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Fall Redfish around the Big Bend

Capt. Mike Locklear
September 29, 2010
Homosassa - Saltwater Fishing Report

"Fall redfish on the Nature Coast are always more abundant and in larger migratory schools. This year, most of the redfish showed up a little late, a few days after new moon of September. This means the redfish should be here well into October until we get a cool snap and that could send them headed offshore.

You can find them in several well-known places such as the St. Martins Keys, the Suncoast Keys and the spoil banks off Progress Energy Complex(PEC). Our redfish also like the "moon rock" or limestone outcroppings and oyster bars to hang out and feed on crabs, shrimp and fin-fish like pin fish or pig fish.

The best techniques to approach an area such as the St. Martins and Suncoast Keys are to come in on a half made incoming tide near the new or full moon. Pay attention to wind direction. The Nature Coast best wind for reds is anything southerly. Easterly winds are just so tough, sometimes, it is hard to produce unless you are using something live such as shrimp or pinfish. Cut ladyfish or mullet provides a smell to otherwise non-biters from a visual stance.

The 94 series surface water walker MirrOlures like the Top Dog (94M-808) are so effective on large schools, you need to remove the trebles and put on a single hook (3/0 SSW Owner Hook) . Also, the red head/white body is the best daylight plug (94M-11) to use and later in the day go with darker colors in black backs, gold sides and orange bellies. Make sure you use at least 30-pound leader if you do not want to lose your lure too quickly.

The spoil banks around PEC, it is best to slow troll the banks with an electric trolling motor and toss gold or silver 1/2 oz. spoons. As the water can be a little more turbid, deeper and murky than the pristine gin clear flats from Homosassa to Bayport.

My favorite fly is a brown one with some gold mixed in and kind of heavy like a jig. If the redfish are in a huge school, of say 200 fish, then a yellow fly with a few stands of silver flashabou and tied on a 1/0 hook is perfect. Strip it fast through the fish and they will eat it like honey on a buttered biscuit.

8-9 or 10-weight G-Loomis or TBO fly rods with a 10-foot tapered fluorocarbon leader. The reel to use is either a White River, Ross or Tibor. Less expensive reels like White River work as well as a more expensive Tibor for redfish unless they are monsters. Mostly, a floating weight-forward line by Cortland such as the 444 Tropic Plus is the winner in my experience.

Most redfish this year have been from 28-inches to 36-inches and must be released to spawn and fight another day. Size limits in Florida are from 18-27 inches with the tail pinched, not relaxed as in prior management rules."

The same goes for fishing techniques on the Forgotten Coast!

Get out there and go fishing if you can, because it is good fer ya!(Ernie Lee)

Capt. Mike Locklear
352-422-1927 Mobile
Homosassa, FL.
Apalachicola, FL

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