3 Tips To Catch Tailing Redfish (Best Tides, Times, & Lures)
It’s every anglers dream to cruise up to a shallow flat early in the morning and see redfish tails waving in the air…
It’s like they’re waving little flags saying, “Hey, we’re eating over here!”
I recently went out a few mornings in a row to study tailing redfish and what I found was fascinating!
I learned a lot about what they’re actually feeding on, what times they feed, and how the tide affects their behavior.
I used that information to catch a lot of reds over those three tips, so I put together this video showing you exactly what I learned.
Check out the video below to learn how to catch more tailing redfish.
How To Catch Tailing Redfish [VIDEO]
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The Best Times To Catch Tailing Redfish
On all three of my trips, the bite started at nearly the same time.
Not the same time of day, but at the same time in the tide cycle.
This time was when the tide started to come in.
But they didn’t feed for the entire incoming tide.
The average feeding window was 37 minutes long, so it’s actually a pretty narrow time frame that you have to get out there and have consistent action.
So why do they feed on an incoming tide?
Well, for one, an incoming tide brings in cooler water with more oxygen.
On hot summer days, this is exactly what fish are looking for.
Another reason is probably that when the tide is rising, the fish are able to get to areas that were previously too shallow — areas that are holding easy meals like small baitfish and crustaceans.
What Tailing Redfish Are Feeding On
Most people just assume that tailing redfish are digging in the mud for shrimp and crabs.
And while that’s often true, it’s not always true.
If you see a redfish tail waving in the air, then yes, that’s probably what they’re doing.
But if you see redfish sharking through the water, then they’re most likely looking for baitfish.
I wasted a lot of time on the first two mornings throwing shrimp lures at these redfish darting through the water.
When I started throwing lures that imitated baitfish (paddletails and topwaters), I started immediately catching fish.
How To Find More Tailing Redfish
One last tip for finding tailing redfish is to get a good pair of sunglasses.
On the last trip here, the fish didn’t start feeding until later in the morning when the sun was high.
If I didn’t have a good pair of polarized sunglasses, then it would’ve been hard to distinguish sun glare from redfish tails.
To catch tailing redfish in the summer, look for them in the morning at the beginning of low tide.
Be sure to take note of what they’re doing (digging in the mud or darting through the water) to choose the best lure, and remember that the time of tide cycle is more important than the time of day.
Have any questions about tailing redfish?
Let us know in the comments below!
And if you know someone who wants to catch more tailing reds, please TAG or SHARE this with them!
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Boss: Great class. Could you please show how you managed that big red all the way through the release?
Unfortunately I am unable to post this video in the comments, but I do have the full video of it’s release included in the expanded Insider Report (with a lot more details than this) I published for Salt Strong members here:
The best bait for tailing is called Electric Chicken. It is shrimp and lime green color bait. I did not think it would work but destroys in the water. Jig head and this will get you some bites
Solid choice as well! Thanks for the recommendation Clay!
Was inshore fishing near Aransas pass, TX. Came upon dozens of tailing reds in a shallow cove area. They wouldn’t bite on anything… Live shrimp, Gulp, topwaters… Nada. We tried for 1/2 hour and only one, non keeper, bit.
Still can’t figure out how that can happen… Any thoughts?
What was the size of the bait you were seeing and the size of the bait you were throwing? Typically, you want to match (or even go a bit bigger) to what you’re seeing the fish after. Also, were they “flagging” (digging for crustacens) or “sharking” (quickly moving through the water upright after baitfish)?
I am going to be fishing red dot pier in a couple weeks…any suggestions
Fish that channel @ Cos-Way & Red Dot when the tides or water is moving. Don’t over look the bridge pilings there at that location while free lining croaker or shrimp under it. Marker 37 Marina is good too under the lights at night, just look to see if the birds are there working the bait in the lights. Same for the packery channel and bridge too.
Any suggestions for lures…
I am going to Ormond Beach for some surf fishing next thursday for a couple weeks. Do you have any suggestions for what to fish for and what bait? I am going to use the SSS3.5-01 but need a lead on where to get the jigs to put in the bait. Thanks for your help
Hey Richard! The bite’s been a bit slow on the southern side of the Cape Fear Point, but you should be able to pick up some whiting and pompano with some Sand Flea Flavored FishBites on a Pompano Rig!
If you’d like to go for bigger game in the surf, flounder and redfish have been cruising the beaches in Wrightsville (near the Masonboro jetty) that can be reached on foot by parking at the South End access point! If possible, use live mullet, but cut mullet will get the job done as well!
Good stuff Wyatt! What is the net you are using?
Thanks! It’s the Foreverlast Gen 2 Non-Snag Landing net! Here’s a amazon link I purchased it from, but you can find them in most Academy Stores as well!
Great job Wyatt! That was a nice red, must have been fun on that topwater! You should look into an anchor pin for when you get that next fish that wants to rejoin the school. I’m curious to see if the opposite is true in the winter with the timing. Would the first part of the out going be more productive than the middle or bottom? Seems as if it would hold true.
So I’ve actually already analyzed the best tides for colder months when targeting reds in another report (which I’ll link below):
In summary, the outgoing tide is good all throughout because warm water is being pulled out of shallower zones. I found the most productive timeframe to be the bottom of the outgoing, because fish pile into the deepest zone where there’s outflow from shallow spots, to be warmed, and have access to bait that is pulled out with current.
I would like to see reviews on the best sunglasses at the best value ,used for fishing. There are so many brands out there at varing prices, I just don’t want to get ripped off.
We actually just did a podcast discussing several different brands and types of lenses! In summary, the consensus was that Smith Optics (specifically the Guide’s Choice line) is the best overall value. Feel free to listen to the podcast here:
Best Sunglasses For Fishing (And The Worst Sunglasses)
Enjoyable report Wyatt! I fish mainly the northern areas of the IRL, the Banana River, and Mosquito Lagoon. So there are only wind driven tides in my area, and if there is no wind, there are no currents to speak of. So what else would be a good indicator for the best feeding time?(other than at daybreak for the coolest water?)
Tight lines! Chuck
Thanks so much for watching Chuck! I would say that the best thing you can look for is a shift in wind that will displace water from one side of the lagoon to another. Tony Acevedo will likely have more info on this, but locating shallow shorelines and open grass flats will be your best bet. I still would look to try and target them at sunrise when the water’s coolest and they’re starting to be able to see better.
Nice video, Wyatt. Seeing how you don’t have this problem (needing to wear glasses in order to see), you may not have an answer. But I’ll ask anyway. Do you know of any great sun glasses that are “clip ons” or “over the glasses ” models? Seems that the ones I have bought in the past are sub standard.
If anyone else can steer me in the right direction……holla.
That’s a great question! Hopefully someone else who has more experience with this, but in looking at reviews from other anglers who have used them, Cacoon Eyewear apparently makes some solid ones! I’ll link some below that look good for inshore fishing!
I had two cocoon pairs for years they’re excellent hide all the sidelight really well and not that heavy even for a long day of fishing very durable