Redfish on Fly and Light Tackle
Redfish, along with snook and tarpon are one of the most prolific species of gamefish in Southern Florida and can be found year round.
The average size of redfish in the Everglades and Florida Keys is about four to eight pounds, with larger fish exceeding fifteen pounds not uncommon. The IGFA world record redfish was caught by David G. Jewell, while fishing in Avon, North Carolina, in 1984, weighing an incredible 94 pounds 2 ounces. We don't see fish like these in South Florida but redfish are a viable part of our fishery and provide exciting and consistent fly fishing and light tackle opportunities.
Redfish can be just about anywhere in Florida Bay and the coastal and tidal areas of the Everglades National Park. They can be found in large schools, especially during their spawning season, in fresh water estuarine creeks and bays, to open saltwater basins and flats. Individual fish can be stalked in very shallow water while "tailing" like bonefish and permit, making them a challenging target species, year round
Notes on Redfish
Redfish, along with snook and tarpon are one of the most prolific species of gamefish in Southern Florida and can be found year round. Redfish are also found throughout the coastal area of the SE United States, and are known by a variety of names including, but not limited to: Red Drum, Drum, Puppy Drum (smaller fish in North Carolina, as opposed to their monsters), Channel Bass, Bass, Spotail Bass, and of course good ole "Redfish" here in the Florida Keys.
The primary season for Redfish is Fall but are close at hand year round. Redfish can be found on the flats, mangrove shorelines and in the everglades backcountry.
Fishing Gear For Redfish
Level of difficulity on fly - novice to expert.
- 7 to 9 weight fly outfits with floating and clear floating lines are the standard.
Leaders for Redfish
- Leaders ranging from 9 to 12 feet tapered to 10 to 12 pound test Seaguar Fluorocarbon. Lots of time snook and small tarpon occur in the same areas, in which case the wise thing to do would be to use the same leader system you would use for snook, incorporating a bite or 'shock' tippet.
- Weedless fly patterns are sometimes necessary as the shallow and sometimes weedy habitat in which they often reside requires this. A weedguard also allows you to "crawl" flies over logs and Mangrove roots. There is a school of thought that says that weedguards will hinder hookups but I think that the benefits outweigh the negative in certain situations... weedguards should be light and only used when necessary. Reds will bite a wide variety of fly patterns, from small bonefish style crabs, streamers, to poppers.
Spin and Plug Fishing
Level of difficulity on spin nd plug - novice to expert.
- Rod and Reel Six to Seven-foot med-light action spin and plug outfits spooled with ten-pound test mono are just right.
- 10# test mono, #2 to #4 diameter braid (12 to 15lb. test) is my choice. Topwater plugs, crank baits, jerk baits, paddle tails, tubes (bass style tubes), spoons and jigs are the standard for spin and plug casting. If snook and tarpon are in the area a heavier leader such as 30 to 40 pound test Flouro is a good idea.