Redfish or specifically Red Drum live along coastal waters from Massachuetes to Florida and found all over the Gulf on Mexico. The largest one on record weighed just over 94 pounds. When they are this large they are called Bull reds I like to call them bruisers!
Here is a monster caught in February near Flamingo. It was a cool day and there were several schools on the flats. Windy for fly casting we decided to get the spinning rod out and see if we could get one to eat. A great cast four feet behind the fish- raise the rod and drag the shrimp close. Not surprisingly this 30 plus inch Redfish almost came out of the water to swallow the bait. When the weather is cool and you find them on a flat they are aggressively feeding.
"relatives of the Black Drum and both make a croaking sound when in trouble."
These are the bull dogs of the flats and are know for a tough long fight and make a fantastic dinner. There are many restaurants in Islamorada and the Keys that will prepare this for you. There is nothing as good as a blackened fillet. Come fish with us and you will definitely appreciate the experience.
The most distinguishing mark is one large black spot on the upper part of the tail base.
Having multiple spots is not uncommon (usually 2) but having no spots is extremely rare. As the fish with multiple spots grow older they seem to lose these excess spots. Some scientists believe that the black spot near their tail can fool predators into attacking the tail instead of the head, allowing them to escape from sharks and barracudas.
Dinner? At one point, it was a threatened species
Conservation and stricter limits now provide more quality fish and there is a great population back in the Keys. A challenging opponent on the grass beds and flats of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. These fish are wary especially on shallow water and will spook very easily. We will approach quietly with a push pole while you will need to take extra care not to make any unnecessary noises.
"considered a warm-temperature fish but larger redfish will thrive and feed in cooler temperatures and can frequently be found in very shallow water"
A bottom feeder and will eat almost any bait but prefer crustaceans, mollusks, Menhaden, Shrimp, Mud Minnows and crabs.
Almost a bull..
We have been into some very shallow water where you will see bigger fish sticking right out of the water. We will fish Incoming tides that bring with it food, bait fish, etc. that they feed on. Small crabs and shrimp become more active on the incoming tide enticing them to feed. We will also fish outgoing tides – as the water withdraws, they will hold and feed on whatever bait is carried back out with the tide. Channels and deeper areas are good places to find fish on an outgoing tide.
The Life cycle
Spawning season is mid-August to mid-October. The eggs incubate for 24 hours. A female can lay up to two million eggs a season. They are veracious eaters and can be 12 inches long by the end of their first year. A three year-old can weigh six to eight pounds but grow to be huge. They can travel in large schools finding them is the more difficult part and that is where experience counts. This species can live to be 60 years old unless caught or eaten by a predator. They are very adaptable and can inhabit salt, brackish or, at times, even fresh water mature “redfish” spawn in near shorelines. Juveniles typically inhabit bays and coastal marshes until they reach maturity between 3 and 6 years of age.
Females are generally larger and extremely aggressive
What to bring ?
We recommend 8-10 wt fly rods and 200 yards of backing however 8wt or less can be used. We encourage you to bring your own gear if you like but we have loaner spinning tackle and fly fishing gear available. Don’t worry about flies we tie our own and love to share them with you. Get ready for some fast and hard action on the flats.
Rain Gear – Camera! – Binoculars (if your like birding) Sunscreen
Fly gear or medium spinning gear (but we can provide as well)
Hats & Polarized sunglasses (a MUST)
Bring lots of water or you favorite drinks (sun and alcohol don’t mix well but are great at the end of the day)
And everyone loves to catch this fish so book early!