They go by many names: red drum, spottail bass, or sometimes just redfish, but you know one when you see it. After all, they’re one of the most beautiful game fish in the world, in my opinion, but in order to catch them you need to use the best redfish lures possible.
Fishing for red drum can be tricky, but they’re a very common fish found anywhere with warm enough water like the Gulf of Mexico or even the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts down to Florida, so if you’ve got the right lures and bait, you’re sure to catch one when you’re near these bodies of water.
You can use all sorts of lures, both hard and soft baits, to catch reds, but the right rig is going to depend heavily on your location and several other factors like water color and depth. That’s why it’s crucial to know what to tie on, and when, so you don’t let that next bull red get away.
This list is the ultimate guide to choosing the right lure for redfish every time, no matter the environment. Keeping these top ten fishing lures in your tackle box at all times will allow you to become the most effective redfish angler on the water.
Best Fishing Lures for Redfish
- Heddon One Knocker Spook
- D.O.A shrimp
- Berkley Gulp! Peeler Crabs
- Berkley Johnson Silver Minnow
- D.O.A C.A.L Shad Tail
- Yo-Zuri 3DB Popper
- Reaction Tackle Swim Jig
- Strike King Redfish Magic Spinnerbait
- Booyah Pad Crasher Bullfrog
- Mirrolure Mirrodine
Heddon One Knocker Spook
First up is the Heddon One Knocker spook which is, in my opinion, the best topwater lure for catching redfish when you’re sight-fishing for them on the wide open flats since the loud tungsten rattle inside will draw in these beautiful predators from a long ways away.
This is a great topwater lure for red drum that I recommend to every fisherman, but thanks to the weight positioning inside, the One Knocker is particularly perfect for beginners who are new to learning how to “walk the dog” with their lure
The Heddon One Knocker Spook comes in 15 different color variations and it’s built tough enough to handle the most aggressive strikes from even the biggest redfish out there.
The D.O.A shrimp is an absolute classic that works like a charm for an incredibly wide range of fish, and reds are definitely not an exception.
These soft bait are made to mimic live shrimp, and they do it perfectly while taking away all of the hassle that comes with keeping real shrimp alive. You really get the versatility of a live shrimp with the reusability of a lure all in one, making D.O.A shrimp truly one of the best redfish lures available for almost any environment.
There are several ways to work a D.O.A shrimp: you can cast out, let it sink, and pop it randomly while reeling in at a low speed; cast it out, let it sink, pop it three times quickly, and let it sink back to the bottom; cast it out, let it partially sink, and just reel in quickly without any popping. For the best results, I always recommend tying a loop knot when using these shrimp.
Berkley Gulp! Peeler Crab
A Red drum will eat all kinds of things, but they are primarily bottom feeders by nature, so it makes sense that crabs rank among their favorite foods, but they can be hard to get in the wild and expensive to buy. That’s why I recommend Berkley Gulp! peeler crabs as the best crab lure for redfish.
Gulp! has never let me down, personally, and I really think the scent that they integrate into their soft baits is veritably effective. These peeler crabs are ideal for catching redfish any time you’re fishing near rocky outcroppings or structures like bridges where crabs tend to hide. All you have to do is drop them straight down, if possible, give it a frequent jerk to get the attention of any nearby reds, and let the scent dispersion of the lure do the rest.
Just like the D.O.A shrimp, I recommend tying these on using a loop knot to achieve the most lifelike movement.
Berkley Johnson Silver Minnow
Spoons are some of the oldest and best fishing lures in the world that have really stood the test of time and still catch fish today, especially redfish.
Unlike a spoon that I would use for a snook, the Berkley Johnson Silver Minnow has an unbelievably useful weed guard on it to help prevent the hook from getting caught up and stuck in seaweed or seagrass where you can often find schools of reds tailing.
The Silver Minnow comes in both silver and gold, usually together in a pack of two, so you can get the best of both worlds. I normally prefer to use the gold spoon during the day and the silver spoon at night.
D.O.A C.A.L Shad Tail
The D.O.A C.A.L shad tail is something that I have been fishing with since I first got into this hobby when I was a young child.
These are great redfish lures because they can be so accurately casted thanks to the position of the weighted jig head at the top, and they’re extremely simple to use which is probably why I liked them as a little kid.
There’s a D.O.A shad tail color for virtually every occasion, so the only difficult part in that regard is choosing which one to go with. Usually, when I’m using a D.O.A shad tail, I’ll be deep in the mangrove forests using a rootbeer-colored shad where I need to be able to cast my lure far back into the roots of the mangroves to draw out the lunker reds.
Yo-Zuri 3DB Popper
Yo-Zuri makes some of the most high-quality, attractive lures for redfish that you can find, and I try to keep that in mind when I see the relatively high cost for them on my receipt from the tackle shop.
The Yo-Zuri 3DB Popper is a brilliantly colored floating hard bait with Yo-Zuri’s special prismatic 3D color technology that flashes and shines just like a real baitfish in a way that red drum can’t resist.
The 3DB Popper is very similar to the Heddon One Knocker and it’s worked the same way, but the main difference here is that the 3DB Popper has a concave tip that creates more of a splash at the top of the water and a bit louder of a sound which helps to get the attention of bottom-feeding redfish.
Reaction Tackle Tungsten Swim Jig
These Reaction Tackle Tungsten Swim Jigs are such amazing and compact redfish lures that you’ll want to keep 10 of them in your tackle box.
These jigs come with a unique weed guard made of multiple thin plastic strands to allow just enough stiffness to prevent snags and hang-ups but not enough to interfere with a fish trying to take your line.
Since they come in weights as small as ⅜-ounce all the way to 1¼-ounce, these swim jigs are my go-to for dropping straight down into any depth of water for a bit of redfish jigging by the rocks or bridge pilings.
Strike King Redfish Magic Spinnerbait
The Strike King Redfish Magic spinnerbait is a very interesting-looking lure that I had major compunctions about trying until my curiosity got the better of me and I bought one. Now, all I can say is that the Redfish Magic is the best spinnerbait lure for redfish out there.
It looks a lot like something you’d use for catching a freshwater bass, but make no mistake, this is %100 meant to catch red drum, and it does it very well by essentially combining a spinnerbait with a shad tail on a jig head.
All you do to work this lure is cast out and reel in at a medium-fast pace to let the spinner and the shad tail do the work. The only problem with this lure is that it is very quick to tangle and get caught on things, so make sure you know what obstacles are in the water before you cast this one out or you may not get it back.
Booyah Pad Crasher Bullfrog
It may seem strange to see a frog lure on this list, and I, too, was skeptical of this lure at first, but once I used it, I realized that redfish go crazy for it in the coastal marshes of states like Florida, Texas, and South Carolina where you can catch absolute bull reds in brackish marshlands.
Frogs aren’t normally what come to mind when you think of bait for redfish, but some of these spottails that make their way far enough inland to the marshes populated with frogs and toads won’t hesitate to take advantage of one quickly skirting across the surface of the water.
Really all you have to do to work these lures effectively is simply cast them out and reel them in at a medium pace across the water’s surface while the two plastic tassels trail behind, mimicking frog legs and enticing the fish to strike.
Mirrolure has always been a trusted name in my angling experience. They make superb hard baits for any game fish you can imagine, and redfish really seem to love their lures the best.
The Mirrolure Mirrodine is a suspending twitchbait that you can use to absolutely slay redfish in deep enough water. Since it’s a suspending bait, the Mirrodine will sink down to roughly 24 inches deep in the water, unlike a floating bait that will sit at the top and a sinking bait that will dive to the bottom.
The suspending action of this hard bait makes it perfect for environments with lots of obstructions along the bottom because it will sink down just enough to float tantalizingly over the beds of seagrass without getting snagged on anything.
It’s important to keep a vast arsenal of tricks up your sleeve when you’re dealing with predators like these that can’t be fooled easily, but if you follow this guide and keep it mind the next time you’re at the store buying lures for redfish, you’ll have no problem slaying them when you make it out onto the water.
When I’m on the hunt for a monster bull red, I like to have something good for shallow water, deep water, grass flats, structures, and more. There’s no telling where you might run into your next potential trophy redfish, so you need to be equipped to handle any situation.