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.


tailing redfish

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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2 years ago

Boss: Great class. Could you please show how you managed that big red all the way through the release?

2 years ago

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

3 years ago

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?

Caden Kaufman
3 years ago

I am going to be fishing red dot pier in a couple weeks…any suggestions

Daniel Gonzales
3 years ago
Reply to  Caden Kaufman

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.

3 years ago


3 years ago

Any suggestions for lures…

3 years ago

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

3 years ago

Good stuff Wyatt! What is the net you are using?

Pat Ogletree
3 years ago

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.

3 years ago

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.

3 years ago

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

3 years ago

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.

Scott Wrenn
3 years ago
Reply to  Wyatt Parcel

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


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