Redfish is perhaps my favorite species to target, for a variety of reasons. They’re fun to hunt, they fight like crazy, and they taste delicious. Fly fishing for redfish, though, takes that excitement to a whole new level. Keep reading for a few tips on how to target tailspots on the fly.
For the most part, redfish love warm water inlets, bays, marshes and estuaries from Maryland to Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico on down to Northern Mexico. Along these areas, they not only feed heavily on baitfish but can also find secluded areas for the spawning season in the fall.
Due to their preference of shallow waters, the preferred method of catching redfish tends to be sight fishing. Anglers will commonly stalk shallow waters searching for their tell-tale (literally) signs of feeding, during which their tails poke out of the water while their mouths dig through vegetation and sand for food.
Generally, redfish feed on shrimp, small baitfish and crabs, so crab imitating flies, as well as streamers, will work well. I’d also check with local bait shops and guides, though, to get a good idea of what’s working in a given area during a certain time of the year. Using such flies on an 8- to 10-weight fly rod in the marshes will get you started on the right foot. If you’re in open water, though, and need to cover more of the surface to get to distant fish, it might be smart to move up to 10- to 12-weights, which will also handle larger fish better.
Sometimes the best way to locate fish is either relying on a good guide to put you on a good spot, or perching high above the water to locate them. If sight fishing isn’t your thing, though, you can also find good luck hunting around marsh edges on an outgoing tide. The action here can be a blast on smaller rods and tackle.
Like most fish, reds are quite an experience on the fly. The lighter tackle and sniper-like casting that goes along with fly fishing for redfish only augment the thrill of the experience, and make for a venture that any angler should try out.