Fly Fishing for Redfish

Redfish

Etelis oculatus

Saltwater
Fly Fishing for Redfish

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Flies

Clouser Minnow

Crab Pattern

Sand Eel

Shrimp Pattern

Rods

AFTMA 6 to AFTMA 9

Where you can find Redfish

On this map you see where there were observations of Redfish around the world, to give you an idea in which continents, countries and waters you can find this fish species.

Years 2000 until now, source: GBIF

How to fly fish for redfish

Redfish, also known as red drum, are a popular target for fly anglers due to their aggressive feeding habits and ability to withstand a strong fight. They inhabit coastal waters and are well-known for their characteristic tailing behavior when feeding.

When gearing up for redfish, an 6 to 9-weight fly rod and reel with a smooth drag system are typically recommended. A weight-forward floating line is often preferred, and a 9 to 12-foot leader with a stiff butt section can help turn over large flies in windy conditions.

Fly fishing for redfish involves a lot of sight fishing. The fish can be spotted by their tailing behavior as they dig in the bottom for food. Sight fishing requires stealth and precision. Approach the fish quietly and make your cast without alarming them. It's best to cast your fly ahead of the fish and retrieve it to cross their path.

Redfish feed on the bottom, so your fly must sink quickly to their level. Once a redfish takes your fly, set the hook with a firm strip set and prepare for a powerful fight.

What are the best flies for redfish?

Here are some of the most effective flies:

  1. Crab Pattern – Redfish love to eat crabs, so any fly that can mimic a crab is a good choice. Flies like the Merkin Crab and Turneffe Crab are great options.
  2. Shrimp Pattern – Shrimp make up a significant part of a redfish's diet. The Kwan and EP Shrimp are reliable shrimp imitations.
  3. Clouser Minnow – This versatile fly is effective for many species, including redfish. It sinks quickly and mimics a variety of baitfish.
  4. Bendback – The Bendback is an excellent choice for fishing over grassy flats. Its design prevents it from snagging on the bottom.
  5. Gurgler – This topwater fly can trigger exciting surface strikes when redfish are feeding in shallow water.

Top locations for redfish

Redfish inhabit coastal waters from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic coast. Notable locations include Louisiana's marshes, which hold some of the largest redfish populations. Florida's Mosquito Lagoon is often called the Redfish Capital of the World. Texas also has abundant redfish in its coastal flats and bays.

Conservation considerations

While many areas allow anglers to keep a limited number of redfish, catch and release are encouraged to preserve the population. When handling redfish, wet your hands to protect their slime layer, avoid lifting them vertically, and ensure they're fully revived before release.

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Flies that you can use to fly fish for Redfish

Clouser Minnow

Crab Pattern

Sand Eel

Shrimp Pattern

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Countries where you can fly fish for Redfish

🇺🇸 United States

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