Best 9 Baits for Redfish Fishing


fishing for redfish

Best 9 Redfish Fishing Baits

This post will list the best next redfish fishing baits. Redfish, also known as red drum, are a very popular inshore saltwater species. They are found along the United States coastline from Texas to the mid Atlantic. Redfish can be caught using a variety of natural and artificial baits.

Anglers fishing for redfish can be successful using a variety of tackle options. Most choose spinning tackle due to its versatility. Anglers chasing larger redfish from the surf or in areas such as Louisiana where larger fish are found often opt for conventional gear. Anglers fly fishing for redfish can certainly be successful as well.

redfish fishing baits

Best 9 redfish fishing baits

My name is Capt. Jim Klopfer and I’m of fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida. I have caught redfish here as well is my home state of Maryland where I grew up. In this article I will share my favorite redfish fishing baits, both natural and artificial. By no means is this a complete list, but instead just the best 9 redfish fishing baits from my own personal experience.

redfish fishing baits

The best 9 redfish fishing baits are;

  • shrimp

  • jig and grub combo

  • live bait fish

  • Gulp baits

  • crabs

  • weedless spoon

  • cut bait

  • jerkbait

  • Clouser Minnow fly

These redfish fishing baits produce fish in any situation that an angler will find themselves in, fishing the shallow flats casting in heavy surf.

Shrimp for redfish fishing

saltwater fishing with shrimp

Shrimp are number one on my list of best nine redfish fishing baits. Part of this has to do with the fact that I live and fish in Florida. In fact, and most of the range in which redfish live, shrimp make up a substantial part of their diet. Both live shrimp and dead shrimp can be effective, depending on the situation.

One advantage anglers have when using shrimp when fishing for redfish is the availability. Every bait and tackle shop in areas where redfish live will have either live or frozen shrimp, usually both. Live shrimp works very well when fished under a noisy float, called a popping cork.

Fishing with popping corks

Click this link to read my article on fishing with popping corks

Shrimp do not have to be alive to be productive as a redfish fishing bait. Fresh shrimp that have died will put out a tremendous amount of scent in the water. Anglers can use them when fishing structure such as docks and bridges as well as oyster bars and in the surf. Savvy anglers also use a sized piece of shrimp to tip a jig, especially in murky water conditions.

jig tipped with shrimp

Jig and grub combo for redfish fishing

Next on my list of best nine redfish fishing baits is the jig and grub combination. If forced to fish with only one bait for redfish for the rest of my life, this is what I would choose. While shrimp and other natural baits are very effective, I really enjoy the fun and challenge of casting artificial lures.

redfish lures

The jig and grub combo realistically mimic crustaceans such as crab and shrimp as it bounces along the bottom. Anglers using lures also have the advantage of covering a lot more water then they can when using natural bait. The heavier jig also comes in handy when sight fishing for redfish as they cast much farther. I like the Bass Assassin line of jig heads and bodies.

Check out these redfish fishing tips!

Jig heads and grub bodies come in an endless variety of styles, shapes, sizes, and colors. For all intents, they basically work the same. I like a 1/16 ounce jig head with a stout hook in shallow water and a 1/4 ounce jig head when fishing deeper. A 3 inch to 4 inch grub body with a shad style tail or shrimp tail is an excellent choice. Natural colors work well in clear water while brighter colors such as chartreuse and pink are best in stained water.

Live bait fish for redfish

chumming with live bait

Big fish eat little fish, it is the way of nature. Therefore, live bait fish certainly belong on the list of best nine redfish fishing baits. The type of bait fish that can be used will vary depending on the region being fished. Redfish will naturally feed on whatever forage is available in a particular region.

Anglers can purchase Capt Jim’s E-book, “Inshore Saltwater Fishing” for $5 by clicking on the title link. It is 23,000 words long and covers tackle, tactics, and species.

Finger mullet, pin fish, grunts, threadfin herring, mud minnows, and scaled sardines are a few of the most popular live bait fish that anglers use when chasing redfish. Some can be purchased at bait shops, particularly mud minnows and pin fish. However, most anglers probably catch their own, using a cast net or small hooks baited with a tiny piece of shrimp.

redfish

Live bait fish can be fished for redfish and a wide variety of ways. They can be fished under a float in shallow water, free lined in deeper water, and fish right on the bottom when surf fishing or when fishing deeper channels such as passes and inlets. Live bait fish can be a hassle to catch and keep alive, but in many instances will outperform all other baits, and tend to produce larger redfish as well.

Gulp baits

gulp shrimp

I am a huge fan of the Gulp line of baits. They really bridge the gap between fishing with a jig and grub and using natural bait. The formula they came up with to give their lures additional scent is highly productive. I most often fish these baits in conjunction with a jig head.

Read my article on the best redfish fishing tackle

There are many different Gulp baits to choose from. All of them can be effective. My personal preference is the 3 inch shrimp and white with a chartreuse tail. Second color choice would be new penny. This is an extremely versatile bait that will catch redfish and just about every other inshore species. I also like the 5 inch jerk shad as well.

Redfish love crabs

redfish fishing tips

Redfish feed heavily on crustaceans, and crabs certainly fit the bill. There are many different crab species that anglers can use as redfish fishing baits, depending on the region being fished in. They can be fished live as well as fresh dead. Frozen crabs can be used as well, though this is a distant third choice.

A fresh blue crab cut in half and fished on the bottom will produce some large redfish for anglers fishing in passes and inlets as well is from the surf. It is a choice for anglers looking for a trophy as opposed to numbers. Smaller crabs such as fiddler crabs and oyster crabs are very productive when fished around oyster bars. Mole crabs, also known as sand fleas can be productive as well.

redfish fishing baits

There are some bait shops that sell live fiddler crabs and small blue crabs and other crabs for redfish bait. Some anglers even go to the trouble of catching their own. In many cases, a fresh crab used as cut bait is just as effective and much more convenient than using and dealing with live crabs.

Weedless spoon

fishing with spoons

A weedless spoon is a very productive redfish fishing bait. It is an excellent search bait, allowing anglers to cover a lot of water in search of redfish and other species. Due to its design, it cast very well and rides with the hook up, putting out a ton of flash and vibration. It also has a wire weed guard. The result is a very effective lure that is virtually weedless, even in fairly heavy vegetation.

My personal favorite weedless spoon is the venerable Johnson Silver Minnow. Gold has always been a productive redfish color in this applies to the weedless spoon as well. 1/2 ounce is a good all-around size, though anglers can drop down to the one quarter ounce size in very clear water or when redfish are finicky. They weedless spoon is a very easy lure for novice anglers to use as a steady retrieve is generally the most productive. It is my favorite bait to use when redfish are found in water 1 foot deep or less.

Using cut bait for redfish fishing

Tampa Bay fishing tips

Redfish will most certainly be caught on a chunk or strip of cut bait. In most cases, bait fish that are caught fresh and used immediately work the best. They put out a ton of blood and scent into the water. Mullet are very effective when used as cut bait for redfish. Ladyfish are another excellent bait that are used when cut into chunks and fished near mangrove shorelines, especially in summer.

Anglers surf fishing for redfish also use cut bait extensively. Part of the reason for this is the rough surf conditions that are often encountered. A chunk or strip of cut bait will stay on the hook longer than just about any other bait. Cut bait also tends to catch larger fish in the surf than some other baits and lures will. Mullet is very popular, though any fresh fish cut up into chunks or strips will produce.

Jerkbaits fool redfish

redfish fishing baits

Jerk baits are another lure that belong on the list of my best nine redfish fishing baits. While not always considered a traditional redfish lure, I personally have had excellent access using them. Also, I just find them a very exciting and fun bait to fish. Strikes are often very exciting. Also, jerk baits are an excellent lure to use when a variety of fish species are an option.

My personal favorite jerk bait for redfish fishing is the Rapala X-rap Extreme Action Slashbait. This lure comes in a variety of sizes and many different colors. The 08 size in olive or white really matches the locally available forage where I fish in Florida. The 10 size is a better choice when larger fish such as larger mullet and pin fish are the primary forage.

Clouser Minnow fly

best fly for saltwater fish

The last bait on my list of best nine redfish fishing baits is the Clouser Minnow fly. Redfish are certainly challenging for anglers fly fishing. The Clouser Minnow realistically mimics crabs, shrimp, and bait fish, which are the primary forage of redfish. Bright colors generally produce best, particularly in stained water. The weighted eyes of this fly give it action similar to a jig, which is the primary reason for its effectiveness. The hook also rides up, resulting in a fairly weedless fly.

In conclusion, this article on my best nine redfish fishing baits will hopefully narrow down the choice for anglers and help them catch more redfish!

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