Kayak Fishing for Redfish

Kayak Fishing for Redfish | Navarre Kayak Fishing

Here, in Northwest Florida, we have the opportunity to target Redfish all year and a kayak is the perfect platform and kayak fishing for Redfish is a blast!

If you are having a tough time locating Redfish in the Panhandle, try applying the following tips and techniques.

I’m sure they will increase your chances of catching the fish of a lifetime.


There are a large number of well-made kayaks on the market today.

After fishing from multiple paddle and pedal kayaks, my kayak of choice is the Old Town Predator PDL.

The PDL is stable, quiet, and provides a dry ride throughout the year.

The pedal system has reverse and the ability to come to a quiet, hands-free stop makes a huge difference when approaching feeding fish.

Gear / Tackle

When targeting Redfish, the majority of anglers prefer to use spinning equipment.

A seven-foot medium action rod paired with a 2500 size-spinning reel is perfect for targeting slot Redfish.

The reel should be spooled with 10-20 pound braid and a five-foot section of fifteen-pound fluorocarbon should be attached to the main line using an Albright or FG knot.

When attaching a lure to the fluorocarbon, I prefer to use a non-slip mono loop knot; the loop knot allows the lure to move as freely as possible.


If new to fishing for Redfish, lure selection can be overwhelming.

You can ease the pain by visiting your local tackle shop and ask a few questions.

If in Navarre, stop by Broxson Outdoors.

The staff has years of local knowledge, and are more than willing to help.

When I target slot Redfish, I carry three rods.

The rod that see’s the most action will be rigged with a 1/4 ounce Golden Eye Jig Head and a Matrix Shad.

The second rod will be rigged with a suspending lure, such as an Rapala X-Rap 08.

The third rod will be rigged with a top water lure, such as a Jackall Bonnie 95.


Red Drum are commonly referred to as Redfish and the species thrives throughout the Gulf of Mexico.

Redfish are a highly sought after sports fish and attract anglers from all over the world.

Slot Redfish are typically found in shallow water estuaries, while in the estuaries the fish feed mainly on crustaceans.

Once sexually mature, Redfish leave the estuaries to spawn.

A female will produce anywhere between 200,000 and three million eggs per spawning cycle.

Safely releasing breeding stock is vital to the rebounding populations, so please handle fish responsibly.


As the weather changes fish behave in different ways.

It’s important to take in the time of year when Kayak Fishing for Redfish.


During the summer months, I prefer to target Redfish in the Santa Rosa Sound.

On the north side of the Sound, there are several boat ramps.

These ramps allow easy access to endless miles of grass flats.

Woodlawn Beach Boat Ramp, Oriole Beach Boat Ramp, and Shoreline Park Boat Ramp are three of the most common.

Come summer, Redfish are most active early in the morning as they feed on small crabs, shrimp, and minnows.

At first light, these Redfish can easily be spotted on shallow flats, tailing or pushing water.

In these situations, a subtle presentation is key.

I have found using a weightless lure; such as Zoom Fluke, to be most effective.

When fishing a weightless lure, remember slower is always better.

The Fluke will flutter through the water column and become an irresistible snack for any nearby Redfish. 


As the water temperature cools the fish will stay on the flats throughout the day.

That makes sight fishing phenomenal from September to November.

I like to slowly pole my way along, scanning the grass and potholes for any signs of life.

A quality pair of polarized sunglasses is essential when searching for Redfish on shallow, crystal clear flats.

Once I spot a Redfish, I quietly pitch a soft plastic towards the fish, ensuring the lure doesn’t land to close and spook the fish.

Redfish will often pick the lure up as it lies on the bottom.


From December to February, I prefer to target Redfish in the afternoon.

Around midday the fish will begin moving from deep channels to adjacent shallow flats.

This time of the year, I spend the majority of my time in the upper bays, fishing areas with small feeder creeks.

The top water bite is not as effective this time of year, so I prefer to use a Matrix Shad with a 1/8th to 5-16th jig head.

A slow “twitch, twitch, pause” is not always required when targeting these Redfish.

Aggressive Redfish are willing to chase bait in the coldest of weather.  Occasionally, I will find Redfish cruising these shallow flats and opt to throw a suspending lure.


March brings unpredictable weather and unreliable fish.

Fortunately, bait will begin moving back on to the grass flats and the Redfish will follow.

As spring progresses, Redfish will become more and more aggressive, making them vulnerable to anglers throughout the Panhandle.

By April, the flats will be teaming with bait and the Redfish will be feeding heavily on small minnows.

This is my favorite time of year to throw a top water lure.


Chasing Redfish can prove to be challenging.  I hope these tips provide a little insight and help you catch more fish!

Until next time, stay safe and always wear a quality lifejacket.

Kayak Fishing for Redfish | Navarre Kayak Fishing

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