Redfish Fishing Techniques & Tips

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Step By Step Guidelines For Catching Redfish - below

Great Redfish Lures For 2015
If you fish for redfish then you need to try the 5 inch Jumbo Natural Shrimp fishing lures. View customer reviews and fish lure videos showing the lures in action.       Jumbo Shrimp Lure          


How To Catch Redfish

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How To Catch Redfish On Redfish Lures

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How To Fish For Redfish With Redfish Lures On Florida's Gulf Coast

   Redfish Lure Fishing Techniques

   Florida offers a variety of fishing conditions from shallow flats with pot holes to creeks and river mouths that flow into the flats. There are also many near shore mangrove islands where the fishing can be outstanding. The key to fishing for redfish in Florida is to locate where the fish are during the season you are fishing. Redfish can be caught in Florida throughout the entire year on redfish lures. Where the redfish are holding changes with the seasons. Starting in late February and through March the redfish will start hitting lures because the water is to cool for baitfish to accumulate in the Florida flats. With the lack of sufficient baitfish for feeding the redfish will chase many redfish lures a great distance to strike them. Jigs, rubber stick baits, top water and shallow divers all work well at times. I have spent 20 years fishing for redfish in Southwest and have my own secret weapon lures that work and I will outline those below. Redfish will continue to feed on artificial redfish lures up through April and into May at times, but it will depend on the arriving shiner and pinfish populations. Once the local baitfish population increases it will become more difficult to catch redfish on redfish lures. You can still catch them but you will have make a more effort and you will have to focus on the right tide conditions and moon phases to be productive. My biggest redfish so far has been 39 1/2 inches caught on 8 lb mono and a Redfish shrimp lure. You can combine artificial redfish lures and live or cut bait to enhance your fishing results for redfish. As the summer progresses through July and August the red fishing will become better and better for live bait fishing with September reported by many as the absolute best month for red fishing. Flavoring your redfish lures with a pinch of shrimp will increase your chances of hooking up with a redfish during the hotter months.



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  Redfish are very aggressive fish and will chase a lure 25 to 50 feet to snatch it up. The strike is very powerful and similar to a bonefish strike. Redfish will normally run parallel to the mangroves during the hookup, unlike Snook that will head back into the mangroves and break you off on the barnacles and shells attached to the mangrove roots. The key when fishing near mangroves is to lay your rod down to the side the fish is running on. If a redfish strikes and runs to your left along the mangroves, drop your rod to your left and crank like crazy to get all the slack out of your line and the fish heading more to the left. If you lay your rod to the right side instead, you will pull the fish back into the mangroves and he will break off on the barnacles. I usually fish light line in the 8 to 10 lb class for redfish using artificial lures and rarely lose a redfish this way. The light line allows me to make long accurate casts with a jig into and underneath the overhanging mangroves.

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Redfish Legal Size Limits and Restrictions

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     Currently the slot size limits for Red Fish are 18 to 27 inches. This means you can harvest redfish between 18 and 27 inches. No fish outside this slot can be harvested. You can catch redfish in all sizes as long as you release them unharmed. Small redfish under fifteen inches are called "rat" reds, but you will rarely catch a redfish that is not in the legal size slot. You may catch one outside the upper limit of 27 inches, but not under the 18 inch rule. Always verify the Florida State Fishing Regulations in place before harvesting redfish. We sponsor and practice "Catch & Release" on redfish. The redfish population is coming back very strong now but for many years redfish was not allowed to be harvested because blackened redfish was so popular and in demand that the redfish were almost decimated in the early 1950's. You are only allowed to harvest one redfish per person per day now. Always check with the local latest fishing restrictions before harvesting redfish as fishing regulations in Florida are constantly changing. Also beware the manatee restrictions on boats before heading out on the flats. You could end up with a heavy boating fine by the local Marine Patrol.


 Learn New Strategies & Techniques For Redfish Lures

  Lures That Catch Redfish

What Is The Best Redfish Lures 
Live Bait Redfish Lures
Fishing for redfish with live baits is almost to easy. Redfish loath pinfish as they raid their nest and eat their young. I believe redfish hit pinfish out of anger as much as for food. Pinfish can be easily gathered with a cast net or by small hook and line. I usually go out to the shallow flats in three feet of water where there are white/yellow pot holes and drop a small piece of shrimp on a small bluegill golden hook with 6 lb fishing line and a floater up about two feet. You won't have to wait long to start catching small to hand size pinfish if the baitfish is inshore. Most local guides prefer to use the local whitebait or shiners for fishing, but I would much rather have a nice pinfish myself. The whitebait is very difficult to keep alive. You must have a large circular live well with a strong circulation pump to keep whitebait alive. Also once you hook them they won't last long in the water. They will die quickly or get sluggish and not attract a strike. Pinfish on the other hand will live all day in a basic live well or even a bait bucket and will stay alive and active on the hook much longer, and of course they are the natural enemies of the redfish.
After you have collected a dozen nice pinfish from 3 to 4 inches long, head for the mangroves to start locating redfish. My standard rigging for redfish includes a 50 lb mono leader (or larger) and 20 lb mono fishing line. The reason for the heavy leader is because you may hook up with a big Snook while red fishing and you won't have a chance of landing the
Snook on smaller test lines. Tie on a torpedo floater about two feet above your hook. I personally like the torpedo white floaters with a red band at the top and two swivel connections at the top or bottom of the floater. I tie my fishing 20 lb mono line on the top swivel and my 50 lb leader on the bottom swivel. I attach a large durable number 4.0 hook on the end of the 50 lb leader and hook one of the pinfish just in front of the top fin of the pinfish. Make a very light incision with the hook and the fish will last longer. Throw the floater and pinfish as close to or better yet underneath overhanging mangroves along the islands in the Pine Island Sound and look out. Pop the floater every few minutes. This is what is great about these white torpedo floaters. They have a concave top that makes a popping sound when you jerk the rod tip quickly. The redfish may go back into the mangrove roots for hundred's of feet in search of food inside the mangrove roots. When they hear the popping noise of your floater they think it's another fish feeding and they come out of the mangroves investigate the noise.  That's when they see your pinfish and strike it. The white floater will simply disappear for sight and you may hear nothing so always keep your eyes on the floater. You will be able to see the floater rushing along the mangroves underwater and that's when you crank up the slack and set the hook. Be sure as mentioned above to lean your rod toward the direction the fish is heading and not against. I like to hit my trolling motor during the initial stages of the fight to get the redfish away from the mangroves as much as possible. If you can get your boat a hundred feet away from the mangroves and into the open water, you will most likely be able to land the redfish. The redfish won't break the water like a Snook or Bass, but it will make several circles around your boat before giving up. Try to wear the fish down some before bringing the fish to the boat, otherwise when it sees the boat it will make a strong surge and possibly break your line.
 This method also works great for Kayak fishing or wade fishing. Many of the inshore islands are within reach of wade fishing from shore. Beware of stepping on sting rays though as this accounts for most of the hospital visits by tourist and fishermen wading the shallow waters of Southwest Florida. It's a good idea to shuffle your feet along the bottom ahead of yourself, this way alerting the sting rays of your approach. Wade fishing is the absolute best way to catch 50 huge redfish in a day. I have had redfish swimming around by feet as I fish for them by wade fishing the mangrove islands.
Effective Redfish Lures For Red Fishing
Redfish Lures, Jigs & Rubber Jerk Baits
  There are several artificial baits that will catch Redfish. I have had tremendous results with Redfish Lures jigs. The jigs can be fished in tandem sets and I cut them lose and fish they as solo lures with a loop knot. Fishing with Redfish Lures is best with lighter lines. The redfish can become very spooky as fishing tournaments and weekend fishermen speed around the islands in search of redfish schools. I have seen redfish schools in the flats with literally thousand's of fish pushing a wake across the flats. One technique is to drive your boat ahead of the advancing redfish school and wait for them. Start casting your redfish lures to them when they come into casting range. It's best to use a light 1/4 ounce lure so it won't make to much noise when it hits the water. Cast your redfish lures ahead of the redfish school and let the school come to the lure naturally. Once the redfish are within a few feet of the redfish lure twitch it once or twice to make sure they see your lure.  This is a great way to get multiple hook ups simultaneously.
Another productive artificial lure fishing technique is to use a trolling motor and cast into the mangroves as you slowly move along the outskirts of the islands. Try to make long casts with redfish lures as the redfish may be shy due to boat noise, talking in the boat, etc. When possible make long parallel casts to the shoreline. I like to use a 1/4 ounce jig and let the jig sit on the bottom after the cast. The I twitch it a couple times and let it settle back down to the bottom. This will lure the big redfish out of the mangroves. You can also use the popping cork technique above and replace the live bait with a small jig. My most effective method is to cast back into and underneath the overhanging mangroves with a weedless rubber bait or jig. Let the bait settle down and twitch it and retrieve very slowly, almost dragging the lure on the bottom with an occasional twitch. If you hook up with a redfish this way it will be more difficult to land the fish as it may run through the mangrove roots. The redfish are much easier to land if you hook them outside the mangrove roots instead of inside the roots. If you fishing with live bait you can toss some live bait up into the mangrove roots to lure the fish out and to encourage feeding.
Top Water Redfish Lures
Fishing with topwater or shallow diving plugs can also be very effective for redfish. Fish topwater lures the same as you would fish jigs and jerk baits above. Make as much noise with your topwater lure as possible. Don't retrieve the lure to quickly and pause it occasionally. Vary the retrieve speed until you find the best one for your water conditions. The colors don't appear to make a great difference except to match the water conditions. On quite days with little wind use a smaller topwater lure that blends into the water better. On windy days with water turbulence use larger more colorful lures as the redfish won't be as cautious. I've had great luck with Zara Spooks, and similar top water and shallow retrieve lures. The redfish may have a more difficult time getting the hooks on a topwater lure due it it's smaller mouth which is designed to forage the ocean bottom for food, so don't set the hook to quickly.
Redfish Lures Information
 Redfish are found all along the Central & Southern shores of Florida. Some of the biggest redfish are caught on the Eastern Florida shores. Redfish are also caught on the offshore wrecks and reefs at times. A really big redfish is called a bull red and can get up to 60 lbs or bigger. Hook one of these inshore and you will have a real battle on your hands. The bull reds school up together during the summer months and move around the shallow flats by the hundred's. These redfish schools will move from island to island in the pine island sound in search of food and spawning. Many times the bull red schools will remain in the same location until an event occurs such as a severe weather change or several passing boats. I have gone back to the same location on the same tide for days on end to catch large numbers of reds before they would finally move on to another island. Then you have to go out and search for them again.

Redfish are my most favorite fish species to catch. If you throw a live bait or redfish lure in front of a redfish he will usually take it. Throw a lure and it depends on the weather, how much boat action they have seen and the tide and moon phases. But he will almost always take al live pinfish. During the cold front in the winter in Florida the redfish will move into the canals. You can do some great red fishing with live shrimp in the canals at this time.


  Redfish Lures Testing Grounds

    We're testing lures from some of the top redfish lures to find the best redfish lures to use for a fishing trip to Pine Island Sound on Florida's Gulf Coast. Our plan is to spend three weeks fishing Southwest Florida in a variety of conditions with a fishing guide, a kayak and walking the shore to find the best performing redfish lures for catching Redfish.

How To Catch Redfish

 Our Fishing Strategy For Southwest Florida

   Redfish bite best during new moon and strong incoming tides. Morning are always best for red fishing, but redfish will anytime of the day during a strong incoming tide. When I plan my red fishing trips I look up the local tide conditions and I plan to be on the water with my lures or live bait just as the out going tide is at it lowest or slack stage. I like to fish the first couple hours of the incoming tide. During this time the reds will be moving onto the shallow flats moving in and out of the thick grass and into the open pot holes. Fishing these pot holes can be the right ticket for great catches of redfish.

 After the tide floods the mangroves the redfish will move into the mangroves and continue their feeding. Redfish can be caught all along the mangrove islands and up into them. This is when the popping cork method above works best. As the tide changes and starts moving out again the redfish will move out of the mangroves and onto the shallow flats again. You can then catch them on the pot holes again. As the tide continues to go out the redfish will retreat into the underwater creeks and sloughs where deeper water is still available. Redfish can be caught in the underwater passageways during the low tides phases. Many local fishermen prefer the low tide for redfish as it moves the redfish into a few select deeper holes. The fish can be packed into these small areas of deeper water waiting for the return of the high tide. You must use stealth to approach redfish in these conditions and the deep holes are usually surrounded by miles of ankle deep water, so you have to have a plan to access them. Once you find the fish though you can have the fishing experiences of your life ad the fish cannot escape these areas.


   Redfish Lures Fishing Tackle

   We will be using three identical new Bass Pro Shops spinning reels with composite graphite 7 ft rods spooled with 15 lb Andes mono line baited with redfish lures. We will have spinnerbaits from three different manufacturers on the fishing outfits at all times and will be fishing 10 minutes with one, then 10 minutes with another, etc. I like the spinning reel for fishing spinner baits because it is easier to pitch lures with spinning reels as opposed to bait casters. I also like bait casters for certain fishing situations. The high winds often occurring on the lake lends itself better to open spinner reels also.

    Redfish Lures Selected For The Evaluation

     We visited the local Bass Pro Shops, Wal Mart, Target, Sports Authority and several local tackle supply shops looking specifically for 1/4 ounce jigs, rubber stick baits, shallow diving plugs and top water redfish lures.. 

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Nice Redfish Caught By The Author Kayak Fishing in 2013

How To Catch Redfish

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                                                     Redfish Lures That Catch  Red Fish

   Late February and March are my favorite times of the year to fish for red fish. Redfish can be caught fairly easy on artificial lures during the early spring in Florida. The baitfish population has not arrived from off shore yet and the red fish are more receptive to lures until the baitfish start showing up in numbers. Then live bait is the ticket for catching ton's of redfish. Try a popping cork (floater) and a jigs two feet under the cork and pop it occasionally. Jerk baits work well during this time also, as does top water lures early in the mornings. Shallow diving crank baits also catch redfish now when fished along the outskirts of the mangroves.


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