The best tackle gear to catch redfish varies with location, tides, temperature, time of year, and other factors. It is impossible for us to tell you which tackle, which rig will catch redfish for you today – but we can give you a WHOLE LOT TO TRY!

Redfish Gear Index: Reels | Rods | Line | Hooks | Lures | Rigs

The information on this page has stood the test of time. Reds (red drum, red bass, dots) will take shrimp – live or artificial under a popping cork almost any time, but the time you’re out there – it might not work for you. That’s fishing. Once you figure out what is catching fish in the redfish spots you frequent, you’ll have some rigs and lures you can go back to over and over to catch them. Try a lot of redfish fishing techniques – variety is often the key to catching fish!

Redfish Tackle for Catching Redfish All Day Long

Redfish Reels

Let’s start with the best reels to use for Redfish. I’ve said in other pages at Salty101 – the baitcasting reels are super-accurate. They’re tough. They have more power and you feel the fish better. For those four reasons, you should probably always fish with a baitcasting reel. Still, some people – even pros – insist on using spinning reels so I’ll include a couple of those below too. One advantage of a spinning reel is that it doesn’t foul as much (get tangled in a heap). When you’re first learning how to cast bait caster reels, you’ll ‘spool’ or ‘foul’ the line one time after another. If you know someone who can teach you the proper way to cast with a baitcasting reel – all the better!

For convenience, nothing beats a spinning reel. You’ve probably used them while growing up and learning to fish. They’re easy to learn to cast – and you can keep multiple spools to change out the lines quickly and painlessly. I have to make a strong case for the baitcasting style reels though. They became my favorite after learning how to cast because my cast accuracy went up measurably. There’s nothing like the precise accuracy of a baitcasting setup.

The following reels are great reels for starting anglers or experienced pros. And not only red drum, but these reels are also great for landing any fish in the 1-40 lb. class. Perfect for all sorts of fish – Redfish, Speckled Trout, small Grouper, Cobia, Flounder, Snook, Bluefish, and other fish found close to shore. Note, the bigger the fist, the better the baitcasting reels can be.

Penn spinning reel for catching redfish.
Click the reel to see how much you can get it for now.

Exceptional reviews worldwide; Made in America (Seattle, WA.)
Penn Spinning Reel #1 for Redfish

Penn spinning reel, ideal for catching redfish from shore, pier, or boat.
Click the redfish reel to see how much the internet has them for today.

Very good reviews worldwide; Made in America (Seattle, WA.)
Penn Spinning Reel #2 for Redfish

Abu Garcia baitcasting reel for catching redfish from shore, boat, wade-fishing, or a pier.
Click the redfish baitcasting reel to see.

Best Baitcasting Reel 1, Made in America (New Jersey)
 Best Abu Garcia Brand Baitcasting Reel 1

Shimano baitcasting reel for catching redfish. Ideal for fishing from pier, shore, or boat with live or artificial bait.
Click the baitcaster reel above to see.

Best Baitcasting Reel 2, (Offices in USA)
 Best Shimano Brand Baitcasting Reel 2

Redfish Rods

Rod for baitcasting reel.
This little finger grip is for baitcasting rods only. Make sure to match your reel and rod type! Spinning reels don’t have this grip.

Keep in mind, you must match up the reel and rod. If you’re using a baitcasting reel, your rod must match – you need a baitcasting compatible rod. Spinning reels require spinning reel rods to match up.

Another consideration when buying reels is choosing foam or cork. I’ve had both over the years, and I can tell you that I’ve been so much happier using rods with hard black foam over cork. Cork degrades, chips, discolors and breaks off in chunks. Hard black foam – just doesn’t. Up to you, but you’ll get a lot more wear out of the Ugly Sticks below because they have foam, not cork.

Below I’ve put just a couple of rods – one baitcaster and one spinning. These are good overall rods for whatever size fish you’re catching. You can use these rods and the reels above for catching Redfish on small boats, from shore, while wade-fishing, or from a pier. These are not really strong enough for trolling for bigger fish from the back of a large deep-sea fishing boat. There are thousands of rods for sale, and you can go to town finding one that fits you.

Ugly Stick Rods are Great for Redfish

Ugly Stik spinning reel rod from GX2, ideal for catching redfish.
Click the rod to see how much this rod is today.

Ugly Stick 7′ GX2 Inshore Rod for Spinning Reel (Redfish) – Best 7 foot Inshore Rod for Redfish

Ugly Stik baitcasting rod for catching redfish while usine the baitcasting reels.
Baitcaster rod for baitcasting reel – click image to see if you can get a good price.

Ugly Stick 7′ GX2 Inshore Rod for Baitcasting ReelBest 7 foot Inshore Rod for Baitcasting

Redfish Line

A braided line around 20 lb. test is what I use almost all the time. You can go heavier if you want, but 20 lb. braided is the equivalent of even heavier monofilament (clear plastic) line. It’s tough and doesn’t stretch much. It doesn’t snap when it rubs a barnacle, it frays, but that’s so much better than snapping!

There are 2 great braided lines I use for Redfish – Choose One:

Spiderline braided line for fishing for redfish.
Click braided line to see.

Best 20 pound Test Braided Redfish Line – (125 yards)

Green braided redfish fishing line ideal for catching redfish from the shore, pier, wade-fishing, or small boats.
Click the green braided line to see how much you can get it for today.

The Ultimate Braided Line (9-strand 20 lb. test – 300 yards) – See this line here

Best Redfish Hooks?

Everyone has their own idea of the best fishing hook to use for redfish and other fish they like to catch. My idea is that hooks from a company that started showing up online in the late 1990’s – Gamakatsu. I don’t know if they’re Japanese, made in the states, or what, but they are the hardest and sharpest hooks I’ve ever used, so I just stuck with them and still use them today. I buy everything online anymore. I still like to go walk around the Walmart fishing section – but the better prices and selection is found here.

Gamakatsu hooks for catching redfish.
Click the hook to get a pack sent to your home.

Best Size 2 Hook for Redfish

Artificial Redfish Lures

Everyone has their favorites, but to me, nothing beats the following 3 lures. Buy them and stock up on them because they are consistently good producers for Redfish. Experiment with different colors and see what works. What works one day may not work the next. Buy a variety of these colors and test them out. It’s the only way you’ll know what works in your area for reds.

DOA Shrimp lures for catching redfish of all sizes.
Click the lures to see how much you can get DOA shrimp for today.

DOA Shrimp – Best Artificial Shrimp Lure for Redfish

Shad color Rat-L-Trap redfish lure for catching all size redfish.
Shad color works well for redfish. Click the image to see.

Artificial Fish Lure (Shad) – Best Artificial Fish Lure for Redfish

Heddon Super Spook Jr. redfish lure for baitcasting or spinning reels.
This is the clear color – when trying new redfish lures for an area, I always try clear or silver, rootbeer, and pink or light yellow. Add some tools to your arsenal, so you don’t come home disappointed. Click the lure to see other colors.

Heddon Super Spook Jr. LureSee them here

Green pumpkin style plastic redfish worm.
Rig plastic worms like you would a bass jig for redfish. Click the worm to see other colors – I would stick with dark because they look like the mud worms found on the ocean bottom in some areas.

Green Pumpkin Plastic Worms for RedfishSee them here

Johnson's silver spoon - weedless. Ideal for redfish fishing from shore, small boat, pier, or wade-fishing.
Note – make sure you get the weedless spoons. They have a small metal piece touching the hook which bends out of the way when a redfish bites. It keeps the hook from grabbing onto weeds. Click spoon to see. I’d get gold too.

Johnson Silver Spoon Minnow – 1/4 or 1/2 oz. weights – See them here

The silver spoons in 1/4 to 1/2 oz. size are amazing lures and have probably caught more redfish over the years than any lure made. They’ve been making these spoons for a long time – that’s why! Tried and true, you must have some of these in your bag. Use a small and strong swivel to clip the spoon on. Try gold as well – they both work well, change them up sometimes and see if you don’t catch more on one color than the other.

Redfish Fishing Rigs

Best Rigs?

1.) Drop-Shot Rig. For this awesome redfish rig, you need very little. It’s called the drop-shot rig and everyone from amateurs to professionals on the saltwater fishing circuit use it. Super easy to setup –

First, take a piece of 30 to 40 -pound monofilament leader (clear line) about 1 yard long. On one end, tie a 1-ounce sinker – a sinker with pellets inside that makes noise is even better, but no matter – just any one-ounce sinker works. With strong moving water – choose a slightly heavier sinker. If no moving water – less weight, but know that reds love moving water, especially a strong tide.

On the other end of the line, a 2/0 size Gamakatsu hook (see above link) should be tied. About 12 inches from the sinker, create a knot with a loop. Attach your braided line to that loop of monofilament fishing line. Add a shrimp to the hook, and cast out. The sinker holds the shrimp down on the bottom where hungry redfish are waiting to attack. This rig works so well because the sinker isn’t between you and the hook. So, you feel the strike better, and the redfish doesn’t feel all the weight of the sinker when it’s offset like that. A killer rig, and one that you should start with if fishing live-bait.

2.) Popping Cork with a DOA Shrimp (artificial lure). This one is called the Deadly-Combo. Pros started using it to win tournaments years ago after watching amateurs hammer the redfish. It’s also a very simple rig.

Buy a popping cork similar to the one below. The bright color aids your seeing it. The beads and balls around the cork make noise when you snap the tip of your rod gently – popping the cork and making noise to make the redfish hear a noise that sounds like shrimp snapping at the surface.. The popping cork is placed a couple feet from your artificial DOA shrimp. Add some beads to it to make some more noise when you twitch your rod-tip. Cast out and let the DOA shrimp drift with the incoming or outgoing tide in a grassy area ideally. When the popping cork disappears for a second, set the hook and reel in your redfish! Photo below. The line on the bottom left goes to your hook.

Deadly Combo rig for redfish - a popping cork with beads and balls to make snapping noises like shrimp.
Either buy the rig right as it is shown, or make one up yourself and maybe save a couple quarters. These are deadly effective for redfish on the grass flats. At the end of the line is a live, or DOA artificial shrimp lure – vary the color of shrimp to see which gets the most hookups.

Popping Cork Rig for Redfish

Other Favorite Gear


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