Redfish Fishing Tampabay, FL

Red Drum, popularly known as Redfish, are Florida’s most widespread and prolific estuarine fish. They can tolerate a wide range of salinity levels. Smaller Redfish are considered a good eating fish and have a firm flesh that lends itself to grilling. Capt. John always enjoys introducing anglers to this common but fun-to-catch fish.

RedfishRedfish in Tampa Bay

Redfish can be identified by their reddish-brown dorsal aspect and divided dorsal fin. In Florida, Redfish must be more than 17 inches but no more than 27 inches in order to be kept. Some Redfish grow up to 48 inches and can weigh up to 50 pounds, but when they dwell in inshore waters they tend to be smaller. During spawning, Redfish make a drumming noise from which the name “red drum” is derived.

When is Redfish Season?

Thanks to careful management of the Redfish in Florida, anglers can now land this popular species year round. However, the best time to catch Redfish is from late fall to early spring. Redfish spawn from late summer to early fall and are tired and hungry when returning from spawning grounds. Please remember that Florida’s strict bag limit for Redfish is designed to keep population levels high so that the season can remain open year round.

Where to Catch Redfish

Redfish can be found throughout estuaries in Tampa Bay. Inshore and flats fishing expeditions in particular provide excellent opportunities to catch this species. Juvenile Redfish tend to stay in rivers, canals, passes and boat basins within estuaries. Once they reach maturity, Redfish tend to prefer near-shore waters and can be found throughout the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts south to the Florida Keys.

How to Catch Redfish

Redfish prefer to take live bait. Shrimp and Cigar Minnows are particularly popular among Florida anglers. To catch a Redfish, you’ll need to fish in moving water. For those who are fishing inshore waters, the hour prior to an outgoing tide tends to be an excellent time to hook Redfish. You’ll be able to spot Redfish if they’re feeding in shallow water because their tails poke out of the water.

Redfish Fly Fishing

Many experienced anglers enjoy landing Redfish because they put up a good fight and will aggressively latch onto a fly. It’s generally necessary to sight fish for Redfish because the fly should be cast directly at the nose. Redfish aren’t skittish and generally won’t spook if you don’t land your first cast in the right place. They do tend to pop up at close range, so be prepared for some serious challenges and great learning opportunities when fly fishing for this popular species.