Redfish are famous flats prowlers -- known for working in schools in shallow water in every corner of the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Keys, and the East Coast from Florida to Virginia. But, you don’t have to be in 6 inches of water, out on a flat, to catch redfish. There’s a whole other world of exciting redfish action in the backcountry creeks and rivers -- especially in the Homosassa area.
We have countless creeks and several larger rivers in the Homosassa area that hold redfish year round. The Homosassa River, Crystal River, and St. Martins river are just a few of the major tributaries that offer great redfish fishing opportunities -- and each one has hundreds of smaller creeks and ponds that branch off of them that hold redfish as well.
It all looks fishy! How do I know where to fish?
Knowing where to fish in our creek and river systems has a lot to do with the tide level. If it’s high tide, redfish will push up to the exposed grassy areas in search of shrimp and crabs. If the tide is low, they will spend more time in deeper cuts and river bends that have moving water so as to ambush baitfish as the tide pushes them by. One thing to always be looking for is mullet school activity on the surface and for shrimp or baitfish to be jumping out of the water or disturbing the surface. These are sure signs that redfish will be somewhere close by.
This isn’t like sight fishing on that flats. Unless you have a flood tide (a tide that comes up high enough to flood the usually dry marsh grass), you normally won’t see redfish in the darker, deeper waters of our rivers and creeks. You just have to know what to look for and work the area.
What baits work best?
If you prefer natural baits, you can’t beat a shrimp on a jighead. That goes for high tide and for low tide in the rivers and creeks. Floating a live pinfish on a cork during low tide in a deeper cut is also deadly on river reds. When the tide dies, cut a pinfish in half and throw it out and let it sit in an area that you suspect has redfish. You may have to weed through a few catfish but redfish love dead bait on a slack tide.
If you’re throwing lures, nothing is more exciting than throwing a topwater plug, on high tide, along the edge of some barely flooded sawgrass. Again, this is especially effective if you are fishing and area with a lot of mullet activity on the surface. On low tide, 1/8thoz. And 1/4oz. jig head rigged with soft plastics are hard to beat in the deeper cuts. Work them slow and let them bounce off the bottom. The darker the water (stained) the darker the jig body you should be using.
Let’s go fishing!
If you’d like to learn our insider secrets on how to catch redfish in our river systems, call us to book a charter today. Fall fishing is just around the corner and the rivers will be running red with redfish.