The Hunt for Red(fish) October

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The fall, what an amazing time to fish for Redfish in the state of Florida! How lucky are we to call this place home? I've had some of my best days on the water in late October and early November fishing the beautiful waters of Tampa Bay. Almost all fish are on the move during the fall, including the popular Redfish, which is busy with more than just feeding during this time. Fall is spawning season for red drum, so finding large groups of these fish, and enticing them to take your hook, is easier in autumn than any other season. With the right techniques, you can catch more Redfish than you could ever imagine. That is why many fishermen refer to October as "Red" October.

Fall is my favorite time of year to take the yak out and throw some lines. The sun rises a little later in the morning, the water and air temperatures start to cool off, and the humidity finally starts to diminish. A full day on the water is now both tolerable and enjoyable. With the cooling waters, the fish are more active during the middle hours of the day, making a full day of fishing action packed throughout. Although the sun may not seem as strong as it did just one to two months ago, it's still very important to stay hydrated and preserve your skin. Luckily at ShapeShifter Fish and Friends, we offer the perfect youth fishing shirt to help protect our kiddos from the sun.

For me, Redfish continue to be a gratifying species to fish for in the diverse waters surrounding St. Petersburg. We have vast spans of grass flats, miles of beaches, residential docks, mangroves as long as the eye can see, and bridges of every shape, color, and size which Redfish call home. Often skittish and sometimes aggressive, these hungry fish will eat anything from live bait to cut bait, soft plastics, spoons, plugs, and flies.

Once hooked, they have intense fight in them and they never give up to the very end. Even the smaller reds usually feel bigger than they actually are. If you're lucky enough to get one over thirty inches, hang on for the battle of your life! This time of year there are large schools of big mullet milling around in great numbers.  The chances of Redfish being mixed in greatly increases as the mullet stir up shrimp, crabs, bait fish, and other crustaceans making easy meals for the hungry Redfish.

It's also likely to find both Snook and Trout in these schools as well. I encourage you to grab your closest fishing buddy, go find a school of mullet, and quietly approach them. (There are some really great kayak rental companies in the Tampa Bay area oif you need a lift!) Once situated on the outside of the mullet either flip a live shrimp or pinfish in the middle, or rip your favorite lure through the school. I guarantee you'll hook up with a Redfish sooner than later!

Check out the SSfishandfriends UPF50+ moisture wicking youth fishing shirts. They're one of the softest shirts we've worn, that block 97% of the sun's harmful rays to protect our kiddos delicate skin. The fabric technology also keeps them dry and comfortable for a long day on the water. AND, our Redfish shirt is $10 off for the month of October!

Photo cred: @nickshirghiophotography on IG

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