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Channel Bass are Names of the Larger Red Drum

Catching The Largest Redfish During the Late Summer and Fall Spawn

Saturday April 21, 2018

Starting in August and going thru September you'll find large schools of redfish or channel bass congregating for their spawn in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL). Typically the fish will start their pre spawn in early August going towards the beginning of September for a full blown spawn. Other parts of the Lagoon toward south Brevard County and into the Banana River the fish are typically spawn a couple of weeks later than the IRL schools and we speculate it's because of the lack of tidal flow and warmer water temperatures delaying the big event.

A big redfish in this part of Florida is over 30 pounds but there are some monsters that exceed the fifty pound mark and approach sixty. It's no secret to most of the fishing guides in the area when this event occurs and most guides anticipate and observe the event as it unfolds. Large redfish will start grouping into breeding pods and over time the schools will accrue larger numbers until they obtain more than 100 or more fish and then the games begin.

"If you want to catch your biggest redfish, August is a great month to do that in the Indian River Lagoon when the big breeders spawn" explains Captain Richard Bradley

Over the years we've observed redfish spawning habits and believe much of their recent behaviors are dictated by fishing pressure. It's not uncommon to see several boats fishing a school of fish aggressively with electric motors and yelling anglers. In deep waters of the ocean, this behavior is often ignored by fish but in one to four foot of water it's not tolerated well by the breeding fish and after an initial fish or two are pulled from the school they often move away from the activity and towards deeper waters. Moving redfish can be difficult to present lures and baits to for advanced anglers, novice anglers have little chance of making the presentation in front spooked redfish schools. The secret to catching several redfish from a breeding school is stealth from both the guide and the angler. Keeping the electric motor on very low speeds with little variation helps, but a push pole might work better until the fish are moving and then the old Minn Kota is helpful.

I've been fishing for big breeding redfish in the Indian River Lagoon for almost 30 years and it amazes me when I watch these schools start to congregate and breed. Years ago the redfish got pounded by the gill netting industry and their numbers were in decline, today it's a healthy thriving population and each year tends to get better with management from the Florida Wildlife Commission and responsible anglers.

If you want to go catch a big redfish during the August - September spawn give me a call and you'll have a blast watching and catching fish from these remarkable schools of monster sized redfish in the shallow water grass flats near my home. If you happen to catch an oversized redfish during this spawn please safely release so they may return to their normal habit and environment and continue with their mating activities. Big spawning redfish have no table value and should not be considered for their meat when they are this size. The stocks of these breeders assures there will be plenty of channel bass in the years to come.

Tight Lines,
Captain Richard Bradley
Lagooner Fishing Guide

Known as a fish that will not quit, redfish can be absolute brutes. And as such, they have become one of the most sought after fish in the shallows of Florida. Since their protection in the mid 1980's redfish numbers have proliferated and are especially abundant and large on the east central Florida coastline. Redfish have a coppery bronze color with a tinge of red, color will vary depending on water clarity. Normally redfish have one spot on the base of their tails but often there are several or many spots. Take a look at these spots caught by a lagooner fisherman. [LOOK]

East Central Florida boast some of the best inshore and estuary fishing for redfish in the world. Our redfish are renown for both quantity and quality. They are found in the lagoon systems all around the coast of Florida and some are even found offshore. This species is often found feeding in less than one foot of water while foraging for crustaceans, fish and small mollusk. Often they are in such shallow water that you can see their tales and backs protruding from the water, hence the term "tailing redfish".

Best Redfish Locations

Mosquito Lagoon
Sightfishing Mecca from Oakhill to Playlinda Beach. World famous fishing waters in the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge in Northern Brevard County. Mosquito Lagoon can have crystal clear water allowing flyfisherman and light-tackle fisherman great opportunities to sight fish for tailing redfish and other species.

Northern Indian River Lagoon
Banana Creek, Titusville, Carbide Flats, Haulover Canal, Dummit Cove, Scottsmore are only some of the known redfish haunts in this area.

The Banana River has a NMZ or No Motorized Zone in the very north adjacent to Canaveral Airforce Base and NASA property. This are can be extremely productive for big schooling redfish as they are not subjected to motor boats and fishing pressure.


Orlando Redfish
Sebastian Redfish
Mosquito Lagoon Redfish
Banana River Guide Service
Indian River Redfish Guide
Releasing Redfish
Indian River Redfish


Not less than 18" or more than 27" and only 1 fish per harvester per day.

State Record

51 lbs., 8 ozs.

Channel Bass or Red Fish Spawning on the Indian River Lagoon

Reviewed by Captain Richard Bradley on Last modified: April 09 2018 12:47:19.

Published by: Captain of Lagooner Fishing Guides©

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April - 2018 Fishing Report

Fishing Forecast

April - 2018 Fishing Forecast

April of 2018 should be a great spring for fishing in both inshore and offshore coastal waters of Central Florida. Look to the Mosquito Lagoon and Banana Rivers to produce redfish and sea trout consistently and then look toward the ocean and depending on the water temps, clear skies and wind the cobia will be on their way north and migrating past Canaveral towards their northern grounds on the mid-Atlantic seaboard. Central Florida's weather during the spring is usually no less than spectacular as the college spring breakers are winding up the end of their vacation and heading back to campus to finish up before summer break. Daytona Beach host several spring events from NASCAR Races, Bike Week and Spring Break activities while Cocoa Beach and it's Space Coast offer a much less crowded alternative for vacationers to seek a more secluded and restful Holiday. The temperatures are rising and the fishing should be heating up too in East Central Florida's Cocoa Beach.

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Cocoa Beach, FL

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Inshore and Offshore Charter Fishing near Orlando and Cocoa Beach, Florida. Catch redfish, sea trout, tarpon, snook and many other saltwater gamefish aboard the world famous Lagooner flats fishing boat with renowned Captain Richard Bradley.

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