A Guide to Sight Fishing for Redfish in Destin, FL

Redfish is one of the most sight-fished species. When in Destin, Florida, you can find a lot of these species to catch through sight fishing successfully! However, it can be challenging to understand and execute if you’re not familiar with sight fishing for redfish in Destin.

Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with our short guide on sight fishing and how you can catch redfish in Destin with practical tips. Read on!


About Sight Fishing

Sight fishing is a fun and unique way to fish for your favorite species. As the name suggests, this fishing technique would involve visually searching for fish rather than drifting or trolling.

Most sight fishing would happen in freshwater lakes and streams, with bass and trout being more targeted species. Since you will be waiting for your targeted species rather than using other techniques, it will take patience and skill to capture redfish. That said, it’s very relaxing to go sight fishing in freshwater!

You can also go sight fishing in saltwater, but the experience is the exact opposite of freshwater. You won’t have as much time to relax, but you’ll get all that heart-pounding excitement, perfect for adventure seekers who love to fish. When inland, anglers will use small and flat-bottom boats with silent electric trolling motors to get specific species.

When going offshore, expect more action and catch a lot of big-game fish. This is where you can get sailfish, tarpon, and redfish, which we’ll tackle below.

Sight Fishing for Redfish in Destin

About Redfish

You can usually find redfish along the rocky, grassy shorelines and shell bars on Florida coasts. One of the best places to target redfish is in the Choctawhatchee Bay, which people usually catch through sight-fishing.

Redfish is a sought-out species because of their size, ranging from 10-12 pounds on average. You can also find bigger redfish weighing up to 30 pounds. Regardless of size, you can bring redfish home to eat, with many anglers also loving their tasty meat, especially when fresh.

Sight Fishing for Redfish in Destin 

Sight Fishing for Redfish in Destin

Essentially, sight-fishing would require you to spot your targeted species in the water. This is not as easy as it sounds, particularly for beginners, as it would be challenging to distinguish fish features under the water surface. This is something that takes skill and experience!

Don’t worry; you can catch redfish through sight fishing with the proper tips. Here are things to keep in mind so you can get a successful catch!


When to Fish

We recommend fishing between 10 AM and 2 PM when the sun is highest. When you have maximum light penetration, you get maximum visibility. Just make sure you’re wearing a glare-blocking hat and polarized sunglasses for protection.

An ideal fishing scenario for sight fishing for redfish in Destin is with clear sky and waters, high tide in the middle of the day, and the wind blowing 10-15 mph from the east to southeast. That way, you can fish incoming and outgoing tides in more locations with minimal to no obstacles that limit your sight of fish underwater.

Avoid cloudy days, as these are like switching off a light switch when searching for redfish! Always go for areas with the highest visibility and to stay as far back as your casting range and vision will allow. We recommend using long fishing rods with braided lines, inching forward if your cast falls short.

Sight Fishing for Redfish in Destin 

The Fishing Posture

Here are the ways you can read redfish in the water.

  • Cruising – Redfish aren’t burning too many calories if they are moseying along with their pectoral fins tucked tight. Meaning they won’t likely eat a lot, especially when experiencing a slow current. Don’t bother aiming for them if you happen to see redfish close to the bottom of the waters, whether napping or basking in the warm mud.
  • Tipping – When the upper edge of a redfish’s tail breaks the surface, it will usually look like a figure eight when the fish is grazing. That means redfish are looking for food so you can throw in your bait!
  • Tailing – When the redfish’s tail is up with the head down, holding a 45-degree angle for bottom-feeding, you have a high-value target. However, it would be best to be patient, waiting until the redfish completes its task. You don’t need to put too much effort when positioning bait unless there are other fish nearby, as tailers have a narrow field of vision.
  • Rolling – When you see belly flashes, that means you’re looking at a happy and relaxed school looking for food. The bigger the school, the more feeding competition, though it can also mean you can spook a lot of fish, be careful.

Sight Fishing for Redfish in Destin

Present Your Bait Right

The presentation of bait is crucial! Elevation will offer better benefits and attract more redfish. Since fish would feed into the current, it’s best to be uptide of the fish’ position.

Select a landing area a bit far from the fish to avoid spooking them, but at an appropriate angle, allowing you to bring lure to the fish, having it look more natural. Ten feet may be too close, so drop your lure 20-30 feet away, giving enough time to move naturally to the fish.

We recommend joining a fishing charter, which will have a crew and captain to guide you as you go sight fishing. While you can go sight fishing independently, you can benefit from a fishing charter who can take you to areas where redfish are abundant and teach you the appropriate techniques.

Sight Fishing for Redfish in Destin

Wrapping It Up

Sight fishing takes skill and experience, but you can get started on the technique and catch a big redfish successfully with the right tips. Remember, every redfish, hour, and scenario are different, so be patient and time your fishing trip at a good spot for more chances of catching one!

If you’re planning to go sight fishing for redfish, consider our fishing charter services! Contact us for more information and see what services we can offer to make your redfish goals come true.

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