The flats around Boca Grande and Charlotte Harbor offer some of the most challenging fly fishing for redfish in the world. Many anglers think redfish are stupid and will eat anything you throw in front of them. This is not true, in fact our redfish swim around in gin clear water over turtle grass and sand and are very demanding. Proper flies and fly presentation are the keys to success in our backcountry flats. I love the challenge of knowing that it has to be perfect for them to eat it.
Fall and winter are my favorite times for redfishing deep in the backcountry. I like to fish with a variety of fly patterns from poppers and sliders to small bottom critters. Depending on the time of year and what the fish are eating we vary our offerings. For me there is nothing better than watching a redfish hump up and wake down your fly and inhale. They don’t quite run like a bonefish, but they sure can eat a fly in a manner that will leave your knees knocking. Once you get a hook in them, landing them is not as challenging as a snook or a tarpon as long as you keep them out of the bushes. Since Redfish are bottom feeders they often stick their tails up unknowingly when they are rooting for crabs, shrimp and baitfish in the turtle or eel grass.
Big tailing redfish are a sight to behold on the flats and these tailing sessions or freak shows as I like to refer to them often coincide with sunrise or sunset. The redfish tails shine in the falling light. Tailing redfish are challenging to feed. The most common mistake anglers make when redfishing is throwing the fly too far away from the fish, and then by the time they see your fly they have already felt the boat approaching. I always say the best thing to do is throw the fly as close to them as possible without spooking them. That is true with any fish. The redfish are so fixated on the bottom when they are feeding that they don’t see the fly unless it is close. If they are cruising over sand then pick a spot out ahead to make your cast, but don’t take too big a chance and over lead him because he will surely change directions. The type of bottom you are fishing redfish over can dictate how far away the fish will notice your fly. For instance on white sand you can throw further away from a fish than you can over turtle grass.
The type of fly you are throwing also plays a role in where to present your fly. I never get tired of watching these big fish eat flies especially when they are up in super skinny water. During the fall they love the shallow water and will stay in just about any depth flat. I love catching what I call crocodile redfish, that is when there backs are out of the water as they swim or charge bait on a shallow hump in the shoreline. Boca Grande red fishing is very challenging and comes with it’s own set of rewards, and I love watching redfish eat flies especially on top! Ready to go? Charter Info.