Bull Red Takes Angler Chest Deep and Down To The Knot…

Right now is the time to go and catch a bull redfish off the beach.

GON Staff | September 28, 2022

T.J. Tyner with a bull redfish caught off the beach on St. Simons Island.

Late summer into early fall is a great time to catch a bull redfish from the Georgia beaches. T.J. Tyner., of Comer, was visiting his grandparents on St. Simons on Sept. 17 when he found himself chest deep in saltwater and all the way down to the knot on his reel.

“Surf fishing has been a hobby of mine for about 10 years, but I’ve never really gotten serious with it. I just enjoy the time on the beach and the occasional 2- to 3-foot exciting shark or big stingray on the line. This evening started out no different,” said T.J.

After a few hours of fishing, T.J. had managed a few small whiting and one catfish.

“It was getting pretty late, and I told myself one more cast,” said T.J. “So I threw a fresh shrimp on my hook, waded out chest deep and gave it one last long cast.”

T.J. walked his rod back to the beach and let the remaining few minutes tick off the clock.

“About 20 minutes went by, and I saw my rod tip almost touch the sand. Something hit it, and that something was BIG,” said TJ. “I grabbed the pole, set the hook, and the fight was on. I was using an ultra-light rod with only 15-lb. test line, not expecting to catch anything large. At one point I could see my knot on the end of the line on my reel spool. That’s how much line he took!”

October Flood Tide Redfish

T.J. wasn’t going to let this big fish spool him.

“At that point, I knew I might lose whatever was on the other end of this rod, so I jumped in the ocean and got as deep as I could to try and get line back. Luckily that worked,” said T.J.

“I got some line back and was able to get back ahead. At that point I had been fighting this fish for about 30 minutes. I kept letting him take line, then I would get it back little by little. I could tell the fish was getting tired. I had people crowded around me on the beach, rooting me on and seemed to be just as excited as me about what was on the other end. Finally around the one-hour mark, I saw the fish jump out of the wave about 20 yards in front of me. I knew I was getting close. I was doing everything I could to get this fish in, still having no clue what it really was. Finally, he rolled on shore, and I ran down to him. It was a giant bull redfish, the biggest one I had ever seen in person. Some other fishermen were there on the beach freaking out, also!”

Georgia anglers may currently keep five redfish a day between 14 and 23 inches. All other redfish must be released. DNR’s Coastal Resources Division is currently looking at the possibility of lowering redfish limits.

“The fish measured 46 inches and weighed a little over 41 pounds,” said T.J. “All caught on a ultra-light rod on 15-lb. test. It was a true catch of a lifetime, and I’ll never forget the fight and the excitement of holding him. I did release the fish and am currently getting a replica made to remember this trophy redfish forever!

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