Redfish Fishing Guide: How To Catch Redfish


Redfish go by many names. They are also known as channel bass, red drum, or even red bass.  They are found all over the Atlantic coast and are a major target for many anglers.

Even better is that fishing for redfish is not hard. But you will need the right skills and the right tools. With these, you can reel in a huge monster redfish, chop it up and have it for dinner. If you are new at this, then you will want to check out the fishing for beginners guide.

This is how to catch redfish.

First, how to find them!

The Habitat

Generally, redfish like to live in shallow waters. You can find them at the estuaries that are located in the eastern seaboard as well as the gulf coast of the USA. These are fish of varying habitats from rivers to salt marsh creeks to open sounds, oyster bars, and backwater flats.

As the younger and smaller redfish will tend to collect together into schools, once you reel in one good one, there is a high chance that you’ll be able to reel in more with your fishing rod.

Keep in mind when fishing for redfish that they will swim offshore for the winter where they can swim down to deeper water. You will be able to find them inshore during the warmer months. This is where food is usually plentiful for them. As they migrate in the fall, they will more commonly be found in the deep channels that end up in the ocean.

This is why they are also known as channel bass. The redfish found in these channels are probably the largest anywhere and the great thing is that they are also pretty easy to catch.

However, a point to note is that you should never fish for more than you need. Simply take the redfish that you plan to eat. This is a conservation and will ensure that our great-grandchildren will still find redfish in their time.

Using natural baits

There are plenty of different natural baits that you can use on how to catch redfish. You can use live shrimp, mullet, or menhaden shad.

To catch live shrimp, you will need to use either a jig head or afloat. You can also free line live shrimp especially if you are fishing in shallow water. These are the very same techniques that you will use to catch mud minnows.

You may need to get yourself a jigging rod.

You will also find that cutting a piece of mullet will work well on the bottom. You can also use whole or cut crab pieces on the bottom as well.

Using artificial bait

If you want to save yourself the hassle of using live bait, you can also use artificial bait. These include lures and plugs and have proven very effective for fishing for redfish.

Something that you’ll probably notice is that redfish lures are very similar to black bass lures. Which makes complete sense as they are designed to mimic the baitfish. So, get yourself lures for bass and use them for the redfish.

How to fish for redfish

Now let’s take a look at how to reel in a big fat redfish. If you are fishing inshore, then you will find the redfish in creeks and estuaries. You can locate these either up and down the coastline. The best way to know that there are redfish around is to find what the redfish love to eat.

Creeks that have minnows, oyster bars, and other types of baitfish. Check the tide and if it complements the situation then you are ready to cast your line. For example, you can catch the feeding redfish when the tide is outgoing because the redfish will be coming off the marsh flat.

This is how to catch redfish. You may find a baitcasting rod to be highly effective.

When you present the live or artificial bait, you want to work it up slowly and when you can find one fish, there is a high chance that you can catch more as they are usually in schools. However, if you spend 15 minutes on a structure but still haven’t caught a redfish, there are chances that they are not there so move on to another.

Redfish fishing tips


1. Time the tide

Redfish do not always stick to one place as we’ve come to learn. They move a lot within the lagoons and the estuaries where they are common. They will follow the tide as they feed on crabs and shrimps that like to hang out in the grassy underwater flats. You can wait two hours before the tide in shallow water and you’ll be surprised at the redfish that flow in to feed.

Love for shallow water

Surprisingly, redfish might be big but they are very much at home in shallow water. Do not be afraid to look for them in shallow water as they cruise searching for their prey.  When you catch the wrong fish, use fishing pliers to remove the hooks, and release the fish.

2. Tailing redfish

Thirdly watch out for the tails. This is where the term “tailing redfish” comes from. Since redfish are bottom feeders, in shallow water, you are going to see their tails sticking out of the water. You will want to quickly send your bait fish or jig once you spot them.

3. Choose the best season

Most fish have a water temperature which they prefer. The same goes for redfish. They will tend to move around in the channels and estuaries searching for their preferred water temperature. During summer the redfish will rise during the warm mornings and swim deeper during the heat of the day.

The opposite holds during winter where they dive deep during the mornings and swim-up higher during the day to catch more warmth. During winter, try using ice fishing lures.

During springtime, redfish will be swimming almost anywhere anytime and are very active. During the fall, the fish will either be at the inlets or hanging out offshore for spawning.

4. They love crab

If there was ever a food source that redfish loved to eat then it’s got to be a crab. They find them in their hiding places and suck them up. And they will eat a variety of crab spices including blue crabs, mud crabs, and fiddler crabs.

5. Use a circle hook

One of the best types of hooks to catch a redfish are circle hooks. This is because redfish like to grab the bait and run. As they do this the circle hook will set itself nicely. Check out the fishing hook size guide.

6. Live mullet as bait

When the water is clear, you want to use live bait and the best is live mullet. This is because the mullet is easy to spot in clear water.

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There is a reason why anglers simply love redfish. They are delicious not to mention easy to catch. Plus, they grow big and one of these fishes will do for the whole family. With the tips above you can reel in a redfish fast and easy.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!