Time to Target Redfish!

November 13, 2020

Tampa Bay covers nearly 400 square miles and is Florida’s largest estuary. The area provides seemingly endless opportunities for the shallow water fishing enthusiast. As water temperatures cool, look for the redfish bite to get hot!

In order to successfully target Tampa Bay’s winter redfish, you will need to focus your efforts on the right flats. Some flats can be more productive than others. Read on to learn 3 things to look for targeting redfish the next few months.

Many factors can play into which flats schooling redfish elect to call home during the cooler months. Among them are a few key ingredients, such as water temperature, food supply, and quick access to deeper waters.

a redfish in a fisherman's hand

Redfish Tips:

1: Water Temperature

The majority of fish are cold blooded, and redfish are no exception.  On the coldest of our winter mornings, look for redfish to be on a flat over dark mud bottom. The dark bottom will quickly warm and retain heat as the sun rises throughout the morning. Redfish know this and will seek out mud flats. This warmth will allow them to move more effectively as predators, and give you the exciting fight you seek when fishing for them.

2: Food Supply

Several species of prey live on these flats and offer foraging opportunities for the fish. While fishing over a mud bottom it can prove effective to use a lure or fly that closely resembles a natural colored shrimp or crab. Work these offerings slowly. Imagine the speed at which a shrimp or crab wander in their natural habitat. Often, redfish will key in on the small puffs of mud coming from a shrimp or crab moving along the bottom.

Remember the lure itself is only as effective as the skill of the one who casts it.  Think of what the lure is trying to imitate, and have it move as the natural prey would.  If it doesn’t look natural to the redfish, they may not bite.

3: Access to deeper waters

Redfish are very tide dependent.  They will wait in deeper waters until the tide rises. Feeding on the flats as the tide goes in.  When the tide recedes, they will slip back into deeper water where they will wait in safety for the next tide.  Seek out these edges as the tide changes.

Bill Jackson’s Fly Shop offers dozens of unique shrimp and crab flies in all colors and sizes. For the spin angler, we stock all the latest offerings from Z-Man, D.O.A., Live Target, Mirrolure and many more. We’d be happy to share our favorite tips and techniques during your next visit! Once you are outfitted, it is time to get out there, and catch a redfish.