What Redfish Eat

By design, redfish are largely bottom feeders.  Their somewhat downward turning mouths positioned at the bottom of their head is designed to help them push up their fare from the bottom of the bay.  This downward feeding tendency makes food that hangs near the bottom and in the grasses growing in the bay the prime diet of redfish.  An inspection of the stomach of redfish caught along the Texas Coastal Bend will usually reveal a collection of shrimp, crabs and small fish.

While the list of what they will eat is long, a few of the more desirable food items for redfish in the Texas Coastal Bend are:

  • Crabs
  • Shrimp
  • Mullet
  • Pinfish
  • Croaker

When a search for redfish reveals a school of fish “tailing” in the shallows, this is a result of their head being down pushing through the grasses and sand in search for food.  While a lot of their food comes from this method, they are not limited to pushing up food from the bottom.  Redfish are stealthy hunters and will chase food to the surface and up against structure that prevents its escape.

Redfish are opportunistic feeders.  They do not strictly eat live fish or crabs.  They are just as likely to pick up an injured or fresh kill left behind by another fish, making both live and dead baits effective in catching redfish.