• Captain Matt

Catching a Tailing Redfish

Along the camouflaged bottom of Florida's Mosquito Lagoon, redfish tail in the mud in large schools all year-round. This makes Mosquito Lagoon an exciting all year long fishing adventure. These predominately bottom feeders gather in large schools to sift through the mud in search of food while their tails point upward. It is this feeding behavior that has been coined with the term “tailing.” Catching a tailing redfish can be made easy with a little sight-fishing technique.

Sight-fishing for Redfish

Sight-fishing is a technique that involves the observation of tailing redfish in shallow waters. While it is usually easy to spot redfish tailing in shallow waters, waves and current can sometimes hinder your ability to use sight-fishing techniques. Waves and current can provide a more stealthy environment along the jetty. 


When you can’t spot the reds, you can always cast suspending lures. However, clean water, like that found in Mosquito Lagoon, is the ideal condition. The perfect depth is when the skiff just drags slightly when poling.

Baiting for Redfish

The breeding behaviors keep redfish traveling in large schools, while the feeding behaviors keep them tailing. Their preferred diet consists of primarily finger mullet, shrimp and crab. One of the most readily available types of bait are two to four inch mullets, also known as finger mullets. 

These bottom-feeders rely on a keen sense of smell to catch their prey. Cut bait can be advantageous, because it releases a strong scent into the water and lures the school of redfish out of protective cover. Cut bait also avoids the risk of the bait swimming away.


The technique used to bait and cast determines the outcome of the fishing experience. Throw the bait past the tailing redfish and slowly reel it in past their nose. If the fish are on the move, cast ahead of them and directly in their path. The movement of your lure should always mimic the patterns and behaviors of the bait fish. 

The bigger the bait, the bigger the catch! Bating large guarantees when you hook a red, it's a bull. However, bait wisely, because baiting for large fish limits your ability to catch much of anything else.


Florida's skinny waters, such as those of Mosquito Lagoon, are the ideal location to catch tailing redfish. Mosquito Lagoon is frequently titled the “Redfish Capital of the World.” The reason behind the title is obvious here. The Lagoon is dominated by redfish. It's a bar built type estuary along the east coast of Florida from New Smyrna Beach down to Stuart. The ecosystem of Mosquito Lagoon produces a desired breeding and feeding ground for redfish.

Mosquito Lagoon remains a home to redfish all year long. The redfish do not migrate offshore for spawning, and remain within the Lagoon. Most redfish dwell their entire lifespans within a six mile radius of their birthplace. This is one of the reasons why Mosquito Lagoon is home to some of the world's largest redfish. Redfish migrate into flats for feeding when water temperatures rise above 70 degrees.

Code Red Fishing Charters

Want to learn more about catching tailing redfish? Code Red Fishing charters provides an all inclusive inshore fishing adventure in the shallow waters along the coast of New Smyrna Beach and in Mosquito Lagoon. Call Captain Matt Lee at (386) 214-3530!