The world record redfish is 94 lb 2 oz. It was caught by David Deuel using conventional tackle with a chunk of mullet in Avon, North Carolina, USA.
The waters off Avon, North Carolina are world-renowned for producing world record red drum and you will the location featured on the map below. If you want to catch some monster redfish, the waters around Cape Hatteras are a good fishing spot to head to.
The Story Behind The All-Tackle World Record Fish
The story behind David Deuel’s big redfish record is one of being in the right place at the right time, which is always key when fishing for any species.
David was fishing from the shore in Avon on the chilly morning of November 7, 1984, using his standard surfcasting setup with a chunk of mullet as bait. He wasn’t the only angler out here, as there were many anglers along the shoreline looking for a big red drum that day.
But, it was his baits that go taken by the largest redfish ever landed on rod and line. The redfish proceeded to take David on a wild ride and the fight lasted for over an hour. When it was close to the shoe, David pulled the redfish record onto the beach.
The redfish weighed 94 lb 2 oz (42.69 kg) and measured an amazing 57 inches from fork to mouth and had a girth of 38 inches. This not only gave David the all-tackle world record but also the 50 lb line class world record too.
This impressive catch beat the previous record by 10 lbs and also set a new state record for North Carolina.
Redfish, also known as red drum spot tail bass, red bass, red horse, puppy drum, channel bass, and school drum are only found in the western Atlantic Ocean from the north in Maine all the down into the Gulf of Mexico.
This species of game fish is not to be confused with black drum. Red drum have a red/coppery look to them and an obvious black spot on the tail.
Redfish like to hang in inshore waters close to the coastline around sandy and muddy bottoms. They are usually in big schools are will happily be in salt and brackish water. You can find them up in marshes, around flats, inlets, channels, grass flats, oyster bars, and estuaries.
Red drum love to eat anything that comes past them from a crab to a baitfish. They were once part of a fish harvest where every angler would bring a redfish home for dinner but nowadays they are being released alive more often.
Fishing for redfish is a ton of fun as it is very visual and redfish love to eat baits whether it’s a fly, lure, or live/dead bait. You will see redfish tailing and bow waking in the shallows and therefore target them in the same way you would bonefish on the flats.
The biggest redfish around are known as bull reds and these are the redfish that are in the record books.
You can see our maine fly fishing guides here if you’re going on a trip in Maine.
Where Have The Other Redfishing World Records Been Caught?
North Carolina, USA
I know we have already mentioned North Carolina when it comes to redfish records but it needs to be mentioned again. Every single International Game Fish Association all-tackle redfish record was caught in North Carolina bar two, that’s 18 out of 20 all-tackle records for North Carolina.
One of the most impressive world records is the light tackle redfish record set by George Hogan, Jr. on the 15-Nov-1995.
This lucky angler was hunting for a redfish record on a 2-pound line in the surf around Ocracoke and ended up catching a 41 lb 8 oz redfish. He managed to land the fish to set the International Game Fish Association 2 lb line class record for the species.
We have a guide here on fly fishing North Carolina if you’re planning on going on a trip there.
Florida is another great place full of inshore waters that are perfect for hunting world and state records. The 4-pound line class record redfish was caught in the Indian River Lagoon, Florida and it also qualified as the Florida state record.
The redfish record weighed in at 52 lb 5 oz to break the previous state record and was caught by angler George Hogan, Jr. who also caught the 2 lb record in North Carolina.
Other great redfish fishing spots in Florida include Mosquito Lagoon and Banana Lagoon. While Mosquito Lagoon doesn’t hold any current records, it certainly does have come giant redfish.
Banana Lagoon on the other hand is responsible for the 16 lb class fly record for redfish which was caught by angler Greg Braunstein, M.D. and it weighed 43 pounds.
Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, USA
Chesapeake Bay is a great bay for setting world and state records in as it is home to redfish that weigh upwards of 40 pounds.
The all-tackle length record was set there when Jack Limroth landed a 127 cm redfish record on 03-Jun-2021. He was fishing off the beach when the giant fish took his bait and he managed to land the fish and take its length measurement.
Three out of four of the Junior and Small Fry records were set by young anglers fishing in this bay too and they were all caught in 2001. The fish landed weighed in at 46 lb 12 oz, 50 lb 4 oz, and 45 lb 8 oz.
Texas & Louisiana, USA
Every single redfish fly fishing record bar two has been caught in Texas and Louisiana. These states are known for their marshes and offshore fishing for redfish.
One of the most impressive records in my eyes was set by Douglas N. Behrman while fishing in Hopedale, Louisiana. He managed to land a 29 lb 8 oz on a fly rod while using a 2-pound class tippet.
The two class tippet records on fly set in the lone star state both weighed the exact same, 39 pounds. The men’s 8 lb class tippet record is held by E. Stanton Shoemaker and the women’s 20 lb class tippet record is held by Candace Kern.