Fly Fishing for Redfish (Tips & Beginner’s Guide)

 When it comes to saltwater fly fishing, redfish is one of the best choices for a beginner angler. Not only are redfish easy to spot, but they also put up a good fight and are available all year round.

These factors make redfish to be an excellent game for fly fishermen. As a beginner fly fisherman, you need to follow the proper steps to catch redfish successfully.

This is why we have put together a beginner’s guide that contains helpful tips to help you in your career as a fly fisherman for redfish. 

fly fishing for redfish
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Where to Find Redfish?

Knowing where to find redfish is crucial to your fishing experience as this knowledge enables you to fish in the right areas. Redfish are a coastal species of fish native to the coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Southern Atlantic.

Therefore, you can find redfish in areas such as South Florida, East Central Florida, South Texas, and Louisiana. Also known as Red Drum, redfish usually swim in the same area as Black Drum.

Redfish can also be found in saltwater marshes created by the Mississippi River. Redfish are known to move to shallow water in search of food and cooler weather. 

When is The Best Time for Fly Fishing for Redfish

Timing is important when it comes to saltwater fly fishing. Timing your fly fish session properly will increase your chances of making a catch.

The great thing about fly fishing for redfish is that you can make a catch all year long. However, the best season for fly fishing for redfish is fall.

You are most likely to come across the larger bull reds in the fall season. We have explained below what you should expect when fly fishing in different seasons. 


Spring offers you the largest volume of redfish that you can get in any season. If you are looking to catch plenty of redfish in one fishing trip, you should go fly fishing in spring.

This is because redfish are usually aggressive and active in this period due to the warm water. You can find a large school of redfish together in the water.

In spring, you are most likely to find redfish looking for food to eat along the shoreline and in shallow ponds.


It is highly recommended that you do your fly fishing for redfish in summer if you are looking for big bulls and other species of redfish.

In this season, you can be sure to come across a wide range of species to fish from. Summer represents the best time to fly fish for redfish on topwater.

In the summer months, fishing in the morning is your best option, as the redfish are likely to stop biting when it gets really hot.


Fall is regarded as the best season to go fly fishing for redfish, and for the right reasons. This is when the larger bull reds come out in search of food as they prepare for the cold winter months.

Therefore, you are sure of schools of bull redfish grouping up to hunt. While you might not get the large volume of redfish that comes with springs, fall always offers the fattest and biggest reds.

Just like with summer, redfish can also be caught on topwater. Weather is usually unpredictable during this season, so it is best to make adequate preparations before your fishing trip. 


Although catching large quantities of fish is unlikely during winter, you can still get some big bulls in this season.

Target drainages and bayous in the winter months, as redfish usually find their way there after leaving their marsh habitat. Be sure to wear protective gear to keep you safe from the harsh cold. 

Fly Fishing Gear for Redfish

Redfish are strong fighters. However, they do not boast of incredible stamina or the explosiveness of tarpons.

As such, you will have no problem catching them with proper gear. The quality of your gear is essential to your fishing experience, as saltwater can be harsh on tackle. 

Get a reliable rod, as this equipment is crucial to your reeling and casting. If you are fishing in shallow water for small fish, an 8-weight rod will get the job done.

If you are fishing in an area where you have to deal with wind, a 9-weight rod is your best bet. A 10-weight rod is perfect for big bulls over twenty pounds. You also need a fly line of the best quality, particularly one with rear and front tapers.

Ensure that your fly line has resistance against the wind and is effective when dealing with large flies. To complete your terminal tackle, choose fly reels with good drag and leaders to protect your fly line. 

Choosing Your Fly

Redfish feed on a variety of things ranging from shrimp, and baitfish to crabs. Although they are not picky eaters, it is still important to choose your fly wisely.

Some of the best flies are crab fly, shrimp fly, poppers, spoon fly, and clouser minnows. The color of the fly is an important factor to consider before choosing. This is in order to match the water clarity. For clear water, it is best to use light color flies.

On the other hand, dirty water is best fished using dark flies. Light color flies stand out in clear water, and the silhouette of dark flies gives them visibility in dirty water. The size of the redfish should also be considered when choosing flies. 

Tips For Redfish Fly Fishing 

As a beginner fly fisherman for redfish, you need these tips to understand the basics of this form of fly fishing. 

  • Expect A Fight: One of the most exciting things about fly fishing for redfish is their strength and willingness to put up a fight. While they will not take you deep into your backing like bonefish, you can expect them to fight you fiercely. Once they spot your fly, they will open up their mouth and take it. 
  • Consider Fishing The Flats: Flat fishing is a great way to go sight fishing for redfish. With flat boats, casting can be done within 50 feet. You need to ensure to scan the course with your eyes, particularly when fishing in shallow waters. Spend time watching out for the body, tail, or wake of redfish.
  • Do Not Rock Your Boat: This tip is important when fishing in shallow water. It is important to avoid rocking your boat, as you might end up spooking the redfish. Make sure to be extra quiet whenever it is time to cast. 


With the availability of games all year round, fly fishing for redfish offers a lot of fun for fly fishermen. All you need to do is get the essential fishing gear to enjoy the best performance.

You should also consider getting a fishing guide if you intend to fish the flats for the first time. Do not forget to wear suitable clothing and use protective items like sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen.

Once you do all of this, you can have the best fishing experience.

Daniel O’Neill
Fishing Expert
Daniel specializes in fly, predator, and saltwater angling. He has practiced angling from a young age, quickly developing his knowledge of fishing fundamentals. His angling journey began in Ireland, primarily targeting rainbow trout on a fly rod. His passion for angling grew extensively as he ventured into other forms of fishing. He primarily targets freshwater and saltwater destinations in Ireland and the UK. His favorite catch to date was a 7lb / 3.6KG thick-lipped mullet from the Northern Irish coast—a prized fish to target on a fly rod. He is now the owner of DON Angling, a business that intends to inform and educate anglers on the best techniques, methods, and etiquette available.
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