15 Tactics For Giant Bull Redfish

Mississippi angler Steven Bush holds a 35-pound redfish caught from Mobile Bay's famed Dixie Bar. While deep natural baits score well there for fall reds, Bush and his fishing pals use comparatively light- 10-pound test-braided line, dark-colored jigs tipped with fresh shrimp, and work them slowly across shoal water.Outdoor Life Online Editor
While medium-heavy plug or spinning tackle can whip a giant redfish, anglers must match tackle to fishing conditions and locations. In slow-moving water in calm weather, plug and spinning gear shines. But when it's rough, deep, or in strong current or tide, heavy service reels, 50-pound-test line, and stout 100-pound-test leaders are in order.Outdoor Life Online Editor
For deep, open-inlet fishing, where huge fall reds can stack by the hundreds, many anglers opt for oversize 8/0 to 12/0 circle hooks fished with cut crab baits on bottom. Rods are placed in holders until a fish picks up a quartered crab bait, and hooks itself in the corner of the mouth as it takes the offering and swims off.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Almost all giant redfish must be released by law. Reds weighing 20 pounds or more make for poor eating anyway, so anglers should work to help large, brood-stock reds survive to fight another day.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Bottom fishing with cut menhaden baits is deadly for bull redfish. Once a hot area is found for fishing, anchor and set out four deep menhaden baits, but vary them. Butterfly one, using chunks of cut menhaden on another rod, and fish live menhaden on another pair of rods.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Keeping a detailed fishing log of where, when and how you catch autumn red drum is smart, because giant fall-run reds habitually return to the same areas, at the same time of year. Some giant Georgia redfish, for example, have been caught up to seven times, over seven years, from the same sandbar.Outdoor Life Online Editor
When weather is mild, early and late fishing is often most productive, but night red drum action can be spectacular, especially along isolated beaches of the Carolinas. Charter captain Don Dingman, of Orange Park, Florida, believes late afternoon fishing is by far the best for heavyweights.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Because some of the best big redfish water is very shallow, a quiet approach is wise. Many of the best redfish spots are only in 3 to 4 feet of water. Maneuvering around sandbars, shell mounds and points with an electric motor is good while casting. But in a breeze, anchoring up-wind is smart. Reds often are found on drop-off edges, in places, for example, where it falls from 3 to 4 feet.Outdoor Life Online Editor
In areas where large emergent grass beds abound, huge redfish can be found as they cruise vegetation edges looking for food. Plugs, spoons, jigs and spinnerbaits score well.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Sometimes in shallow, broad, calm bays where fall-run redfish stage for spawning, a live mullet or scented jig fished under a float is deadly. Make long casts. And with long pauses in the retrieve, make the float pop and gurgle, which sounds like feeding fish and draws reds from long range.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Fall redfish can be in enormous schools, sometimes acres in size, and under the right water conditions can be spotted and cast to with plugs and other lures. A red tint to the water tips off school locations, and sometimes large surface "slicks" from oil released from bait on which reds are feeding are spotted.Outdoor Life Online Editor
While monster redfish can be caught in almost any condition, rough autumn weather with wind blowing 20 to 30 knots often produces the best action, says captain Mark Noble from St. Simons Island, Georgia. Shallow sandbars at the mouths of inlets and passes can offer superb fall fishing, in water so rough it's difficult to keep a boat anchored. Shoal waters from 6 to 15 feet deep can be choice.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Mississippi angler Steve Herbison believes spinnerbaits are one of the most effective shallow-water lures for oversize redfish. A heavy-hook model with a single large copper blade is his favorite.Outdoor Life Online Editor
When big schools of stout redfish are jammed in inlets and passes, it's perfect family-fun fishing. A huge drum is a thing of beauty, and a trophy never forgotten. Be sure to get a photograph before releasing the fish.Outdoor Life Online Editor
You need a bigger net- at least for heavyweight redfish. Most giant reds are released because they are so valuable as brood stock, and are protected by law. A small lip gaff or Boga Grip can work, but a huge, rugged net may be best. Use one with non-tangle net material, and be sure the net hoop is large enough to collect a 30-pounder.Outdoor Life Online Editor

From Texas to Virginia giant bull redfish are on the prowl. They're making their inshore spawning push, and offering anglers the best chance of the year for catching a true giant. Red hot fishing runs well into November, sometimes to Christmas, and here's the low-down on how to catch 'em.