In the winter, redfish are constantly on the move, and feeding often. By winter, the shrimp, as well as many other estuarine-dependent bait fishes have moved offshore to deeper waters.
Small blue crabs, stone crabs, fiddler crabs, and a few fishes make up the majority of a redfish’s diet in the winter. Using these as live baits, dead natural baits, or artificial baits and flies are highly successful in the colder winter days for redfish.
Where the Fish are in the Winter Months
In the winter, redfish will constantly be on the move to keep their metabolisms high. They will typically be residing in the deeper channels and basins throughout the morning and evenings for more stable water temperatures. They also travel farther upstream during this part of the year for the same reason – the stable influx of water is more temperature-stable than the more tidally influenced areas closer to the inlets. As the day heats up, the fish can be found sunning themselves in the shallows, an excellent opportunity for those winter flies and soft baits.
Catching Redfish in the Deep Channels and Basins
The deeper waters will be holding fish first thing in the morning, and throughout the evening hours. Work mainly the bottom and middle water column, as there will be a thermocline (a distinct line where a layer of colder, more dense water will be below a warmer layer) that the fish usually will not rise into about mid-way up the water.
Catching Redfish on the Flats
By midday, the fish should start to show up in the shallows, as the waters warm to a temperature they can tolerate. They will be searching for their usual crab diet, as well as any fish that are residing in the grasses for protection.
An Overview of Catching Redfish in the Wintertime
Almost an opposite approach of summer, fish the deeper channels and basins in the early and evening hours, and the shallow flats during the afternoon. Those deeper waters are more temperature-stable, and allow the fish to stay in the estuary all winter. Live baits, dead natural baits, soft baits, and flies are all effective wintertime tools for catching reds.