The Summer Shift: How Redfish Habits Change with the Warm Weather

The Summer Shift: How Redfish Habits Change with the Warm Weather

As the summer sun intensifies and water temperatures rise, the habits of redfish, also known as red drum, undergo significant changes. These resilient and adaptive fish alter their behaviors, feeding patterns, and habitats to cope with the seasonal warmth. For anglers and marine enthusiasts, understanding these changes is key to appreciating and successfully targeting redfish during the summer months.

Habitat Preferences: Seeking Cooler Waters

During the cooler months, redfish are often found in shallow waters, estuaries, and nearshore environments. However, as summer progresses and water temperatures climb, redfish seek cooler, deeper waters. They move away from the shallows and into deeper channels, passes, and offshore waters. This migration helps them avoid the stress of warmer temperatures and maintain their metabolic processes.

  • Early Morning and Late Evening Activity: Redfish become more active during the cooler parts of the day. Anglers will find the best success targeting redfish at dawn or dusk when the water temperatures are relatively lower.

  • Deeper Channels and Passes: During the heat of the day, redfish retreat to deeper channels, inlets, and passes where the water is cooler. These areas provide a refuge from the high surface temperatures.

Feeding Patterns: Adaptations to the Heat

Redfish feeding patterns shift significantly in response to summer conditions. Warmer water increases their metabolism, prompting them to feed more frequently but often at different times than during cooler months.

  • Baitfish Abundance: Summer sees an abundance of baitfish such as mullet, menhaden, and shrimp. Redfish take advantage of this, often engaging in frenzied feeding activity when schools of baitfish are present.

  • Topwater Action: Early morning and late evening, when redfish are most active, are prime times for topwater lures. The cooler temperatures and low light conditions create an ideal environment for redfish to hunt near the surface.

  • Cut Bait and Live Bait: Using cut bait and live bait can be particularly effective during the summer. Redfish are opportunistic feeders and will readily strike at an easy meal presented in their path.

Behavioral Changes: Schooling and Spawning

Summer is also the season when redfish exhibit notable behavioral changes related to schooling and spawning. As the water warms, redfish begin to form larger schools, particularly in preparation for their fall spawning season.

  • Schooling Behavior: During the summer, redfish can be seen schooling in large numbers, often in deeper waters. This schooling behavior provides protection and enhances their feeding efficiency.

  • Spawning Preparation: Summer marks the beginning of the redfish's preparation for spawning. By late summer, mature redfish start migrating to offshore spawning grounds. Understanding this migration pattern can help anglers target larger, breeding-sized redfish.

Tackle and Techniques: Adjusting for Success

Adapting fishing techniques and tackle to summer conditions can significantly improve success rates. Here are a few tips:

  • Light Tackle: Using lighter tackle can make for more enjoyable fights with redfish, which tend to be more energetic in warmer water.

  • Leader Lines: Employing fluorocarbon leader lines can reduce visibility in clear summer waters, increasing the chances of a strike.

  • Variety of Lures: Keeping a variety of lures, including topwater plugs, soft plastics, and jigs, allows anglers to adjust quickly to redfish preferences on any given day.


Summer presents unique challenges and opportunities for those targeting redfish. By understanding how redfish habits change with the warmer weather, anglers can adapt their strategies to effectively locate and catch these dynamic fish. Whether it’s adjusting the time of day you fish, the depth you target, or the type of bait you use, being mindful of these seasonal changes will enhance your summer fishing experience. Tight Lines!