REDFISH (Sciaenops ocellatus)
*Florida’s Record is: 51 lbs., 8 ozs.
Central Florida, including Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River, Indian River, and the Tomoka Basin, is a worldwide fly fishing destination for redfish. The redfish is an inshore species that can be found in extremely shallow water; thus, making it a perfect target for sight fishing. Add this “hunting style” fishing with a fish that is a true brute in a fight, and you can understand why people want to fish for them. Redfish will readily accept flies, making them a perfect target for the long rod. When hooked, they will make long, strong runs, shake their heads, and put every knot that you have tied to the test. The redfish is the staple for many of the local guides. These fish average 4-5 pounds, but Mosquito Lagoon and the Banana River have one of the few “residential” populations, meaning that they do not go offshore to spawn. This entitles us to have shots at fish up to 50 pounds, in less than two feet of water. This is sight fishing at its best.
Fly Selection: Redfish feed on a variety of prey, including shrimp, crabs and baitfish. This wide variety of prey means that there is also a huge selection of flies that work on them. Here are 12 flies that our staff and professional guides recommend:
- Dupre Spoonfly
- Borski Bonefish Slider
- Captain Sassic’s Sassie Shrimp
- Redfish Toad
- Rattle Mullet
- Clouser Minnow
- Crease Popper
- Bubble Head
- Fishient Magnetic Minnow
- Fishient Polar Fibre Baitfish
- Fishient Mirror Image Bunker
Rod and Reel Selection: The standard rods that are used for redfish are 8-weight and 9-weight. Match that with a reel that balances the rod and will hold 150 yards of 20 pound to 30 pound dacron backing. A weight forward, floating line works best for most fishing conditions.