What Does Redfish Eat? – Interesting Facts About Our Popular Red Aquatic Friend

Redfish is a type of inshore fish that can be found in the United States the Southern coast of Texas to Virginia and as far into the Keys. Redfish is a general term but there are different types to be found, each main species of redfish then have sub-species beneath them. In this article, we will discuss what a redfish is, what redfish eats, and other nifty little factoids in between.

Unlike catfishs or minnows, most redfish species spend their early life near the shore. As they grow into maturity they will then shift to the outer beaches. However, not all redfish returns to the ocean. Some will stay permanently in one specific area from birth to adulthood. Such as the redfish found in the Indian River Lagoon.

This breed of redfish will stick to this area even after they hit maturity. The reason is that this particular area is ripe with food and is another reason why the redfish found in this location grow to amazing sizes.

When you say redfish, you have to understand that there is a wide variety of this species. The type of redfish will depend on the region you are in. In actuality, there are four main types of redfish to be found in the United States.

Redfish Diet

Carnivorous in nature, most redfish species feed on smaller aquatic animals. The common diet of most redfish breed is shrimp, clams, worms, and crabs. Larger redfish breeds prefer a steady diet of blue crabs.

Obviously, if you have one in your aquarium feeding them a steady stream of shrimp and crab is not financially smart. You might want to check out fish pellets like the TetraPond Koi Vibrance Floating Pond Sticks.

Four Main Species of Redfish

Now, we will go through 4 main species that you need to know about redfish!

1. Red Snappers

The most common species of redfish is the red snapper. This species of redfish is commonly found around the Gulf of Mexico. However, they have also been found to swim as far up north as Massachusetts but only during rare occurrences.

The red snappers can be distinguished by their light red color. A more intense streak of red can be found on their back and they have a pale white belly. The red snapper is a huge breed of redfish and can grow up to 39 inches in length.

The heaviest recorded red snapper was around 85 pounds. The red snappers prefer aquatic environments that have a reef-like appearance. They are also picky eaters and catching one needs a slew of patience and skill.

2. Red Drum 

The second most popular species of redfish is the red drum. Similar to the red snapper, the red drum also prefers the Gulf of Mexico as its main habitat but they can also be found swimming around the coast of Florida.

Just like the red snapper, they have been found swimming as far as Massachusetts but they are extremely rare in these parts.Young red drums prefer to hang out in the marsh areas of the bay. Once they hit maturity they will move to rocky areas like jetties and man-made structures.

See a School of Red Drum swimming into the water

As for the appearance of the red drum, they have a reddish brown color which fades to white on their belly. Most will have a black little spot located near their tail and the base of their body. Some will have more than two but this is a rare case.As of 2007, the red drum has been a protected game fish and commercial fishing of this breed is prohibited in most states.

3. Rose Fish 

The Rose Fish can be found in the North Atlantic. These are deep dwellers and prefer bodies of water that can dip down to 3,000 feet. An adult Rose fish have a bright red appearance while younger ones will start off with a light brownish hue. They can also grow up to a meter but usually grow to about half of that.

4. Acadian Redfish

Like the Rose Fish, the Acadian Redfish prefers colder bodies of water. They can be found in Virginia but are also native to Iceland and Greenland. However, they do not go as deep underwater as the Rose Fish with their maximum depth to be around 1,600 feet. They prefer to hunt for food in the rocky seabeds.

Click to see the Acadian Redfish...

The Acadian Redfish are significantly easier to catch than the Red Snapper and are quite delicious delicacies. The overfishing of the Acadian redfish forced it to become endangered until 2012 when it was declared out of the endangered list.

If you drop by in Maine make sure to check out their delicacies as redfish is a popular meal there.

Catching Redfish

Catching redfish can be easy if you know what type of bait they prefer. Most will always go for worms, shrimp and crab baits. The red snapper is a little more elusive that other breeds so you will definitely need a lot of patience if you want to catch one. 

A simple TIP for catching redfish is by recording the season and the tide of when they are most common. Chances are this will be the same all year round so planning your fishing trip can help greatly."


To help you get started here are a couple of tips you should keep in mind when catching redfish:

1. Mind the Temperature

Like all other fish, redfish will prefer specific temperatures and will move about throughout the year.

For example, during summer you will most likely find redfish in shallow water early in the morning. They will move to deeper parts as the day goes on. During winter the complete opposite occurs as redfish will prefer deeper parts early in the day and move to shallow parts in the afternoon.

2. Use spinner baits

Most fishermen recommend spinner baits, baitcasting reel when catching redfish. They also suggest you try “bubbling” the lure. This is a technique where you make the lure jump up and down near the surface is a steady manner as you retrieve it. This technique is best used in shallow waters.

3. Learn how to look for redfish’s food

Knowing where baitfish are located is an essential fisherman skill. In order to help you locate a school of baitfish, try to look for birds that are diving into the body of water. This most likely means there are baitfish there and with baitfish around a redfish is not too far behind.

Here’s a quick video on some important tips you should consider when catching redfish.

Final Thoughts

When it comes redfish, it is important for you to know just what species you want to catch. Depending on the area you are in, you can encounter one of the four main species. The red snapper, as we have discussed earlier will be the toughest one to catch as they are picky eaters. They are also quite delicious and is a popular seafood in certain states in the US.

Caring for redfish is fairly simple though as most any fish food will suffice as long as they offer enough nutrition like protein. The TetraPond Koi Vibrance Floating Pond Sticks is a good example as they are fairly large pellets are packed full with said nutrients.

You should also consider the water temperature in your aquarium. Some redfish species prefer colder waters but these ones also prefer deep and dark environments and will most likely not prefer the confines of a tank.

As always, please comment down below if you have any questions or anything you might like to add to the discussion. Happy fishing!

Kevin Smith

About the Author

Kevin Smith

Ahoy there! The name’s Kevin Smith, the proprietor of this little travel and outdoors blog. The outdoors has always been a passion of mine since I was a kid as my parents were avid campers themselves. They taught me everything I know when it comes to camping, hiking etc. and I would like to do my part by imparting my know-how to like-minded individuals who enjoy the same hobby as me. I started this website in the hopes of helping other people when it comes to answering questions, giving tips and recommendations focusing on the camping niche. Along with some close friends of mine, we are here to help you make the most out of your outdoor experience. Enjoy your stay and enjoy the wild side!

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