Customers frequently ask when the best fishing season is for redfish. The sunshine state offers a vast array of species, both inshore and offshore. Many fish species can be caught year-round regardless of the season. We have ecosystems within ecosystems; a good example is the thriving everglades. The nutrient-rich Gulf Stream is a highway for trophy game for both bottom dwellers and pelagic fish of all kinds. Our grass flats thrive with over a half of dozen varieties of grass that provide cover and food for numerous fish, especially redfish.
Redfish / Red Drum: Sciaenops ocellatus Redfish are readily available throughout the state of Florida and have a good tolerance for both cold and warm water. They also strive in brackish water; this makes them an ideal game fish because of their year-round availability. However, you will find that mature fish tend to invade local waters in late summer and early fall to spawn. I usually start seeing them in the Tampbay region in August. These fish are typically on the larger end, ranging from 25 inches up to 40 inches in length.
Females frequent creeks and inlets to lay up to 3 million eggs. I personally really enjoy fishing for redfish in the fall months: September through November. The water temperature starts to cool, which brings an influx of various baits, and the redfish are a lot more active/aggressive.
There is nothing better than watching a redfish pursue a topwater lure and completely engulf the lure just feet from your vessel. The fish are more willing to leave their cover and pursue. Live pilchards and pinfish are typically the top producers for me during the cooler fall transition; however, as we near the winter months, I find that redfish prefer a crustacean (Shrimp or crab).
I assume that this is because of the scarcity of greenbacks. If you are lucky enough to load your baitwell full of whitebait, sometimes the element of surprise and the ability to chum will put the redfish and snook into a feeding frenzy. Fill a plastic chum bat with 10-15 greenbacks and give it a shake. Once the fish are disoriented, toss the bait next to your favorite mangrove, pothole, etc.… Some of the redfish in the winter haven’t seen whitebait in weeks; therefore, it can trigger a great bite.
Spring offers great action; the water starts to warm and brings large quantities of bait. The fish respond well, although they can be a little more challenging to catch because the water clarity is extremely clear. This allows them to the ability to use their eyes when otherwise they may rely more on their sense of smell, etc…. So you have to be quiet, make a more extended cast and try using lighter fluorocarbon leader. I hope this article helps you with your redfish endeavors, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section below. Until next time, we will see you on the water!
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