The first step in targeting a specific species of fish is to know what they like. A red fish or red drum likes;
• Water temperatures between 70 through 85 degrees
• Oyster bars
• Grass flats/mud flats
• Mangrove roots
• Abundant forage
Florida red fish seem to be most active and ready to eat when the water temperatures are between 70 and 85 degrees. They also seem to shut down their feeding when the water temperatures get below 60 degrees. So a fisherman should definitely carry a thermometer if they’re fishing from shore or a boat that doesn’t already have one.
Red drum like oyster bars. They will used their tough heads to move oyster clumps out of the way to get at the marine worms, shrimp and mud crabs that are usually under the big groups of oysters.
Another red drum haunt is grass flats. They love to forage for small fish, crabs and other crustaceans that hide in the sea grass. Large schools can be seen certain times of the year cruising the shallow grass flats around Florida. They also like to search mud flats for prey. Often they will be the first predators to venture up onto a mud flat but they will leave as soon as the first sharks appear.
In the more southerly parts of Florida, red fish can be found among the mangrove roots at high tide. They will pluck crabs, shrimp and small fish from among the roots whenever they get a chance.
Anytime a fisherman can find a red fish’s preferred prey items they can usually find red fish nearby. Large amounts of shrimp in the sea grass will undoubtedly draw the red fish in. Any large groups of fish like mullet, sardines, glass minnows, pilchards, pin fish… will also attract red fish.
The 3 best lures to catch a red drum depends upon the angler but this fisherman prefers;
• Scented plastics
• Gold spoons
• Spinner baits
Red fish have four nostrils which tells you that their olfactory system is very important to them. A stinky scented soft plastic is an excellent choice to catch a red fish with.
Gold spoons are very shiny and put out a lot of vibrations that are picked up by the lateral lines of fish. For some reason the gold spoons seem to work better than silver spoons for red drum.
A spinner bait is another great artificial lure to catch a red drum with. The spinner bait will put out a tremendous amount of vibrations attracting predators from quite a distance. The shine and movement of the spinner bait can be irresistible to red drums in shallow water.