Home Big Bend General Fishing & The Outdoors

Red Fish Staging

What is the earliest any one remembers the Red Fish to start staging?

Replies

  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,649 Captain
    Just before the full moon in August.  Won't be long now.
  • bunkerboy222bunkerboy222 Posts: 71 Deckhand
    Hey Doc......excuse my ignorance in the matter but I don't know what is meant
    by staging. I do not even want to guess on the meaning......so I would appreciate
    maybe a short explanation of you would.  Thank You
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,649 Captain
    edited July 23 #4
    Fish getting ready to spawn often form up in groups or schools, typically of only one sex initially. It's called staging for the spawn.

    Redfish school up from August through October before they move offshore to spawn in November.  They join up with schools of larger fish that remain offshore year-round.  Once our local reds get over slot sized, they are ready to join up with the offshore groups the following season.  For some reason or other, smaller reds will often be found moving around with the larger staging fish in the fall. These will move inside instead of moving offshore over the winter and become spawners the following year. 
  • bunkerboy222bunkerboy222 Posts: 71 Deckhand
    Thanks for the info Doc.......much appreciated.
  • anglerbros 7286anglerbros 7286 Crystal RiverPosts: 658 Officer
    I always thought they went offshore in summer like snook. Then come in around August September. Didn’t know they went out on November 
  • Jox_in_a_BoxJox_in_a_Box Spring HillPosts: 5 Deckhand
    I wonder how far the reds and snook go offshore. 
  • kingkong954kingkong954 Posts: 664 Officer
    I wonder how far the reds and snook go offshore. 
    I've seen the reds in ~45' of water before. Deepest I've seen some of the offshore snook is only half that, but wouldn't be surprised if they were a bit deeper.
  • SaltygatorvetSaltygatorvet TallahasseePosts: 5,423 Admiral
    I caught a 22” at the k tower years back( 60’). I knew breeders went that far out, but didn’t think a lower slot fish would be that far out 
    You should have been here yesterday
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,649 Captain
    Some fish reach sexual maturity at a smaller size than the majority.  That's what determines their behavior rather than size.

    BTW, nobody knows where or when out local redfish spawn.  All of the Florida GOM studies were done in the Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor areas.  Spawning is done near shore, within a couple of miles of the estuaries and beaches.  The incoming tide moves the eggs and larvae into the estuaries. 

    How far offshore the fish move during the winter through early summer is also not well understood.  They have marked many with acoustic tags, but the receivers are located near shore.  So they only detect the big breeders when they move in close to spawn. 

    We usually catch the big ones between 15 and 60 ft from November through January.  Some seem to move in close and mix with the smaller fish starting in August.  But most of the fish we see staging in schools are just becoming mature.  I don't know of anybody catching 20+ lb fish inshore in this area although I don't doubt that it occasionally happens.  They catch the big ones up in the Panhandle just outside the passes.  I've caught a few about 30 lb offshore over the years. 
  • Salty Dawg44Salty Dawg44 Homosassa, FLPosts: 1,211 Officer
    I don't fish for them too much here, but when I lived in SC, mid to late fall was always the best time for the bigger ones offshore. They were in the deeper inlet channels from mid August thru September, feeding on the shrinp that were leaving the marshes to winter in the ocean. In October they were located about 10 miles out in schools, mainly just off of Cape Romain Shoals in 30 to 35 feet of water. Many were in the 30 to 45 pound range. But my largest by far came in November, 34 miles offshore in 96 feet of water. It hit a split tailed mullet fished slow on a downrigger.

    Once they scattered, I have no idea where the big ones went. but it wasn't inshore ...... There it was just the smaller ones, mostly under 24".




    .

    MY WORST FEAR......THAT WHEN I DIE MY WIFE WILL SELL ALL MY BOATS & FISHING GEAR FOR WHAT I TOLD HER I PAID FOR IT.......

    I may not always agree with what you say,
    but I will always respect your right to be wrong!
  • HammerheadTedHammerheadTed Posts: 1,274 Officer
    My son caught this one in the foul area in the fall a couple years ago. Biggest inshore Red I’ve seen at well over 40”. Can’t imagine how big some of those offshore Reds are. 
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,444 AG
    I have caught a few back in my fish trapping days around 100', they looked like baseball bats and were spawned out.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,649 Captain
    We got this one in about 9' casting plugs for grouper last November.  But I wouldn't call that area inshore.




  • ruttedupbuckruttedupbuck Alachua FLPosts: 62 Deckhand
    Had to be 20 years ago now but I remember heading to seahorse reef with my old man to fish the Spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper, and trout bite during the heat of summer. On the ride out we ran into what had to be 2 acres worth of mature breeding size reds just cruising on the surface. Cool to watch. 

    I’ve caught numerous big bull reds while grouper fishing during the fall, usually anywhere from 45-80’. It seems to me that when you run into one bull red offshore you usually find a ton of them spawning or lost and looking for the others ha. Our boat has caught some of the largest ones will into January and even February. The redfish and flounder will usually share a spawning site from what I’ve seen. The flounder Stack up a month or two before the redfish. 

    I have a small spring hole spot in 90’ about 48 miles that gets absolutely loaded with bull reds every January for the last 15 years. I got a go pro video diving the spot I’ll take a screenshot of the school of reds and post it. Impossible to catch anything else when your on top of a redfish spawn. Had them eat bare 3oz jigheads before. 

    PS I would never travel 48 miles to catch a redfish the spot just happens to have killer gags. Found the redfish by mistake haha
  • ruttedupbuckruttedupbuck Alachua FLPosts: 62 Deckhand
    I have caught a few back in my fish trapping days around 100', they looked like baseball bats and were spawned out.
    Friend of a friend gave me a hefty size notebook from a commercial fish trapper that worked the steinhatchee to Sarasota area. Neat stuff Going through the book and reading all the info from his trips. 

    This particular seemed to mark his pots he dropped vs the structure. Has taken me some time over the years to find the actual structure he was dropping around. Every area he trapped has great spots, just had to find them 
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,444 AG
    we dropped our traps on many things, from live bottom, edges of hard/soft, to a bait ball in the middle of soft bottom.
    BTW it's not just your spring, called it "Bill's Rock" back in the 1980's.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • ruttedupbuckruttedupbuck Alachua FLPosts: 62 Deckhand
    ANUMBER1 said:
    we dropped our traps on many things, from live bottom, edges of hard/soft, to a bait ball in the middle of soft bottom.
    BTW it's not just your spring, called it "Bill's Rock" back in the 1980's.
    It ain’t my spring, nope, I didn’t build it ha. 

    That’s awesome to hear “bills rock” has been providing good fish for many decades. 

    Another good spot I fish not to far away from there was given to me named as “cave”, years later a retired commercial Fella came along for a trip and said he wanted to fish one of his spots from back in his fishing days. He had it named as “Joshua Hole”. About 100’, I haven’t dove it before so not sure what’s all down there but there’s usually some really quality fish, seems to be a giant spot. Familiar with “Joshua hole” by any chance? 
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,444 AG
    Yep, and "Reds Rock" which is within 10 miles.

    Reds Rock was named for a shrimper named Red Sapp, he ran the "Trinidad Gal" owned by the Komehl's in Crystal River.
    He saw a huge school of ARS up on top while anchored up during the day.
    After notifying the fish house, several boat came out of Crystal River and loaded up with snapper.
    Prolly some 40-45 years back.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,444 AG
    I fish trapped all that bottom for 10 years.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • ruttedupbuckruttedupbuck Alachua FLPosts: 62 Deckhand
    ANUMBER1 said:
    Yep, and "Reds Rock" which is within 10 miles.

    Reds Rock was named for a shrimper named Red Sapp, he ran the "Trinidad Gal" owned by the Komehl's in Crystal River.
    He saw a huge school of ARS up on top while anchored up during the day.
    After notifying the fish house, several boat came out of Crystal River and loaded up with snapper.
    Prolly some 40-45 years back.
    Man that is some awesome stuff, I love hearing some stories from commercial guys. You spend that much time on the water you definitely get to experience some cool stuff. 

    Did your or any of the other trappers frequent the 40 fathom break west of the middle grounds? I know that’s a hell of a long ways to go. I just started getting out into that area within the last 5 years. Been searching for some of the big copperbelly gags and larger scamps. A friend of mine Been going  out there for a while and usually always brings back some stud 40lb+ gags every trip. 

    Would love to hear some info about that area if you’d share 
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,444 AG
    No, we mostly fished inside 150' as we targeted red grouper during the summer. 
    I know of a couple of boats that tried it deeper, problem was the time it took the trap to hit bottom and how far off it was from what they dropped on.
    Gags and scamp were a rare catch in our traps but I always marked those in the book so to anchor up at night and H&L for them.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,649 Captain
    What did you guys bait those traps with, Art?  And how long was a typical set?

    I've always been interested in that trap fishery.  But I would never ask those guys any questions when we were hook and lining for money out of Tarpon back in the '70s and early '80s.  They kept the price of grouper under a dollar a pound most of the year.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,444 AG
    edited August 4 #24
    mullet was the bait of choice, didn't take much either, get 5-6 pieces of bait out of one fish, we left the puke in the traps too.
    I had 100 traps and would usually pull and set 2 rounds per day (daylight to dark), sometimes did three rounds if I could get them off the boat fast.
    I put them in 20 trap lines, sometimes it'd take 4-5 miles to get 20 set, other times as fast as we could throw them idling, all depending on the bottom and shows.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,444 AG
    trap boats weren't but around 20% of the total catch, think the longline boats were at 55%.
    We mostly caught red grouper.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • ruttedupbuckruttedupbuck Alachua FLPosts: 62 Deckhand
    Yeah 240’ sure is a long ways down for a trap with a little bit of current. Figured I’d ask! Never get any type of information if you don’t ask haha. 

    The red grouper seem to be doing pretty well again in the northern middle grounds region. Been a while since they’ve been real thick in the northern middle grounds. Back in 2006-2010 common to catch 100ish head of red grouper 20”+ on an overnight trip. 

    Art, see many mutton’s while hook and lining at night in waters 100’+?
  • ruttedupbuckruttedupbuck Alachua FLPosts: 62 Deckhand
    What did you guys bait those traps with, Art?  And how long was a typical set?

    I've always been interested in that trap fishery.  But I would never ask those guys any questions when we were hook and lining for money out of Tarpon back in the '70s and early '80s.  They kept the price of grouper under a dollar a pound most of the year.
    How deep would you fish out of tarpon? I would love to get into some true black “carbo” grouper, my understanding is they rarely make it north of the Tampa area? Seen a few good ones come from west of the middle grounds, not nearly like the carbos from the commercials fellas south of big bend
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,444 AG
    Yeah 240’ sure is a long ways down for a trap with a little bit of current. Figured I’d ask! Never get any type of information if you don’t ask haha. 

    The red grouper seem to be doing pretty well again in the northern middle grounds region. Been a while since they’ve been real thick in the northern middle grounds. Back in 2006-2010 common to catch 100ish head of red grouper 20”+ on an overnight trip. 

    Art, see many mutton’s while hook and lining at night in waters 100’+?
    never caught one, nor a yellow tail.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
Sign In or Register to comment.