Bull Redfish on the Gulf Coast - How, Where, and When to Catch Them

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Also, any sort of mid-water swimming plug will work, too. However, the simplest and often most effective lure for catching bull redfish is a white or chartreuse one- to two-ounce jig. Most anglers can cast these jigs a long way, which is good when the reds are working off the beach. And the single hook on a jig is much easier to remove when the big red has been caught and is ready for release.

Great Spots for Spot-Tails

A soft plastic trailer on the jig can make a big difference on strikes some days. This light tackle— anything less than lb test line and rods and reels heavy enough to handle big fish—can be loads of fun. But the super-light tackle means the bull reds end up being hooked and fighting for a long time. This can be hard on the big fish. Any kind of reel that will hold yards of lb or heavier line will work.

How to catch RED DRUM (Redfish) from Beach, Pier and Inshore Flats Fishing

Big bull redfish are not speedsters like big king mackerel. However, they will pull drag for a long distance, and they will do it time after time after being hooked. The big reds will not be feeding on top sometimes, but they are still around. Quite often, the big bull redfish will be holding deeper.

Bull Redfish Ruckus

When the wobbling plug comes by, they will smash it. Bull reds are too fine a fish to be caught just once. Photo courtesy of Ed Mashburn. Now, this is the hard part about catching big reds. Several big schools of bull reddish can be working in lots of places along the Alabama Coast from Florida to Mississippi state lines. Anglers just have to find the fish. For both boat anglers and shore-based folks, the easiest way to find the big reds is to look for birds diving into the water for baitfish.

This time of year, any big fish activity that drives bait to the surface where it can be worked by birds is almost certainly caused by bull redfish. There are a few traditionally solid places for shore-based anglers to start their bull redfish search.

The pass where Little Lagoon empties into the Gulf is a good place for shore anglers to find feeding bull reds. This is also a good spot for kayak anglers to put in and paddle out a couple of hundred yards to look for reds. The point of Fort Morgan is a very reliable place to find bull reds. As the tide sweeps past Fort Morgan, bull reds sometimes stack up on the drop-off where the shallows fall into deeper water. The emerald water just off the white sand beach of Coastal Alabama was perfectly clear in the sunshine. A pair of retirement-age snowbirds from Wisconsin walked along the beach enjoying the warmth of deep South Alabama when they saw something that caused them to walk faster along the beach.

As they drew closer, they noticed an angler following the slow movement of the golden patch of water. The angler was casting a bait into the patch of water. Then he hooked and battled a big, strong fish.


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  • Catch More Redfish?

The northern visitors got closer to the unexpected action. They soon realized what was occurring. Hundreds of big fish that were chasing a school of smaller baitfish caused the golden color of the water. The angler was smiling. The older man from Wisconsin was intrigued. The big reds are never shy about biting. Beach fishing at the Gulf is a splendid thing. Photo by Ed Mashburn. Around October is their peak spawning time, but a few will go a little later. Not only are they chasing anchovies, but menhaden make up a big part of their winter diet.

Menhaden are small, oily fish that are good for keeping up the reds winter energy. In fact, a bunch of big bull redfish feeding on smaller fish is one of the most impressive sights to be seen in the Gulf. Sometimes, the big reds will be right in the surf feeding, but most of the time they will be from 50 to a couple of hundred yards offshore.

At any rate, very often they are within casting distance for beach-bound anglers. One of the best things about bull reds, at least as far as we anglers are concerned, is their willingness to hit just about any kind of bait put before them. Any lure that is remotely close to the size of baitfish being chased will work. Top-water plugs are loads of fun to throw over feeding bull reds, and the reds will work hard trying to get the top-water plug into their mouths.

Also, any sort of mid-water swimming plug will work, too. However, the simplest and often most effective lure for catching bull redfish is a white or chartreuse one- to two-ounce jig. Most anglers can cast these jigs a long way, which is good when the reds are working off the beach.

And the single hook on a jig is much easier to remove when the big red has been caught and is ready for release. Whether it's the sudden, unmistakable bite of a redfish taking you buy full surprise or watching multiple reds fight over your bait, each will have you longing for more.

About Dorado

There are several methods for catching redfish. I would have to say that fly fishing is my favorite. In the spring and early to mid summer, our scattered islands and flats areas produce nice slot sized reds. In the fall, the "Bullreds" show up along our beaches in great numbers and provide ample opportunity for the fight of a lifetime on a fly rod.

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