Best Redfish Flies – Fly Selection Guide

best flies for redfish

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Fly fishing for Redfish, or the Red Drum as it is also known, might not pack the visual punch of Tarpon fishing nor the elusive charm of reeling in a Bonefish, but it’s undeniably a thrilling experience for East Coast and Gulf fly fishers.

The Redfish, a saltwater game fish that can be found in the shallow mudflats, sea-grass beds, mangroves, and sand flats of the United States, has a reputation for feeding with vigor and being an enjoyable challenge to hook.

This guide is here to help you navigate the diverse selection of Redfish flies available and to offer tips on choosing the best one for your fishing adventure. So, ready your gear and let’s dive in!

Understanding Redfish

understanding redfish

The Redfish is a saltwater game fish found in abundance from Massachusetts to Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico, from Florida to northern Mexico. They have a varied diet, feeding on crabs, wounded baitfish, and shrimp. This means simple fly patterns can be effective when sight fishing for them.

Redfish generally feed in shallow water locations like grass flats, but they’re also known to feed deeper in locations like the mosquito lagoon. The best part? Redfish can be targeted successfully year-round, not just during the winter months as was previously thought. However, fall and winter fly fishing still remains the optimal time to target them.

One of the perks of fishing for Redfish is their forgiving nature. They usually eat a second or third time, which is a boon for inexperienced casters or newbies. If the fly lands on tailing fish, the connection rate is pretty certain. However, Redfish will also follow and eat if the pattern and retrieve are correct.

Choosing Redfish patterns

Choosing Redfish patterns

There are many Redfish flies that work well in their specific environments. What makes Redfish an easy target for fly fishing is their aggressive feeding habit – they tend to devour anything that swims past them, be it topwater flies, crab patterns, or shrimp flies.

However, it still pays to research your fishing area if it’s new to you. The most important thing to remember is to use your surroundings to help decide on the fly selection. Look at the water; is it clear or murky? This will influence your color variations. Look around the boat to see if you can spot any crabs or mullet baitfish.

Being observant of your surroundings can greatly increase your success rate. Remember, fall and winter Redfish will eat differently from summer Redfish, so it helps to have a few different patterns to use and test.

The Best Redfish Flies Are:

Crafty Shrimp

crafty shrimp

The Crafty Shrimp is one of the most popular shrimp patterns for Redfish, owing to its simple design and neutral craft fur tail and body. This versatile fly can be used in any condition or season. When fished with a slow but erratic motion, Redfish can’t leave this fly alone.

Kinky Muddler

kinky muddler

The Kinky Muddler is a productive fly, especially during the summer months. The mudflats are teeming with mullet fingerlings during this period and Redfish take full advantage of it. The Kinky Muddler’s craft fur head gives bulk which moves into the zonker strip or deer hair tail, providing the all-important tail movement.

Electric Chicken

electric chicken

Captain Jack Brown’s Electric Chicken is one of the most well-known Redfish flies. Its versatility is what makes this pattern a firm favorite. The Electric Chicken can be used in any season, water clarity, or depth.

Kung Fu Crab

kung fu crab

The Kung Fu Crab pattern is a must-have for all serious Redfish anglers. Designed to fish in the high flood plains at tailing Redfish, this crab pattern is also excellent for baby tarpon and bonefish alike.


best flies for redfish conclusion

Whether you are a seasoned redfish angler or heading out on your first guided trip, your fly selection is of utmost importance. The above patterns are super simple to tie, and if you don’t tie your own, then a quick trip to your local fishing shop will get you sorted. Fish these flies with confidence, and you’ll undoubtedly enjoy a great day out on the flats.

Tight Lines!

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