The Annual Redfish Run in Pensacola, Florida
Coming This Fall to Pensacola Bay!
The Annual Bull Redfish Migration (The Running of the Bull Reds!)
Big Schools of Big Bull Redfish in Pensacola Bay!
Some anglers have been fortunate enough to catch a big bull redfish while fishing off the Florida coast. They may have been on summer vacation, out in the Gulf, bottom fishing for Snapper or trolling for Kings but were surprised instead with a big, beautiful, hard fighting bull Redfish on the line. Targeting adult bull redfish in their deep offshore habitat is difficult. Most anglers catch them while fishing for something else. These lucky anglers probably still have a picture of that one trophy redfish and wish they could do it again.
Now imagine catching big bull redfish one after another until your arms give out. It happens to plenty of anglers every year right here in Pensacola Bay. I'm talking about Pensacola's annual Redfish Run that takes place every Fall.
Starting right around Halloween, huge schools of adult bull redfish begin to enter Pensacola Pass from the Gulf of Mexico to spawn. At the same time, the cooler autumn weather is forcing schools of bait fish out of the back bays and estuaries into the deeper, warmer water of Pensacola Bay. Once the adults reds have spawned near the pass, their appetite is voracious. It doesn't take them long to find these inshore bait fish and schools of big adult redfish begin pouring into Pensacola Bay to feast! These schools can number 1000 or more of twenty plus pound bull redfish with raging appetites! They're easy to spot by the flocks of birds overhead getting their share of the bait fish.
Best Months for Catching Bull Redfish in Pensacola
For a few months each year in Pensacola, the annual redfish migration that takes place each autumn in and around Pensacola Pass and Pensacola Bay creates a redfishing paradise. Early bull reds will start showing up in and around Pensacola Pass as soon as the end of August. Their numbers will grow through September and October. The peak months for catching these bull reds in Pensacola Bay are November and December. Like any other species, it's hard to tell how long these schools of bull reds will stick around but the peak season for catching bull reds often extends well into January. Even in February, the fishing for big reds in Pensacola Bay is usually pretty good.
About "Catch & Release"
You'll probably be having so much fun catching trophy sized reds you'll be happy to release them just so you can catch some more! But that's what it's all about, having fun! These big boys (and girls) are breeders and have to be respected as such so we'll be sure to treat every one of them with care to minimize injury. Captain Brandy practices good catch and release techniques so our grandchildren can come back in fifty years and have as much fun catching reds as we do now! By the way, slot size is 18" - 27" and this is habitat for slot size juveniles too!
About the Redfish Life Cycle
The big adult redfish we're after in Pensacola Bay have spent the long Florida summer in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico and have returned to Pensacola Pass to spawn. Their fertilized eggs are washed inshore by the tide and spread throughout the estuaries of Pensacola Bay. Their young will live in these estuaries through their juvenile years. These juveniles are the slot size "keepers" (18" - 27") that are so tasty!
At about 4 years of age they will reach maturity and swim out through the pass to join schools of other adult redfish in deeper offshore waters. By now these young adult males are about 28" in length and the females about 33" in length. Redfish can live up to 60 years and reach over 90 pounds in weight. The Florida record for a Redfish is 52 lb 5 oz! Most of the bull reds we catch in Pensacola are in the 20 to 40 pound range.
If you like catching big fish on light tackle, the Pensacola Bull Redfish Run is for you!
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