Wrasslin' Giant Space Coast Redfish

By: Terry Gibson


You hear people complain that, "You can't see the seasons change in Florida." Well, the Mosquito Lagoon, northern Indian River Lagoon and Banana Lagoon, which belong to the Space Coast, turn about the color of the Vermont woods this time of the year. That's because of giant schools of "bull" red drum gaggled up to feed and spawn. It's the best time of the year to catch and release the biggest trophy redfish of your life in really shallow water. Much of the action centers around Titusville.

There are jumbo "resident" fish around year round, but they tend to be finicky in terms of when and what they'll eat, especially when they're hot or cold. In the fall, the water temperature drops a notch, which seems to invigorate them. Plus, it takes a lot of energy to reproduce, so they forage much more aggressively and optimistically during September, October and November. Half a blue crab remains the best bait, but they'll fall for jumbo, live or fresh, dead shrimp, live finger mullet, and mullet heads and chunks.

If you prefer to fish with artificial lures, Berkley Gulp! baits, topwater plugs (early and late) and DOA's shrimp and jerkbaits are top choices. Fly anglers, bring a 10-weight. These fish are huge, and you'll be casting larger Clouser minnows, poppers and Lefty's Deceivers than you'd expect. You need a floating line.

There are lots of expert guides in the area. Three include Capt. Tom Van Horn, Capt. Troy Perez, and Capt. Jim Ross. If you're fishing with a guide, you don't need a saltwater fishing license. Click here for redfish regulations.

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