Most states have slot limits on redfish. At this time of the year, in the spring, you’ll find the smaller, eating-size redfish up in the coastal rivers and creeks near cover. They’ll remain in those creeks because a bull redfish can eat a 12-16-inch redfish.
In Venice, Louisiana, in the spring, the smaller reds may be holding in the canes, near the beach or in the shallow water, ditches and cuts on the edge of the beach. During the spring, the eating-sized reds will stay in schools to keep the big bull reds from eating them. The good news about eating-sized redfish is they’ll eat most anything and lots of it, including small crabs, shrimp and any pinfish they can get in their mouths. They’ll eat live bait, dead bait and/or artificial bait. So, what anglers in some states do who want to catch redfish for their tables is buy a box of dead shrimp and throw out six to 10 pieces of dead shrimp to chum up the eating-sized reds. Then those anglers will look for actively feeding reds coming out of the canes and the marshes. The reds will hang around in the area you’ve chummed, and as long as you keep chumming, the smaller redfish will be there. When you find the redfish, you’ll either discover large schools or scattered schools, but you’ll generally catch more than one in the same location. Eating-size reds in the spring can be found in back bays, around docks and piers.
I define a bull red as a redfish larger than 25 pounds, however, some anglers may classify any redfish that’s larger than the slot limit a bull red. If you’re fishing for bull reds in the springtime, remember that they’re the apex predator in and near shore. Unless there’s spawning or sharks involved, you’ll usually locate the bull reds where you pinpoint large schools of menhaden or big mullet.
As the water warms up in the springtime, those bull reds will be searching for food and lots of it. So, look for them on the fronts of beaches in open water where the beach or a sandbar drops off. The same is true if you’re fishing for bull reds in Florida. They like to run breaklines in search of food – preferably large amounts of food and bigger baits. A big bull red can eat a 1-1/2 pound mullet and even may attempt to eat your topwater lure while it’s eating the mullet.