Everglades Fly Fishing Charters
Everglades & 10,000 Islands Fly Fishing and Light Tackle Charters • Captain Buddy Ferber • (239) 298-3863

Fishing for Redfish in the Everglades

Don’t underestimate Redfish: they’re a worthy opponent on the flats of the Florida Everglades.

everglades-fly-fishing62These fish can be an absolute blast to catch. Redfish (or Red Drum) hover near shallower waters where they feed on smaller marine life, like crustaceans and mollusks, while being protected from predators. And the shallower the water, the more intense the battle.

What you should know about Redfish

  • They’re found throughout the Everglades National Park and 10,000 Island National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Characteristics include a spot or spots near the tail, with bronze or reddish coloring and a white belly.
  • Most of these fish will be between 3 and 12 pounds. But the IGFA world record is 94 pounds, 2 ounces. This fish was caught off the coast of North Carolina. Florida’s all-tackle record is 60.75 pounds, with the IGFA fly rod record being 43 pounds.
  • Redfish can live for up to 60 years
  • Their diet is rich in shrimp and crabs

My method is to fish for them near oyster bars where small invertebrates and baitfish live. By focusing on the first hour or so of an incoming tide, you’ll be targeting the fish just as they’re waiting to get back in the exposed oyster bars and the mangrove root system.

We’ve had good success sight-casting to redfish tailing on the outer islands and in the shallow back bays. The trick to tailing is that you almost have to hit them on the head with your fly because they become so focused on looking for food along the bottom that they don’t notice anything else around them.

everglades-fly-fishing36Redfish stay in the Everglades year-round. Although they spawn in the fall, this doesn’t affect the fishing in any way. It’s just the large ‘Bull Reds’ that spawn, so the 3-to-12 pounders linger in the estuaries, back bays, coastal waters, and creeks.

Recommended tackle for redfish

Here are some flies that have been effective for catching redfish:

  • Clouser Minnows
  • Redfish Candy
  • Seaducers
  • Redfish Blossom
  • Poppers (oddly enough)
  • Mangrove Muddler
  • EP small baitfish patterns
  • Any crab or shrimp pattern from sizes 6 to 1/0.

While targeting redfish on a tour, you might also encounter Black Drum, Seatrout, Jack Crevalle, Mangrove Snapper, Grouper, and Lady Fish.  All these species will take a fly that’s presented well.

Summer brings the largest variety of game-fish to our coastal waters.  I also suggest using a fly that displaces water well (such as a Gurgler, Popper, or Muddler), if the water is off-color from wind, rain, or storms at sea.

Fishing for Redfish in the Everglades August 13, 2014

Let’s Go Fishing!

Captain Buddy Ferber
(239) 298-3863