Redfish Fishing Overview

If you want to catch your personal best redfish, you have a number of options. Redfish are versatile - feeding all over the water column and eating just about anything that comes across their mouth. You can have luck catching them while inshore, nearshore, in the back bays and flats or in freshwater lagoons and lakes. You can throw shrimp, baitfish, spoons, jigs, soft plastics, swimbaits, and more. You can find them from Texas to the Carolinas. Its no wonder that red drum is the most popular coastal gamefish in the Southeast.

Everything You Need to Know About Redfish Fishing

What is a Redfish?

Red drum, aka redfish, aka Sciaenops ocellatus, aka red is one of the most ubiquitous coastal gamefish of the Southeast. Redfish have a distinctive spot on their tail which is often considered a "second eye" meant to fool predators. They occupy a broad range across the Gulf of Mexico and up the east coast of the US, and can be found inshore and nearshore.

How big do Redfish get?

Redfish spawn close to the shoreline in the Fall and will generally mature by 3 years old, with males reaching up to 28 inches and females being a few inches bigger at the same age, with both weighing between 6 and 8 pounds. From there, it is only up, and redfish can be fairly large. Most locations will not allow more than one kept fish over 28 inches.

Whats the biggest redfish ever caught?

Monster redfish can be over 50 inches long and weigh upwards of 50 pounds. The world record redfish was caught in November 1984 in Hatteras, North Carolina by David Weber and weighed 94 pounds 2 ounces.

Where is the best place to catch Redfish?

Redfish have a fairly diverse range, living among shallow to nearshore areas from Mexico all the way to Massachusetts. Redfish do not care too much about salinity in the water so this greatly expands their options of where to reside. In terms of habitat, young redfish prefer inshore areas including flats, grasses, and shallow bay systems, even expanding up into freshwater lagoons and marshes. There are even freshwater redfish in a few lakes near San Antonio. Adult redfish will move out into the Gulf or further offshore, but still congregate near rocky structure (including rigs in the Gulf), and especially jetties when coming back to spawn. The bull redfish run in the Fall is one of many anglers favorite times of the year.

When should I catch Redfish?

Slot redfish can be found inshore year-round, and do not have much of a seasonal migration. Bull redfish can be caught offshore or by rigs, but the most common is to catch them around jetties and other nearshore rocky structure.

The Spring and Summer is easy for redfish, and it is generally advised to take advantage of the early bite before the fish get too sluggish in the heat. Winter can be fantastic if you are able to brave the cold - cold fronts often push water out of inshore areas, and the redfish will be packed into less water, meaning more fish around per the amount of water. Fall will be your best season for redfish in most of their range, as the big ones come back to shore to spawn. Not only are there more redfish around, there are bigger ones.

How do you catch Redfish?

Because redfish are so ambivalent on what they stick in their mouths, they can be caught in quite a few ways, not limited to throwing live bait, popping corks with shrimp, jigging / bottom fishing, throwing artificials and soft plastics, trolling with gold spoons, and fly fishing / sight casting. Redfish are great for all anglers because everyone can use the style of fishing they are most familiar with and feel confident in catching some reds.

Are Redfish good to eat? What are the best redfish recipes?

Redfish are known to be great eating, and many will swear by blackened redfish or redfish with cajun seasoning. The large scales can be difficult to remove, but once past that obstacle you're in for some delicious fish. Young fish will be tastier, and have a fairly moderate flavor.