Redfish, also known as Red Drum, are the most popular gamefish in the Southeastern United States. They are slow to mature, usually taking 3 years to reach maturity. A 3-year-old redfish usually weighs between 6 and 8 pounds. The largest recorded weight was a little over 94 pounds. They are called Red Bulls when they are big. From the Chesapeake Bay Area to the Gulf of Mexico, there are numerous opportunities to catch these magnificent sportfish. They can be found in creeks, flats, marshes, oyster beds and beaches all along the Southeastern coast. Popular fishing sites include Texas, South Carolina, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.
In Texas, man-made jetties are brimming with Redfish. Late summer to late fall is the best time to angle for large fish in this area. The jetties of the Gulf of Mexico are another area that is loaded with the popular sportfish. These rocky shorelines found all along the Southern Atlantic are great places to find large populations of Redfish. The rushing waters along the jetties can be swift and dangerous, adding to the excitement of fishing in these areas.
Flood-tide Red fishing along the coast of South Carolina is also a popular past-time. About 10-15 days each month, high tides in the area allow Redfish to inhabit places that are usually dry. A floodtide is bigger than normal high tide. Redfish follow these tides into the flats to feed on Fiddler Crabs. There is only a short 2-3-hour window in which to catch the fish as they search for food. This type of fishing is only from March to November depending on water temperature. Once the water temperature dips below 65 degrees Fiddler Crabs disappear and so do the Redfish. It’s all about timing when flood-tide fishing.
In Florida, shallow water flats are home to many large Red Bulls and the majority of Redfish in Florida are caught in these shallow-water sites. While some are caught in deeper water near bridges, in basins and in canals most can be caught in less than two feet of water. Because of the shallow water, it is possible to see them before casting. This type of fishing is called sight fishing and it is very popular. The hunt for Red Drums in Florida is so popular that fishing tours dedicated to them are abundant. For example, any Tampa Bay Fl Redfish fishing charters are extremely in demand.
So, the hunt for the resplendent Redfish can take you all along the Southern coast of the Atlantic. It’s important to note however, each area has its own catch limits and size requirements. In 2007, they were designated as protected gamefish. Their numbers had significantly decreased because of their popularity among anglers. State limits on bag count and minimum size and lengths have been very effective. There has been a significant increase in the Redfish population because of these restrictions However, it’s vital that no matter where your travels take you in search of Reds that you know what these limits are.