They are not to common on the Southeast coast of Florida around Miami and Biscayne bay but there are some. Most were hatchlings planted by the Mote Marine Institute in the early to mid 90s as a plan to restock reds that were abundant over 40 years ago. Due to overfishing and other factors they disappeared from Biscayne bay. The reds that did survive and are there now are very large up to 25 pounds and have spawned smaller reds that we hope take permeant residence soon.
Redfish are light copper in color and progress down to a white belly underneath. They have a large head that tapers to a flat wide tail that is built for power. Most reds have a famous black spot on their tail that is characterized as a fake eye, but some reds have up to 100 blacks spots on them and it’s not uncommon to catch them here with 10 to 15 spots.
Reds are a gamefish in Florida and are a favorite for light spin and fly anglers because they are a strong fish, also they are aggressive and opportunistic feeders. For the angler that means they will eat a fly or lure easier that other fish.
Reds are normally bottom feeders on the grass flats. They bury their nose in the bottom and dig out shrimp and crabs buried in the grass roots which causes a mud plume, this is called mudding.
They will be found in 1 to 3 ft of water mudding , and tailing in shallower water less than a foot of water. Sting rays also root and eat off the bottom so we find redfish on the backs of stingrays looking for a free meal. Reds are not picky and will eat mullet, pilchards and any other baitfish that comes close to them.
At Flamingo in Florida bay we find tailing and mudding fish on the flats and channel edges year round. Most reds eat a Kwan shrimp style of fly or a small bait fish pattern. Also I like using certain 5 inch jerk shads to get a bight. We catch plenty of reds on Top-water lures during the spring and summer mullet run.
Reds spawn from September to November and flock to deeper water and channels to spawn. This is when using live shrimp and fishing with small jigs around structure in deeper water works best.
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