The redfish at this time of the year are spread out more than usual, and will move around a lot based on water temperatures. Some of the best places to find them at this time of the year is in the rivers and canal areas. Many rivers have springs where the water will come out around 72 degrees, keeping the water warmer within a certain distance from the spring exit. Canals and areas with dark bottoms will absorb the heat, as will rocks on the bottom. Cement and metal seawalls will hold heat. You want to fish the west side of a seawall in the early morning hours because the sun rises in the east and warms up the west side seawall. Then from about 1 pm or later as the sun starts setting in the west, you would fish the east side sea walls.
In the winter redfish will gather up around docks. Not all docks are equal though. You want to find the ones that may have deeper and more stable water, along with good forage and current. Some of the older docks are good becasue they have had a long time to build up some barnacles and oysters around them which is great foraging based habitat for redfish.
Also if you find a dock with a larger boat that has not moved in a long time, this would also be good. The vessel not moving keeps the area undisturbed. Docks that are on river bends are excellent, because they create really good eddy areas for the redfish to ambush prey. Another great way to find good winter locations is to go out during the big negative low tides which will occur around the new in full moons. About 2 to 3 days before and after these new and full moons is a good time to explore and find prime fishing locations. You’re looking for docks and structures that are older and falling apart with good tidal current around them. The older structures will have a larger amount of oyster and barnacle buildup on them. You can see the buildup of the barnacles and oysters on the pilings at low tide because the pilings are exposed.
Places where old derelict boats sit or bigger boats that require deeper water to float and have larger prop wash underneath them. The larger props actually cause a dredge sand like ditch underneath them creating a deeper cut with ledges that fish will use to sit in as ambush points. When looking at exposed pilings and structure covered with barnacles, keep an eye out for bald spots void of barnacles. These are places that sheepshead, redfish and black drum have been feeding when the tide is high. Take note of the piling and height that the bald spot sits. This way you can come back and fish it during high tide.
Locations where three or more different type of structures meet. Example: An oyster bar, a mangrove shoreline and some docks at a mouth of a creek dropping off to a deeper water area like a river.
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Captain David M Rieumont
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