The Good Old Dependable Redfish

11/03/2016 Craig Joyner

Georgia redfish with mark nobleAre you a Bass guy? Bet you are. I am too. Ever caught a 51- pounder or, for that matter, many or any over 10 pounds? Very few folks have although many think they have but that’s another subject for another column I have in mind. I’ve been promoting a new horizon for the Bass angler and have said so many times during our show productions. What’s that new horizon? Inshore Saltwater. This time, permit me to circle around a single ‘finny’ critter, the magnificent Redfish, and point you to two places where you can get it done and with whom. Just thought of another, so it’s really three.

First let’s talk about the fish and what to expect. The World Record is 94 pounds, caught many years ago. OK, enough about that. You’re not going to catch a new world record, just a few for the adventure and for the grill. The guy is dumb as a rock, he can be spooked and still will bite, is always hungry, is a survivor, grows rapidly, eats plastics, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, can be spotted in the shallows and is a target for casts and finally, is a fabulous table fish.


My largest is 51-pounds and I’ve included a photo from my trophy room. It’s a fiberglass replica, of course, because we weighed him and put him back to make other Redfish to catch later. I don’t care, just wanted you to see it. I was fishing in the Banana River near Cocoa Beach and saw this giant at the head of a school in about 2-feet of water, casted a small curly tail jig on 12-pound test line and he took it. After the hook set, the fish swam past the boat and my fabulous guide, Shawn Foster, also known as Doctor Drum, shouted, “That’s a 50 pounder”. It weighed 51- pounds. Ok, enough about me, what about you?


Let me direct you to two destinations for fall and winter fishing:


Fall! Oh, my goodness. 500 to 700 pounds a day? Yep. Georgia coast. Surprised? I was, but not now. From September through November in the shallow waters near the river mouths that flow into the bay, the Redfish gang up like I’ve never seen before and although you’re gonna beef up your tackle a bit because the fish are so large, it’s still sporting. The minimum length to keep a Red there is 27 inches.


Winter! After reading this, I’ll be expecting you to head to Pensacola Bay and Navarre Beach in December. I’m not sure exactly what happens but it’s something like this; when the river waters cool in December, it sends tons upon tons of bait down current into the bay. When this happens every year, hundreds of schools of Redfish, with thousands in each school, push the Pogies to the surface. Low and behold, when the surface feeding birds give you the signal of activity, you’ll motor over and begin casting and reeling large Road Runners tipped with plastics. Virtually every cast under the birds gets a hookup.



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