I’m often asked the question, what is the best time of year to catch trophy redfish? Well, the answer is – right now! September is the month breeder redfish school up for the spawn in the Indian River Lagoons as well as inlet passes of Ponce and Sebastian, so it’s a good time to target these schools. September also marks the beginning of the fall bait migration, primarily silver mullet, which increase as we progress into October and November. It is hard to predict precisely when and how strong the run will be, but along with the arrival of the bait, come the predatory species we love so much. My lure selection for these breeder schools this time of year is a DOA Bait Buster with a single hook instead of trebles. I like the shallow runner in natural mullet colors when the school is near the water’s surface and the deep runner when fishing the deeper water of the inlets and nearshore.
Look for snook, tarpon, jack crevalle, sharks, and large kingfish crushing bait pods along the beach. Leaders can range from 30 to 80 pound fluorocarbon, plus it’s good to have some single strand steel leader to add a small piece to the business end for the toothy critters. The pods are easily located by watching for fish and birds busting the bait. Once you’ve determined the direction of fish movement, usually south, simply set up in front and let them come to you. This is my preferred time of year for targeting snook and tarpon along the beach. The beach snook run started last month with a few fish already showing up, and it will begin to pick up substantially, just in time for the opening of snook season on September 1st.