IntraCoastal eXperience News

Destin Inshore Fishing for Redfish

Posted by Capt LW

Destin Inshore Fishing for Redfish conjures up the thoughts of hard fighting, bronze colored, spotted tail beauties. Well known up and down the southern gulf coast and the target of both recreational and tournament anglers, Destin’s Inshore Redfish is hands down the #1 most sought after inshore species of visitors to the Destin, Florida area. The Redfish is typically divided into two categories; slot sized and over slot sized which are often referred to as Bull Redfish. Both categories of Redfish follow a similar eating pattern yet differ in their desired respective inshore geographical locations.

The Redfish, commonly found in the Destin Inshore, are known as veracious inshore predators. They are defined by a broad-shouldered light silvery to bronze colored body with a very distinctive black dot located on both sides of its tail. It is said this black dot mimics a false eye to any apex predator such as a Shark or Dolphin while a Redfish is actively nose down feeding. The apex predator takes a bite at the Redfish’s tail as opposed to its head allowing the Redfish to swim away and live to feed another day. Redfish range in size from 12 inch up to 50 inches in length. Destin Slot Sized Redfish are 18 through 27 inches, while Over Slot Sized or Bull Redfish are any size over the Slot. Bull Redfish are considered breeder Redfish and are protected throughout the State of Florida from harvest. Destin Inshore Redfish can be caught year-round however their locations tend to vary by both times of year and by their respective size.


Where to Fish for Slot Sized and Over Slot Sized Redfish

Destin Inshore Fishing for Redfish within the slot size limit requires getting down and dirty in the areas they want to feed. Slot sized Redfish prefer the comfort of oyster beds, bridge pilings and docks. These structures all serve to provide the necessary cover Redfish come to love due to the fact they all provide an ambush area to the prey Redfish desire. All of these structures typically hold numerous amounts of oysters and barnacles which ultimately attract the prey Redfish covet. Finding these structures in water depths in excess of five feet is premium especially when there is an adjacent shallow water area nearby. Shallow water near a deep drop off around structure allows a feeding Redfish to eat its prey and quickly return to the comfortable depths of the deeper structure.

As Destin Redfish progress into the over slot size (Bull Redfish) category, they tend to change their desired habitats. Bull Redfish are also attracted to deep water structures, however they are more commonly found around bridges or in large schools in deeper areas of the Destin Inshore Bay. However they can also be found in large schools congregating within yards of the shoreline in the Inshore Gulf. The Bull Redfish found in the Inshore Gulf can be easily located by standing on the bow of a boat or from the second tower helm of most customized sight fishing boats. They will be readily visible between the first and second sand bars of most Destin, Florida beaches. The Bull Redfish in the Destin Inshore Bay make themselves easily detectable as they move in large schools herding schools of minnows to the surface. When the Bull Redfish herd these minnows to the surface seabirds are often attracted to this feeding and quickly identify the location of Bull Redfish.


Bait for Slot Sized & Bull Redfish

Once slot sized and Bull Redfish are found, all that’s left is present the appropriate baits to make both want to eat. Typically slot sized and Bull Redfish will eat the same baits. If you’re fishing around structures, Redfish are looking for crustaceans, such as shrimp and crabs. Most commonly, live shrimp or even fresh dead shrimp from a local fish market will get the job done. If you prefer to target Redfish with artificial bait, you can’t go wrong with any of the scented shrimp imitations. In the case of schooling Bull Redfish, a live bait offering such as a pinfish, finger mullet, menhaden or croaker will definitely close the deal. Artificial lures such as paddle tail swim baits, curly tail grubs or even deep diving trolling lures will also get you a hookup with a large Bull Redfish.


Destin Inshore Fishing is now in its mid season pattern and the Redfish are biting quite well. Being armed with the appropriate bait and tackle for any possible scenario is a must. Booking a Destin Inshore Fishing trip with one of our experienced fishing guides is one way to ensure your success in hooking your dream Redfish. However if you’re a local and/or a do it yourself visitor to our area, your next move should be to hit your favorite local bait shop for some live shrimp and/or artificial lures. In my case you can’t go wrong with the great folks over at The SALTY BASS BAIT & TACKLE SHOP. They are the “Hands Down Choice” for the liveliest shrimp and best artificial bait and tackle selection which have consistently caught me and my clients some of the best quality Redfish. Not to mention the owner/operator, Roy Ledbetter, can provide you with over 50 years of the best firsthand knowledge of what’s biting and how to catch your trophy!

Until Next Time Let’s Go Catch’em Up!!!

Capt LW
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