Winter reds are found inshore in water less than four feet deep. Sometimes they habitat waters so shallow that their tail fins are visible. They prefer soft mud and vegetation, as well as oyster, clam and mussel reefs. Inshore fishing spots include jetties, coves, points and pilings, where the reds can hide and munch on baitfish and crustaceans.
For winter bulls (adult redfish), your best bet will be the Gulf Coast waters off Florida, but each location listed below sports high populations of redfish. Keep in mind that winter in the Gulf Shore starts in late January and goes through early March. A few of the best winter redfish locations include:
- In Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Ala., cold weather pushes the reds to the ends of canals and rivers where the offshore bulls get mighty hungry. [source: Weir] You will also find plenty of young reds, called puppy drums.
- New Orleans and Lafitte, La., are considered two of the best Gulf redfish fishing locations. High tides and strong winds move the reds deep into marshes of bayou country, where you can find scores of young reds. [source: Schultz]
- Big Reds are moving in inshore waters along Florida's Gulf Coast from the Indian River, Mosquito Lagoon, and the Intercoastal Waterway [source: Sargeant]. St. Joe's Bay and Apalachicola are noted redfish hotspots from spring clear through winter.
- The Mississippi Delta is a redfish haven, and beginning in the fall, the cuts and channels between the Barrier Islands offer up excellent redfish. Don't overlook the Biloxi's Back Bay area, as it is an excellent fly-fishing area. [source: Leon]