How the Redfish Spawn Works

Where Do Redfish Spawn?

Usually, redfish spawn along the sou­theast Atlantic coast and Gulf Coast of the United States. You can find them from Virginia, south to the tip of Florida, and around the Gulf, all the way down to Texas.

Be aware that many conservation efforts are in place, and each state has a different program -- which means each state has different regulations on how many fish you can keep, as well as a minimum and maximum size for those fish. In Louisiana, for example, you can't keep a redfish more than 27 inches long; at this size, it's probably about three or four years old, and it has reached maturity, so it has had a chance to spawn before you catch it. Louisiana also has special saltwater angling license regulations pertaining to redfish. The minimum size requirement helps ensure that more fish reach maturity.

Redfish typically spawn in warm, deep waters, on incoming tides. They follow the schools of baitfish, such as menhaden shad (a.k.a. pogie), up and down the coast. The adult fish -- called bulls, regardless of their gender -- school when the water gets warm. They like to hang out around underwater structures, like reefs or submerged wrecks. Redfish are predators, and these underwater structures interfere with the current, allowing the redfish to surprise their prey.

Before you set sail, be aware that many guides now avoid fishing for redfish during the span, in order to give the population a chance to rebuild itself. Other anglers practice a strict catch-and-release policy. Size regulations mean you'll probably be doing quite a bit of catch-and-release no matter what. But that has special implications for redfish. Read on to learn more.