Winter days on the Nature Coast in Florida are ideal for sighting cast redfish. Live shrimp is the best bait, but placement and presentation are crucial. Nose-hooked jerk baits and soft landings near stationary fish are effective. Using easy-to-hand equipment and a good fly rod is essential.
Winter Redfish - William Toney
Clear, calm, cold waters that make a vessel feel as though your gliding on air could describe a January day on the west side of Florida. If an angler could pick and choose winter days on the Nature Coast, these are the best to sight cast redfish. The keys that run east and west will provide a barrier from the cold north winds but also will collect the southern suns midday heat on a black mud bottom. Polling the boat is the best way to get within casting range of winter redfish.
Live shrimp is the best bait and almost every time a redfish will turn to suck it in, but to turn it up a notch like with a soft plastic or a fly, placement and presentation is everything. Nose hooked jerk baits in glow or watermelon red flake are choice as with any shrimp or crab pattern with brown and crystal flash. A soft landing near a stationary fish or a 4 to 6 foot lead to a cruising redfish is the ticket to getting a strike or sending a red rocket off to the next zip code. A incoming tide will help concentrate the redfish and other inshore species toward the mangrove keys because that is where the bait and structure are.
The equipment should be easy in the hand. I use a G-Loomis E6X 7' 6" with 10lb braid and 20lb fluorocarbon leader. An eight weight is standard for a fly rod. The fun part of this kind of fishing is watching the fish take the bait, believe me the fight is just as exciting but the vision of that fish falling for a good cast will last a lifetime.
Captain William Toney
Watch Redfish Videos: https://inthespread.com/saltwater/redfishCaptain William Toney In The Spread, Instructor