Winter Fun with Giant Bull Reds
Winter is one of my favorite times of year to charter because the fish gather in large schools and the action can be non stop! Pensacola bay is a famous breeding ground for redfish during the winter. Most of the fish range in size from 35 to 50 inches in length. These are what I call the breeder fish. They are not legal to harvest in the state of Florida, however, they sure are fun to catch!
This trip, I guided a family who was brand new to saltwater fishing. My goal was to get them on some drag pulling bull reds! I thought this would be an easy task because just three days earlier we boated 32 total fish. Unfortunately, a bad tide and a full moon made finding these giant schools of fish much tougher than it should have been. None the less we were bound and determined to find some fish.
The way we target winter time redfish is completely different from how we catch them in the spring and summer. In the winter we watch for Pelicans diving on bait fish. The Pelicans are a dead give away that there is bait fish below the surface and usually that means there are bull reds below the bait fish. With this being said, it is convenient to have a good set of binoculars with you. Often, the birds are working over a mile away from your boat and if you can see them then you can find the fish!
On this particular trip, we searched for three solid hours with zero luck until I finally saw what I thought was Pelicans diving. We rushed over to check out all of the commotion and to our surprise we were greeted with over 1000 bull reds feeding on bait just under the surface. My clients each grabbed a rod and from that moment on it was non stop redfish action for the rest of the trip. All it took was a little patience and perseverance in order to reach the daily goal I set for my clients. Below is a quick pic I snapped of a quad hookup! All fish were released unharmed!