How to Catch a Bull Redfish


Redfish are a hard-fighting saltwater species that are popular with both conventional and fly anglers. The bull redfish are the larger sized fish that travel in groups and are more difficult to locate and catch. The bulls are trophy-class fish that require persistence and intimate knowledge of saltwater marshes and surf fishing. Timing is an important part of locating the bulls and anglers must make a delicate presentation to ensure the fish do not run.

Things You'll Need

  • Live bait
  • Artificial crab and shrimp lures
  • Focus your fishing efforts during the fall months. The large bull redfish enter the shallow waters to feed after the fall spawn. The fish begin leaving the shallow gulf coast waters during November. After the fall, bull redfish live in open water and are difficult to locate.

  • Search for schools of bull redfish in flooded marsh areas. Wait for the high tide to flood the marsh and use a boat to access the network of channels. Shrimp and crabs enter the marsh to feed on vegetation and the bull redfish follow to feed on the crustaceans.

  • Use live crabs and shrimp to entice a feeding frenzy. The realistic smell, motions and sounds created by the bait will encourage the group to search heavily for food. This presents the opportunity to catch multiple fish from the pod.

  • Work the edges of the pod to prevent spooking the group. Pick fish off the edges and apply pressure to remove the fish from the pod as soon as possible. Play the fish away from the pod and continue fishing the same group until they leave the area.

  • Save your bait and use artificial imitations when the fish are in a feeding frenzy. The artificial flies and lures will not strip from the hook and you may continue fishing without stopping to add fresh baits. This maximizes your efficiency when a school is present and the fishing is hot.

Tips & Warnings

  • Bull redfish concentrate in marsh areas, but you may also find fish around barrier islands, in shallow flats and in the surf. Change locations frequently until you are consistently locating fish.
  • Monitor the tides and leave the area before the low tide. Failure to leave may strand you on a sand bar for a long period of time.

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