Of all the sport fish species in the state of Florida, redfish might just be the most popular overall. For most anglers, red fishing in Florida is high on their bucket list for plenty of reasons. It's no surprise our Performance Redfish Shirt is one of our best sellers!
It’s not uncommon to catch dozens of redfish in a single outing when the bite is on. I consider fishing in Florida for reds to be one of the most exciting during the warm months. Especially when they are in the shallows near the shoreline.
Redfish, also known as red’s, channel bass, and red drum, are on every stretch of coastline in the state of Florida. Anglers from all over the world flock to the Sunshine State once the bite gets hot. In late autumn giant reds will viciously strike at almost anything in reach during this time. This is my favorite time to throw top-water lures.
During the colder months, redfish move out into the deeper channels (hence the name channel bass). Once you’ve fought and landed a trophy over 20 pounds, you’ll understand why this species of fish is atop the list of “favorites” for anglers of all skill levels and backgrounds.
Where to Find Redfish?
Most fishermen know redfish as a “shallow water” species because they are most often found in water less than 10 feet in depth. Great spots to look for and find reds are usually where rivers spill into the ocean, flats and marshes, oyster bars, and just about any bays or sounds in the state of Florida.
For experienced anglers who have targeted redfish for many years, it doesn’t take much investigation to quickly seek out where they are schooled up, and where to find huge redfish that will test your skill with a rod and reel.
During colder weather, you can usually bet that redfish will move away from the shore and venture into deeper channels and around reefs or shipwrecks. They will slowly move in closer to the shallows once the weather warms and you can count on the Grand Finale of red fishing to take place in late October, November, and December.
How to Fish for Reds?
Years ago, before heavy regulations, people would come to Florida from all corners of the United States and load their boats with redfish. We hail them as one of the tastiest species of game fish in the world and there are countless recipes on the best ways to filet and cook redfish.
It didn’t take long for people to realize that Florida’s natural population of redfish were being depleted by commercial fishermen to fulfill the high demand for redfish from the many seafood restaurants all over the southeastern United States.
One of the main reasons redfish became so scarce was the ease with which most anglers can catch huge numbers of reds in a short amount of time. You can catch redfish on live bait, artificial lures and sometimes probably a bare hook. Let’s inspect the best ways to catch redfish in Florida.
Artificial Lures for Redfish in Florida
Perhaps the most popular method of catching redfish in the Sunshine State is by using artificial lures during the late fall and early winter when they are nailing top-water and other types of bait in the shallows around the state.
Since redfish is a species of bass, you can’t go wrong using anything that remotely resembles a baitfish to catch reds, especially when they are in the shallows during the late season. A wide range of deep diving plugs can catch redfish that are hanging out in deep channels during the cold weather months, but you can also target them with nearly any kind of lure you want during the warmer months.
Plastic baits and jigs are effective on redfish just about any time of year. However, I and most anglers who fish for them think red fishing is most exciting when using top-water lures late in the year.
Redfish will annihilate anything that includes poppers, spoons, buzz baits and everything else top-water during the late season. This is the main reason they are such a popular fish for sportsmen to target.
There’s nothing like watching a giant redfish home in on a top-water plug and strike with amazing force and precision. Couple that with their surprising ability to bend a rod and yank off half a spool of line in no time and it will become clear why reds are the king of the shallow water fisheries in Florida.
Live Baits for Redfish in Florida
As you might expect, you can have plenty of success fishing for redfish in Florida using live bait. Reds will hit just about anything that normal shallow-water game fish go after such as live shrimp, minnows, and especially mullet.
Redfish are so easy to catch on live bait rigged just about any way you want. Novice anglers will find great success using any of the baits listed above.
If you plan to do some bottom fishing when redfish are deeper around reefs, you can catch them on a simple drop shot or bottom fishing rig with cut bait like mullet or cigar minnows.
Tips for Catching Red Drum in Florida
Most seasoned anglers know that there are some specific tips you’ll want to stick with for catching reds throughout the year and most will agree on a few tried-and-true methods.
- Stay with the tide as it pushes baitfish further in and out of the shallows.
- Fishing anytime near a full moon is always great.
- Look for areas where the baitfish are plentiful.
- Be quiet and stealthy. Large redfish have keen senses and will spook easily if you make too much noise and move in too quickly.
If you’re planning a trip to go red fishing in Florida soon, I hope these tips are useful to experience the rush of red fishing in the Sunshine State!
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The Flounder might be low on most sportfishing anglers’ bucket list for a number of reasons. They aren’t known to grow especially large, and flounder aren’t exactly the most visually appealing fish, but there’s one thing about this particular sport fish that keeps most fishermen coming back—the fight.
Flounders, also known as flukes or flatfish, have a reputation for viciously attacking any type of baitfish or other creature that comes near them with impressive veracity. Their body’s shape allows them to gain considerable traction when pulling against a reel and fishing for this species can be surprisingly enjoyable when you’re looking for something out of the norm that you can still throw into the skillet.
Despite their floundering reputation among most sport fishermen, flatfish can actually grow to be quite large, and knowing how to fish for flounder can lead you to catch a monster flatfish. A trophy flounder might tip the scales at more than 20 pounds and would be photo-worthy for anyone, regardless of their hideous looks.
Where to catch flounder?
There are a few schools of thought on how to catch flounder. Finding and catching them consistently really depends on what time of year you’re fishing as the water temperature dictates their behavior to an extent.
During warm months in early spring or summer, flukes are known to stick close to the shoreline. Beach-goers often get excited when they almost step on a flounder that’s carefully hidden beneath the sandy bottom only to watch it dash away, leaving a cloud of sand behind.
Flounder fishing can be quite easy for most anglers during this time. Most people fishing in the surf have probably caught a flatfish or two when targeting other, larger species of game fish near the shoreline.
However, when the water temperature drops below about 60 degrees, you’ll have a tougher time finding and catching these fish as they will move into deeper water and hang out near shipwrecks and reefs.
How to fish for flounder?
When targeting flounder, you’ll want to be geared toward light tackle. If you have an open-faced bass fishing rig spooled with 10-pound test line, you’re already set up to hit the water in search of these fish lying beneath the sandy bottom.
Flatfish anglers will use a drop-shot style rig with a rounded sinker to avoid getting snagged on anything. The great thing about flounder is they are not known to be picky eaters. Most folks will rig their hooks with live shrimp or minnows, but many fishermen have reported high success rates with artificial baits as well.
What kind of bait should I use for flounder?
If you plan to specifically target these species of game fish, you’ll want to stick to finger mullet, pinfish, croakers, or menhaden. You can’t go wrong by catching your own bait at low tide.
Shrimp-style artificials work best when slowly dragged across the bottom where you expect to find flounder. For live bait setups, you’ll want to give the fish a few seconds to chew before reeling them in. And remember, there’s no need to be too aggressive with these fish, simply wind the slack down tight and lift up on the rod tip to get the fight going.
The key to consistently catching flukes, whether you’re using artificial or live bait, is to work it slowly. According to most flounder fishing experts, the slower the better.
Where to fish for flounder?
You can find flounder on just about any stretch of coastline from Maine to Florida, as well as the Gulf Coast. They are especially popular in North Carolina and the Atlantic side of Florida.
If you want to know how to catch flatfish like the guides that do it on a consistent basis, you’ll want to think like a predator fish that relies on ambush to score its prey. Seek out high traffic areas where lots of small baitfish usually swim through.
Flounder are known for staying close to river areas, especially ones that offer structure or ledges where they can better conceal themselves. They’ll burrow down into the bottom and use their eyes to watch for approaching prey to swim within striking distance.
Some anglers have hit paydirt when it comes to fluke fishing. Ask any reputable fishing guide who routinely targets them and they’ll tell you that ledges are key when it comes to finding the best spots for flounder fishing.
If the water is especially clear, you can often see the outlines or imprints where flatfish have been lying in the sand, which should give you the drop on them the next time you plan to fish that area.
How to fight and land a flounder
They usually hang out in small schools or groups, so if you catch one, you can bank on the fact that there are others nearby. You should be targeting ledges, so make sure you cast parallel to the drop-offs to keep your bait in the strike zone longer. They will hit the bait as it falls when you’re bouncing it along the bottom.
When you feel one begins to bite, make sure you give it ample time to “chew” the bait or you’ll risk losing the fish. Once you feel one nibbling, you’ll simply wind down and lift up on the rod tip.
Flounder are not known for being the toughest pound-for-pound fighters, but you should expect them to pull rather hard at the beginning right after they’re hooked. The fight usually doesn’t last very long before the fluke will tire out and give in.
Follow these tips and tactics on how to fish for flounder and you’ll be catching them on a consistent basis before you know it!
Planning what to wear fishing on your next trip is often overlooked and can make or break the entire experience. I have put together a guide below to ensure it’s enjoyable. To start, let us look at the fundamentals of fishing attire.
- Hat: A trucker's cap will allow airflow if you have a full head of hair. However, if you’re bald or have a short haircut, a regular hat without mesh is better sun protection for your scalp.
- Glasses: When out on the water you have to protect your eyes from direct sunlight, and the sun's glare bouncing off the water.
- Buff/Face Mask: Finally, there is protection for your neck and face. Buffs are a necessity and you can wear them in many ways.
- Performance Long Sleeve Shirt: Protecting your body from the sun is the most important. Your arms, shoulders, neck, and back get the most sun after your face.
- Shorts: Lightweight board shorts will keep you cool and dry throughout your fishing trip.
- Rain Gear: Mother nature has a mind of her own. At the very least, I recommend always taking a rain jacket. Although if you’re caught in a bad storm, having the full suit will keep you comfortable through the worst of it.
- Wind Breaker: Depending on the time of year if you will have an early morning start, it could get chilly while the boat is running. A good windbreaker will kill that wind chill.
What To Wear On A Fishing Charter?
The deep-sea can be more challenging, and you could chase some much larger and stronger fish. I recommend a couple of specialty items to prepare you for your next fishing charter.
- Boots: Boats can get bloody when charter fishing. Most captains will wash the blood off right away to avoid stains. It's best to keep your feet dry and not waste a pair of shoes.
- Fish Handling Gloves: I would count on you catching and holding some large fish right? It’s important to keep your hands safe from any sharp spines, gills, and teeth when handling big squirming fish.
What To Wear Fly Fishing/ Inshore?
I find fly fishing and inshore fishing to be very precise. The clothing you take with you must prepare you to have fun and catch fish. I find these unique clothes equip me for every fishing trip on the flats.
- Sun Gloves (stripping gloves): Skiffs rarely have canopies like larger boats. Additional to sun protection, these lightweight gloves protect your fingers when fighting fish on a fly line.
- Sneakers: You won’t be washing a lot of blood off the boat so your shoes should survive the trip. To please your captain, remember to wear white rubber-soled non-skid shoes.
- Performance Long Sleeve Hoodie: I think the most valuable piece of clothing in this article is the long sleeve performance hoodie. This is a relatively new article of clothing in the fishing world and is taking over the sport. The amount of lightweight sun protection you get from these shirts is irreplaceable.
- Polarized Glasses: When fishing the flats, you need to cut the glare on the water to spot fish. When you have a hook flying around the boat, eventually someone will get whacked by it. I highly recommend always wearing glasses when fly fishing.
- Pants (optional): There are muggy days close to mangroves that bugs can ruin a trip. In that case, a pair of lightweight fishing pants will protect you from the bugs and the sun. They even make hybrid fishing pants that unzip into shorts if you're worried about getting too hot.
What Woman Wear When Fishing?
I think it's safe to say when women plan to go fishing they gravitate towards wearing a bikini or other swimsuit. Although this would create the best Instagram photo, it will not protect you from the sun. I recommend women follow the same guide as stated above.
However, there could be a happy medium. I’ve seen a ton of photos of ladies fishing with proper fishing attire and one difference; a bikini bottom instead of shorts. This will keep you cool, comfortable, and photo-ready to show off your big catch.
What Should Kids Wear When Fishing?
If you’re thinking about bringing your whole family along on your next trip but don’t know what kids should wear, don't stress it. This is not a reason to keep your kids from enjoying a fishing trip. I would follow the same guide above, just get fishing shirts specifically for kids among all the other pieces of clothing.
When searching for the best lure for peacock bass, I think it’s important to note some characteristics regarding the way they eat first. Peacock bass are powerful and aggressive when eating or protecting their offspring.
Because of that, they react instinctively, using their strength to attack quickly. When working any bait for peacock bass, you want it to move quickly to induce that reaction bite and give them little time to think about it.
Catching a peacock bass with a topwater lure will easily be the most fun approach. However, it won’t be the most productive. You won’t catch as many fish because peacock bass are mostly searching for prey subsurface.
Plus, topwater lures have a low hook up ratio because of missed eats. With that in mind, I would recommend throwing a topwater lure after you’ve already caught a couple of peacocks.
The Hedon Zara Spook is a classic walk the dog topwater plug that will call the attention to any nearby peacock bass. Any color variation with white or silver (for more flash) on the bottom is ideal. Fish and frogs have white undersides and would look like a perfect meal to a peacock bass.
To produce the most fish when targeting peacock bass, I would have a jerk bait tied on. The sporadic movement coupled with flashy colors is irresistible to most peacock bass.
Rapala has nailed it with the Husky Jerk and the X- Rap. Both subsurface jerk baits continue to produce time and time again. I would stay stocked up on the gold/black or silver/black as my go-to. However, any color variation with a light or flashy belly and a dark back will get the job done.
Rarely, peacock bass will be in a stagnant mood. They may deny everything you throw at them, leaving you extremely frustrated. The counterpunch is to toss a jig and bounce it across their face.
Although they aren’t looking to eat, that up and down movement right in their face triggers their instinct to attack. Bucktail jigs are my go-to. A white or pink paired with a little flash is one of the best color lures for peacock bass period!
Fly fishing has drastically evolved over the last few years. However, when targeting peacock bass, the principles are still the same. You want a baitfish pattern that has bright colors and a little flash tied on to induce that reaction bite.
The clouser is a staple pattern worldwide and proves its fame with peacock bass too. A simple white and chartreuse clouser with medium dumbbell eyes and a little flash will have the peacock bass fighting for your fly.
The little added weight in the dumbbell eyes will give you the best of both worlds between a jerk bait and a jig. With that mixture, it could easily be the best way to target peacock bass. I will leave that to you to decide.