How to Catch Redfish - Spring Fishing with William Toney

April 01, 2019
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As Florida's waters warm, redfish are shifting from winter spots to outside passes and keys due to abundant food sources. Targeting spring redfish with artificial baits is recommended, with good incoming tide and current and tidal flow. The gold spoon is a popular lure for spring fishing, mimicking dying bait fish. Stealth and patience are essential for successful fishing.

As the waters around Florida's Big Bend warm during spring, redfish behavior and habitat preferences undergo a notable shift. Understanding these seasonal movements and adapting your fishing strategy accordingly can greatly enhance your chances of a successful catch.

Seasonal Movement of Redfish

  • From Winter Spots to Open Waters: During the cooler months, redfish tend to congregate in protected coves and shorelines shielded from the wind. However, as the water warms, these areas become less attractive to them. They move towards outside passes and keys, areas with more open water.
  • Seeking Better Food Sources: This migration is driven largely by the search for food. Limestone and turtle grass bottoms, typical of the open areas they move to, are more productive in terms of food sources like pinfish, shrimp, and crabs, compared to mud-covered bottoms.

Targeting Spring Redfish

  • Timing with Tides: Optimal fishing times are during a good incoming tide or the early part of a high outgoing tide. These conditions allow redfish easier access to shallow areas abundant with bait. The last hour of the incoming tide, particularly near the new and full moons, can be especially productive.
  • Favorable Locations: Focus on areas with strong current and tidal flow, such as cuts between keys, western-facing points, and creek mouths. These spots typically have an abundance of baitfish, making them attractive to redfish.

Lure Selection

  • Gold Spoon: A classic lure for spring redfish fishing is the gold spoon. Its ease of use and effectiveness make it a top choice. The spoon's wobble, which mimics an injured baitfish, often triggers a reaction strike from redfish.
  • Size and Technique: A 1/4 oz. gold spoon is recommended, particularly in areas with rocky bottoms where redfish are likely to be found. The smaller size is more forgiving and less likely to snag. When casting near keys or rocky structures, it’s crucial to start the retrieve immediately after the lure hits the water to avoid getting snagged.

Fishing Approach

  • Stealth and Patience: Even with aggressive spring redfish, maintaining stealth is important. Approach fishing spots quietly to avoid spooking the fish.
  • Covering the Area: Patience is key. Work the area thoroughly, casting to different spots and varying your retrieval speed and style. Redfish can be territorial, so covering the area methodically increases your chances of encountering them.
  • Reading the Water: Look for signs of redfish activity, such as tails or wakes in shallow water, and focus your efforts there. Also, pay attention to baitfish movements, as redfish are likely to be nearby.

By understanding the seasonal patterns of redfish and adapting your techniques and lure selection accordingly, you can significantly increase your success rate during the spring months in the Big Bend area of Florida. Remember, every day on the water can be different, so flexibility and willingness to adjust your approach based on conditions and observations are crucial for a successful fishing experience.

Happy Fishing,

Capt. William Toney

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