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Crystal River Fishing

Pumpkin Patch In Time For Halloween! Fall Redfish

By September 30, 2021No Comments
A picture of Crystal River Florida Fishing Adventures Pumpkin Patch In Time For Halloween! Fall Redfish

Last Updated on September 30, 2021 by Eric Bonneman

There is so much fishing to look forward to in the Fall here in Crystal River – grouper, snook, and others – but, Fall redfish? Let’s talk on that.

The Pumpkin Invasion

Florida inshore anglers have many nicknames for red drum – “flats pumpkin” is one of those. When we look at October, all we can think of is “Pumpkin Patch”.

But what do we mean and why now?

Redfish are here all year, yes, even in the depths of winter (we have a solution for that here). Crystal River is one of those pristine estuary systems that are found along Florida’s coast. Redfish tend to congregate here as a result.

However, in the fall, redfish populations explode in Crystal River, and their size even gets bigger.

You should also note that FWC’s redfish regulations seem to be wrapped around that 27-inch number. Why is that?

We’ll answer all of this in the next section.

a picture of Captain Loui holding a resfish he caught in Crystal River

What Brings Redfish Here In Fall?

Redfish tend to go into spawn along the Gulf Coast of Florida between September and November. And that puts October right in the middle. However, this tends to happen in nearshore waters at depths around 50 feet. Out there, there are schools of hundreds of redfish enjoying their spawning activities.

Did you know that when they do this in these deeper waters they still come to the surface? Well, now you do. It’s an orange glimmering cloud of redfish that is really seen best by air – it’s actually hard to spot by boat unless you run up right on them.

Redfish tend to be at spawning age at the length of over 27 inches (this is why the regs are focused on that number). This means that spawning redfish are bigger in size than the average.

Spawning redfish are also expending huge amounts of energy, an energy that needs to be fed. So, when looking to fill their bellies and recharge they head to the nearest, easiest food supply – the inshore waters.

For those spawning outside the waters of Crystal River, Crystal River is the quickest stop for food.

So, here is what happens.

Hundreds of big hungry redfish hit the flats all at once. They almost look like they are plowing the grass. Resident redfish are also still in the fishery. Combined, it makes for that redfish population explosion I described earlier.

In the end, Fall redfish fishing can be considered one of the best times of the entire year to target them. This makes for perfect timing as the waters are cooling and other species begin to migrate. That said, redfish are by far not the only thing to fish for, but are in focus – especially in October.

Crystal River Fall Fishing: Fish With Us


There, I just switched major gears.

But, picture this.

Right now is the time we start focusing on shallow water grouper. This fishing takes place in waters 8-30 feet deep. Which lands us in the middle ground of spawning redfish movement. This combination makes for epic fishing days here in Crystal River, and if you are looking for the best in weather, fishing, alongside a reduction in boat traffic – Fall fishing with us should be on your to-do list.

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Eric Bonneman

Just a guy who fishes and writes about his experiences.