By: Eric Henson
This month I always call it “The Hunt for Red October” because I sight fished my biggest “Sarasota” redfish on a artificial lure this month a few years back… And this month generally has lots of big redfish in large numbers cruising our bays in search for their next meal. They also happen to be one of my favorite fish to target period because of their beautiful bronze color, their willingness to hunt in shallow waters they can barely swim in, and they will crush a lure or fly in a split second! Then once you’ve hooked up, hang on because the bigger ones don’t get the nickname bulls for no reason.
When these fish first start to pour into our bays from out in the ocean, they can be a lighter grey color but, as they start to feed on the grass flats they become that gold color which makes them a little easier to see. They have a huge variety in their diet from pilchards, pinfish, and mullet but, they also have crushers in the back of their throats which allows them to feed on crustaceans like shrimp, oysters, and crabs!
This fish is the ultimate predator uniquely designed to feed just about anywhere and on anything small enough to fit in its mouth. I’ve even found them in freshwater but, this time of year my favorite place to target them is out on the open grass flats in our bays. I like to use light tackle, whether it be spinning gear or fly with artificial baits that cover the entire water column from top to bottom. Another great place to target them is around structure or docks. Just make sure to beef up your tackle a bit because they are great at heading straight towards it soon as they cash their meal ticket!
As for now under FWC guidelines, you may not harvest any redfish in our area… And this is also a crucial time of year for spawning so, please handle these fish with the absolute love and care they deserve. Every bit of help will ensure that our redfish fishery will flourish in the future… Tight lines and Tight knots to everyone! Eric Henson is the owner of Casting Kayaks LLC. a guided kayak fishing company out of Sarasota Florida. He specializes in inshore light tackle or fly fishing from Tampa Bay to Charlotte Harbor. To book a guided fishing trip with Eric check out his website:
www.CastingKayaks.com or give him a call at 941-504-1349