The fall season is perhaps the most common season for chasing redfish, especially the big ones, often called “Bulls.” The reason for this is simple – redfish spawn in the fall. This means that there are a lot of big fish in one place. The fall weather usually brings plenty of wind and rain, making water clarity less appealing for using flies. Using live bait, cut natural bait such as mullet or ladyfish, or scented soft baits are a good choice when water clarity is low. Spoons can also be very effective during this time of year if you have located a school, and the spoon will be close enough for the fish to see.
Where the Fish are in the Fall Months
The large adults typically spawn near the ocean inlets and jetties, where the higher salt content is optimal for egg and larval development. In some areas such as northeast Florida, bull redfish may even spawn far out at sea, as they have been found as far as 30 miles offshore. In other areas such as the Indian River Lagoon, the fish won’t venture very far, and most actually spend the entire year – spawning and all – within the lagoon system. Because the fish are near the inlets and jetties during this time of year, it is common to catch large redfish from the beaches near those sites, especially during the fall mullet run, when thousands of striped and white mullet venture south searching for warmer waters. The fish will be highly motile still, and can often be found in the shallow flats or mangroves upriver in the earlier parts of the day.
Catching Redfish on the Flats
Redfish will still be taking advantage of the abundance of juvenile crabs from the spring and summer blue crab spawns, as well as the always abundant fiddler crabs, and can be seen tailing the flats in search of them on the bottom. Look for the fish on the moving tides, as they swim in and out of the grassy areas. Catching Redfish in the Inlets
The inlets are the primary spawning grounds for most areas. Fish either the incoming or outgoing tides in the inlet, near the jetties, or the edge of the channels. Since you will be fishing a spawning aggregation, plan on most of your fish being way over slot-limit sizes!
Catching Redfish on the Beaches
Redfish will be in close proximity to the beaches during the fall, as they will be spawning close by just inside the ocean inlets. Many redfish will be traveling the beaches during this time of the year searching for larger prey such as mullet, as they migrate south looking for warmer water.
An Overview of Catching Redfish in the Fall
The fish are large, aggregated for spawning, and can be found in a wide variety of places. One thing to remember is that since the water clarity will be less during this time of year, match your bait or lures to overcome this.