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Fly Fishing for Redfish

Spawning Redfish On The Fly

Thursday February 22, 2018

Probably the most popular fish sought out on fly in the Indian River Lagoon is the hard fighting redfish on the shallow water grassbeds. Popularized over the last twenty five years on television fishing shows, the Indian River produces good numbers of redfish in an environment that 's conducive for flyfishing enthusiast to target while sightfishing.

A boat is not required to fish the Indian River Lagoon as wading or kayaking can be done for the more adventurous, but a good shallow water skiff makes fishing this large body of water easier. Large open bays with small coves and tributaries along mangrove shorelines and sandbars are always good areas to look for feeding redfish.

Popular flies include streamers and crustacean intimations like shrimp and crabs. Captain Richard Bradley of Lagooner Fishing Guides uses Clousers and variations of the clouser in the shallow water grass flats. I might dress the fly up a little more than the standard Clouser Minnow, but it's a fly weighted "hook up" and with small dumbbell eyes in various sizes to get it down where the fish are feeding. I almost always have some sort of weed guard and I strip the flies in smaller, popping fashion to imitate shrimp or small minnows.

Redfish will eat almost anything... I tell my customers that reds are like bald eagles, they can be highly predacious or eat carrion on the side of the road. Reds love a fresh dead bait, but they also readily take a properly placed fly or artificial lure.

If you're used to fly fishing streams and narrow bands of water, study up on the 55-75 foot cast for redfish, because the red often demands a longer cast with a fair amount of accuracy. Getting the fly in their zone is the key for any fishery, but the red will require a little more accuracy than most in the Indian River because of it's tannic colored water that's been susceptible to algae blooms in recent years.

During late August thru mid October you can often find reds in large schools breeding in the Indian River Lagoon. It's at this time you'll land your largest redfish in excess of 25 pounds and often in the 40 pound range. Larger more prominent flies should be used like deceivers or even poppers to get their attention. Fast moving aggressive redfish hyped up in the spawn are not in the mood for tiny morsels, but want an easy meal and calories.

redfish streamer fly the redfish candy

A variation of the Clouser tied with feathers and cactus chennille make for and excellent redfish fly. These streamers are tied in chartreus, but can easily be toned down to about any color variation you desire.

Known as a fish that will not quit, redfish can be absolute brutes. And as such, they have become one of the most sought after fish in the shallows of Florida. Since their protection in the mid 1980's redfish numbers have proliferated and are especially abundant and large on the east central Florida coastline. Redfish have a coppery bronze color with a tinge of red, color will vary depending on water clarity. Normally redfish have one spot on the base of their tails but often there are several or many spots. Take a look at these spots caught by a lagooner fisherman. [LOOK]

East Central Florida boast some of the best inshore and estuary fishing for redfish in the world. Our redfish are renown for both quantity and quality. They are found in the lagoon systems all around the coast of Florida and some are even found offshore. This species is often found feeding in less than one foot of water while foraging for crustaceans, fish and small mollusk. Often they are in such shallow water that you can see their tales and backs protruding from the water, hence the term "tailing redfish".

Best Redfish Locations

Mosquito Lagoon
Sightfishing Mecca from Oakhill to Playlinda Beach. World famous fishing waters in the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge in Northern Brevard County. Mosquito Lagoon can have crystal clear water allowing flyfisherman and light-tackle fisherman great opportunities to sight fish for tailing redfish and other species.

Northern Indian River Lagoon
Banana Creek, Titusville, Carbide Flats, Haulover Canal, Dummit Cove, Scottsmore are only some of the known redfish haunts in this area.

The Banana River has a NMZ or No Motorized Zone in the very north adjacent to Canaveral Airforce Base and NASA property. This are can be extremely productive for big schooling redfish as they are not subjected to motor boats and fishing pressure.


Orlando Redfish
Sebastian Redfish
Mosquito Lagoon Redfish
Banana River Guide Service
Indian River Redfish Guide
Releasing Redfish
Indian River Redfish


Not less than 18" or more than 27" and only 1 fish per harvester per day.

State Record

51 lbs., 8 ozs.

Fly Fishing For Redfish

Reviewed by Captain Richard Bradley on Last modified: November 08 2016 11:48:30.

Published by: Captain of Lagooner Fishing Guides©

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Fishing Reports

February - 2018 Fishing Report

Every February seems to be different and this one is no different.

Fishing Forecast

February - 2018 Fishing Forecast

There's not a better way to spend a Valentines day with your sweetie than out in the boat catching the winter sun and a few nice fish. If the weather this February stays nice, look for some fun and rewarding fishing into the central Florida spring break period. Fish get hungry as spring approaches and the cold winter grip releases. I KNOW... I KNOW... IT's Florida! How can Florida get cold? Well, it can often drop into the 40° mark over night and be in the 70's during the day, so plan a late morning trip on the lagoon and you should be safe in Februay and into March.

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Lagooner Fishing Guides
Cocoa Beach's premier saltwater fishing guide with over 25 years of charter fishing experience in his native waters.
Telephone: 321-868-4953

204 Garfield Avenue
Cocoa Beach, FL

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Review / Trip Advisor

Inshore and Offshore Charter Fishing near Orlando and Cocoa Beach, Florida. Catch redfish, sea trout, tarpon, snook and many other saltwater gamefish aboard the world famous Lagooner flats fishing boat with renowned Captain Richard Bradley.

Amazing start to an amazing vacation! - Port Canaveral was our first stop on a 7 day Norwegian cruise out of New York City... When I didn't find any fishing excursions listed through NCL, I did a Google search and emailed a few different charter outfits. Capt. Gina was quick to respond and super to deal with. When she came right to the ship to pick us up for our trip she greeted us with a warm hug like we were lifelong friends. Capt Richard kept us on fish the entire time. We had many laughs and great conversation. I really enjoyed hearing him speak about his family. Caught some beautiful King Mackerel and a few other fish, WHAT A DAY! I would recommend Lagooner to anyone!
about Lagooner Fishing Charters on March 1, 2015

5 / 5 stars 5 star rating

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