Mastering the Art of Kayak Fishing for Redfish: Tips and Techniques for Success

Mastering the Art of Kayak Fishing for Redfish: Tips and Techniques for Success

Have you ever tried kayak fishing for redfish? If not, you’re missing out on an incredible experience! Not only is it a great way to catch some delicious fish, but it’s also a unique way to enjoy the great outdoors.

In this article, I’ll share some tips and tricks for kayak fishing for redfish, including the best gear, the best times to go out on the water, and some strategies for catching these elusive fish, all while navigating in a kayak. 

Where to Find Redfish When Kayak Fishing

Regarding kayak fishing for redfish, knowing where these hungry fish can be found is essential to increase your chances of a successful catch. 

During the summer months, redfish can often be found in shallow waters. Water temperatures during this time range from 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit, and these fish tend to be more active during the early morning or late evening hours.

Look for areas with oyster bars and feeders and tidal creeks, which tend to be hotspots for redfish. These fish are also known to feed on blue crabs and fiddler crabs, so keep an eye out for these types of crustaceans in the water.

During winter, redfish typically move to deeper waters ranging from 7-20 feet deep. They can be found in the water column, so it’s essential to use proper equipment and techniques to ensure that your bait or lure reaches the proper depth. Oyster bars, feeder creeks, and tidal creeks are still significant areas to look for redfish during winter.

One popular way to fish for redfish is through sight fishing. Coastal anglers often use this technique to find redfish in shallow water areas. This involves spotting a redfish in the water and casting your bait or lure toward it. Oyster bars and skinny water areas are great spots for sight fishing, as redfish tend to swim close to the surface in these areas.

Mastering the Art of Kayak Fishing for Redfish: Tips and Techniques for Success 1

Types of Kayaks for Redfish Fishing

Kayak fishing has become increasingly popular among anglers looking to explore new waters and have a more immersive fishing experience. When it comes to redfish fishing, choosing the right kayak can make all the difference. 

Sit-on-top vs. Sit-in Kayaks

When it comes to kayak fishing for redfish, choosing the right type of kayak can make all the difference. The two most common types of kayaks are sit-on-top (SOT) and sit-inside (SI) kayaks. They are both popular options for fishing, but most fishing kayaks are considered sit-on-top kayaks. Here are some things you should look for when selecting a fishing kayak:


SOT kayaks are known for their superior stability compared to SI kayaks. The open design of the SOT kayak provides a broader base, which makes them less likely to tip over. This is particularly useful for kayak fishing, allowing anglers to stand up and sight cast easily. On the other hand, SI kayaks are generally less stable due to the narrower design of the hull, which can be a disadvantage, especially in rough waters. 

When you’re fighting a giant redfish, it can tend to drag the kayak about, so you’ll need the extra stability. 


Sit-inside kayaks tend to be faster than sit-on-top kayaks because they offer a more streamlined design and better hydrodynamics, which allow them to glide through the water with less resistance. However, the speed difference only matters if you’re fishing to get to that secret spot even faster. 


Due to their open design, SOT kayaks allow for better ventilation and a cooler ride in hot weather. Additionally, the high seat design benefits anglers with back problems. In contrast, SIT kayaks provide more protection from the elements and a drier ride, with less exposure to water splashes and spray.


SOT kayaks are generally more portable than SI kayaks since they are lighter and can be transported more easily. Most SOT kayaks weigh less than 70 pounds, making them more manageable when transporting them to your fishing spot. SI kayaks are more cumbersome due to their heavier weight and bulkier design.


SOT kayaks, designed for fishing, can have many storage areas. Many also have decks where coolers and boxes can be strapped down. 

Ultimately, the best kayak for you will depend on your individual preferences and your specific fishing needs. A SOT kayak may be the best choice for redfish fishing because of its superior stability and ease of use for casting and standing.

Gear Necessary for Redfish Fishing from a Kayak

Kayak fishing has become a popular way to target redfish in coastal waters. However, it’s essential to have the right gear to have a successful trip. From the kayak to the tackle and equipment, every piece plays a crucial role in ensuring you have a productive and enjoyable day on the water.

Rods and Reels

When fishing for redfish from a kayak, selecting the right rods and reels is crucial for a successful and enjoyable fishing experience. Kayak anglers need to consider their equipment carefully as space is limited on a kayak, and the gear needs to be strong enough to handle the fight of a big redfish.

When selecting a suitable rod, anglers should consider its length and action. A versatile option for kayak fishing is a 7-foot medium-fast rod. This length provides the perfect balance between casting distance and sensitivity. The medium-fast action maintains sensitivity while allowing for a bit of tip flex, which helps keep the fish hooked when it is fighting.

For the reel, a spinning reel is often the preferred choice for kayak fishermen. A spinning reel that can handle at least 200 yards of 10-20 lb braided line is ideal. This combination offers a good balance between strength and sensitivity and allows anglers to cast further.

Line, Leader, and Lures/Baits

When kayak fishing for redfish, selecting the right line, leader, and lure/bait is essential. Proper equipment can increase your chances of catching hungry redfish waiting below the surface.

First, let’s talk about line. Braided lines are the top choice for kayak anglers when fishing for redfish. They have better sensitivity and can handle the weight of the fish better. Braided lines offer greater casting distance and allow anglers to sense the slightest bites. This line is firm and does not stretch, making it suitable for battling big fish.

Next, fluorocarbon leaders are the way to go when kayak fishing for redfish. This type of leader is nearly invisible underwater and will not spook the skittish redfish. In addition, fluorocarbon leaders are more durable and abrasion-resistant than traditional nylon leaders. A stealthy approach is necessary to catch more redfish from a kayak, and fluorocarbon leaders offer just that.

Now let’s talk about lures and baits. Fly anglers prefer crab imitation flies and blue crabs as their go-to lures when fishing for redfish. These lures mimic the crab-like creatures that redfish love to devour. Coastal anglers have better luck with dead shrimp and topwater plugs. Dead shrimp can be fished on a jig head or under a popping cork, and topwater plugs work great during the warmer months when redfish are feeding in shallower waters. It is crucial to have a wide variety of lures/baits on hand to adapt to the type of fishing and the habits of the redfish.

Finding the Right Spot to Fish for Redfish from a Kayak

Kayak fishing for redfish can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, finding the right spot to cast your line can make all the difference. From knowing the proper water depth to reading the tide, we have covered you to ensure an enjoyable and successful kayak fishing trip!

Locating Oyster Bars and Deeper Waters

When kayak fishing for redfish, locating oyster bars and deeper waters can significantly increase your chances of bringing home a catch. Oyster bars are an excellent spot to find hungry redfish, as they provide shelter and food for these ambush predators. Look for oyster bars in shallow water in skinny water flats. These flats are typically found in the coastal waters’ back bays and tidal creeks.

As for deeper waters, avoiding fishing in water too deep for your kayak to navigate safely is crucial. Instead, target water that is about two to four feet deep. This water depth allows for safe navigation and a good fishing environment for redfish. Look for drop-offs, channels, and holes where redfish may hide. These areas create ideal feeding zones for redfish. Also, look for structures like oyster shells or submerged logs that could attract these predators.

When fishing in these areas, it’s essential to introduce specific landmarks like feeders and tidal creeks where redfish congregate. These areas create the perfect platform for redfish to wait for their prey to come to them. They tend to stay in these areas during winter when the water temperature is warmer.

To successfully catch redfish, select the correct gear to match your type of fishing. Use artificial baits that imitate crab or fiddler crabs that redfish love to feed on. Topwater plugs are also a great choice to attract redfish to the surface. Use fluorocarbon leaders to enhance your lure selection and increase your chances of hooking a redfish.

Factors to Consider such as Water Depth, Water Temperature, Incoming Tides

Kayak fishing for redfish requires careful consideration of several factors. One of the most essential factors is water depth. Redfish congregate in specific water depths, typically two to four feet deep. This is the ideal water depth for kayak fishing, as it allows for safe navigation while providing a perfect environment for catching redfish.

Another critical factor to consider is water temperature. Redfish are more active in warmer waters, so paying attention to the water temperature you’re fishing in is essential. During the warmer months, redfish tend to congregate in shallow waters. On the other hand, they prefer deeper water in the winter months.

If you’re having trouble locating redfish, consider using a depth finder to find them at the bottom of the water column. This can be especially helpful if you’re fishing in deeper waters and need help pinpointing the exact location of redfish.

Another vital factor to consider is incoming tides. Redfish tend to be more active and feed during an incoming tide, making this an ideal time to target them. Keep an eye on the tide charts and plan your fishing trips accordingly.

In summary, when kayak fishing for redfish, it’s important to consider water depth, temperature, and incoming tides. These factors can increase your chances of a successful catch while ensuring a safe and enjoyable fishing experience.

Weather Conditions

Accounting for weather conditions is crucial for a successful trip when kayak fishing for redfish. Weather conditions can significantly impact your fishing experience, so preparing for them is essential. Checking the local weather forecast beforehand is a simple yet effective way to ensure you’re aware of sudden changes.

However, it’s important to note that certain weather conditions may mean you need to reschedule your fishing trip. Thunderstorms, high winds, and extreme heat or cold can all present potentially dangerous situations while on the water. For instance, high winds can make it challenging to maneuver your kayak, while thunderstorms increase the risk of lightning strikes. Always err on the side of caution and reschedule your fishing trip if weather conditions are unfavorable.

Beyond safety concerns, weather conditions can also impact the behavior of the redfish you’re targeting. For example, redfish may be more active in cooler temperatures or during overcast weather. Be prepared to adjust your fishing techniques accordingly to account for any weather-related changes in redfish behavior.

In conclusion, when planning a kayak fishing trip for redfish, considering weather conditions is crucial for a safe and successful experience. Regularly checking the local weather forecast and adjusting your fishing techniques accordingly can increase your chances of a rewarding and enjoyable trip.

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