How to Catch Redfish | Captain William Toney - In The Spread
One of the most important factors when targeting redfish is tides. In general incoming tide is always best on the Nature Coast side of Florida and south of this region it could be high outgoing. One thing that I've found true is incoming must be in the equation. When high water covers the rocky points and oyster bars this is when redfish will move in and feed. This does not mean an angler can't catch redfish on low tide, it just make it easier to target them because they will be more concentrated.
Choosing the right bait depends on what type of angler you are. Redfish will take artificials just as fast as live bait, but after 20 years of guiding some days one bait will outshine the other. One all around artificial bait that should be in every anglers bag of tricks is a gold spoon. Spoons mimic a dying bait fish and can be cast a long distant. A soft plastic jerkbait is always a good choice. Rigged weedless it can be fished through a maze of rocks as well as thick grass. If I could only have three colors they would be rootbeer, newpenny and glow.
On live bait, shrimp and pinfish are the best. If the bottom is relatively smooth then I like to free live my live baits for a more natural presentation. If the bottom is rugged and prone to getting snagged then using a cork to keep the bait just off the bottom must be used. I like to cast with the current and let the cork follow the key or structure by controlling the drift on the amount of line leaving the spool with my hand.
Some elements to look for when trying to find redfish is jumping mullet. The redfish like the same waters as mullet. I believe mullet is a comfort fish for reds, because if they get nervous then it warns the redfish of danger. Western facing points that first receive the incoming tide are also good spots. In the Homosassa area a key that has needle grass that gives way to a section of mangroves is a good spot.
Keeping these pointers in mind will help you catch more redfish. Three things, high tide, selection of artificial and live baits and clue in on the right spots equals success.
If you would like to learn more about how to catch redfish, check out our collection of redfish fishing videos. These are great tools to build new skills or learn different tactics.
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-Capt. William Toney
In The Spread Fishing