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Fort Walton Beach, Florida, is renowned for its pristine waters and abundant marine life, making it a haven for fishing enthusiasts. Among the diverse array of fish species available, the Redfish (Red Drum) stands out as the most popular catch. Known for their robust size, hard-fighting nature, and delectable flavor, redfish attract anglers from all over. In this blog, we will explore where to catch redfish in Fort Walton Beach, the best methods to use, bag and size limits, and the optimal times of the year to reel in these prized fish.

Where to Catch Redfish in Fort Walton Beach

Redfish Caught In Florida

Fort Walton Beach offers numerous prime locations for catching redfish. Some of the top spots include:

Choctawhatchee Bay

Choctawhatchee Bay is a renowned hotspot for redfish. The grassy flats, marshes, and nearshore waters of the bay provide an ideal habitat for redfish, making it a top destination for anglers.

Santa Rosa Sound

Santa Rosa Sound, with its extensive grass beds and channels, is another excellent location to target redfish. The sheltered waters make it a great spot for both novice and experienced anglers.

Okaloosa Island

The areas around Okaloosa Island, including the surf zones and the Okaloosa Island Pier, are productive for redfish fishing. The varied terrain and structures attract redfish, especially during their peak seasons.

Methods to Catch Redfish

Catching redfish requires a combination of the right techniques and equipment. Here are some effective methods:

Bait Fishing

Using live or cut bait is one of the most popular and effective methods for catching redfish. Common bait options include shrimp, mullet, and crab. These baits can be fished on the bottom using a Carolina rig or simply freelined in shallow waters.

Artificial Lures

Artificial lures are also highly effective for targeting redfish. Soft plastic baits, topwater plugs, and spoons mimic the natural prey of redfish and can entice strikes. Look for lures that replicate the movement and color of local baitfish.

Fly Fishing

For a more challenging and rewarding experience, try fly fishing for redfish. Using flies that imitate shrimp, crabs, and small fish can be particularly effective in the shallow flats and marshes where redfish feed.

Bag Limits and Size Limits for Redfish

To ensure sustainable fishing practices, it’s important to adhere to the regulations set by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC):

Bag Limit

The bag limit for redfish in Fort Walton Beach is typically one fish per person per day. This helps to maintain healthy populations and prevent overfishing.

Size Limit

The slot size limit for redfish is usually between 18 and 27 inches. This means that only redfish within this size range can be legally kept. Any fish smaller or larger must be released back into the water.

Best Time of the Year to Catch Redfish

Redfish can be caught year-round in Fort Walton Beach, but certain times of the year offer better opportunities:


Fall is the peak season for redfish in Fort Walton Beach. During this time, redfish gather in large schools, making them easier to locate and catch. The cooler water temperatures and increased baitfish activity contribute to their abundance.


Spring is another excellent time to target redfish. As the waters begin to warm, redfish become more active and move into the shallows to feed. This season offers great opportunities for anglers to catch redfish using a variety of methods.


While winter can be more challenging due to cooler water temperatures, redfish can still be caught, particularly in deeper channels and near structures. Anglers who are willing to adapt their techniques can find success during this season as well.

Book Your Fort Walton Beach Redfish Trip

Redfish Caught Offshore

Redfish are highly coveted, and Fort Walton Beach offers exceptional opportunities to target this species. If you’re eager to fish for reds, consider booking a trip with one of our local and experienced fishing guides through our Fort Walton Beach redfish charters. They possess invaluable local knowledge that can significantly boost your chances of landing a remarkable catch.

Embark on an unforgettable redfish fishing adventure in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and enjoy the excitement of catching these prized fish in one of the most picturesque and productive fishing spots along the Emerald Coast. Tight lines and happy fishing!