harvest of red drum altogether. The states have slot limits and daily bag limits in place to prevent overfishing.
The red drum fishing in the South Carolina low country is incredible with plenty of backwaters to explore looking for bull reds. The backcountry waters are second to none and are an amazing place to tail redfish. If you want to get in on the action, our South Carolina redfish guides have you covered.
Redfish are open for harvest year-round in South Carolina with the best time to catch them being fall months.
Redfish in South Carolina must be between 15” and 23” in length to be legally retained. The daily bag limit is 3 fish per person.
Updated on January 12, 2023
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