Fishing for Redfish in Texas

Quick tips from a Texas expert on finding and catching red drum along the Texas coast.

bull-redfish
Fishing for redfish in Texas offers great opportunities to tangle with bull red drum.Doug Olander / Sport Fishing

Few things are more exciting than fishing for redfish in Texas. Casting to tailing redfish in remote marsh ponds on the Texas coast is one sterling example.

Seeing the signature black dot on bronze near the fish’s tail is enough to motivate any angler to trek into the backwaters.

With redfish numbers in Texas hovering near historic highs, there are many to be found and they are increasingly large. It's why fishing for redfish in Texas has become a popular destination for many anglers.

“It used to be that we would catch mainly slot fish in the shallow backwater in places like Sabine Lake, Keith Lake and East Galveston Bay. Now we see plenty of fish in that 36-40-inch range,” says veteran angler Frank Moore.

“I like to shoot a topwater past them as gently as possible, and more often than not they will take it. Sometimes though, you need to throw something more delicate like a Gulp! Crab on a 1/16-ounce jighead.”

Moore suggests focus not only on tailing fish, but looking for mud boils and reds sitting just below the surface.

“If you look only for tailing fish you will miss out.”

Where to Catch Redfish in Texas

Expert surf angler Marcus Heflin teaches free beach fishing clinics for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and says some of the best opportunities are in the surf.

"The fall bull redfish run on the beaches is incredible. From September through early November we catch dozens a day on cut mullet, croaker and crab fished on surf rods. The fall run is not the only time to catch them though. There are so many big reds now we find them 12 months a year in the surf," Heflin said.

Any spot on the coast can harbor monster reds, but hotspots include Sabine Pass, Surfside, Matagorda Island and South Padre Island.

Seagrass beds in San Antonio, Aransas and Copano Bays as well as along the Laguna Madre harbor many redfish.

How to Catch Redfish in Texas

Ideally, red drum are visible cruising the edges or in large holes in the middle of the beds and will take anything from a live shrimp fished on a Carolina rig to a swimbait. If the water is off-colored or the reds are deep in the grass, a weedless gold or bronze spoon is a solid choice for luring them out.

On open bays from the Louisiana line down to the Corpus Christi area, one of the most effective methods for how to catch redfish is looking for gulls working schools of menhaden or shrimp. Redfish will sometimes be found with the speckled trout, usually on the outer edge of the main action-when specks are present.

If you want a reliable redfish lure, a soft-plastic shrimp imitation fished under a weighted popping cork is hard to beat and easy to cast long distances. Chug it twice and let it sit for a few seconds, then repeat. If redfish are present it won't take long to see the float disappear.

This action can occur year-round but some of best catches come during the middle of the day in summer when the bays are dead calm. Birds are usually present but not always.

Be mindful of emerging slicks and mud trails that lead to hungry reds, bent rods — and good times.