Sight fishing for redfish is not just fun, but a very rewarding way to fish and catch them. The first thing you will need is a pair of good polarized sunglasses. You want to have them mirrored on the outside. This will keep the glare and reflection from the sun out of your eyes. Most inshore glasses will have the green mirror on the outside lens and a copper or rose colored interior glass. The copper/rose colored interior really enhances everything in shallow water when sight-fishing.
You should also have a long brim hat with a dark underside. The dark underside of the hat will not let the reflection back into your face and under your glasses. The top or the outside of the hat can be any color. You need a buff, not just to protect your face from the sun and UV rays, but to create what I like to call a dark zone. The buff will cover the front and side of your face. Put your glasses on above the buff and your hat on above the glasses. Your face will be totally covered with none of your skin exposed. This dark zone will create a tunnel for your vision that really lets you look deep into the water and sharpens your ability to sight-fish. You should also have pair of binoculars and some type of stick anchor. That could be a power pole or manual anchor such as the Wang.
When you arrive to the area or flat where you're going to start looking for redfish, shut your outboard engine down well in advance before you enter the flat. Shut your sounder off, radio etc. Set your boat up with the sun at your back. Because the sun is at your back you will be able to see into the water column much better, but you do have to be aware of your shadow. So if you're standing on your cooler, your casting will all put shadows out on the water. But you can work angles and cast side-arm to help eliminate that. If have the sun facing you, it will be very hard to see, if at all.
Start looking for the fish you're targeting which is redfish. Look for redfish habitat (oysters, rocks, pot holes etc.), and look for forage that redfish would eat such as crabs, mullet, sardines, or any sign of life on the flat. If you happen to find a combination of these elements, start paying close attention and slow down everything you're doing. Watch, listen and observe!
When finding two or three different types of habitat and structure together this is a great place to start hunting for redfish. For example, on a grass flat you find a deeper cut (could be just a few inches) and somewhere along the cut the bottom terrain changes. This would be a good place to check on different tides. Once you start seeing redfish, you will learn what they look like under different conditions. When looking at objects in the water like sticks, logs, rocks or anything that appears to be a fish you will be able to distinguish whether it is a fish or not, if there is a shadow underneath it. Fixed objects like that sit on the ocean floor (bottom) and there should be no shadow under it. If there is a shadow under the object you're looking at, most likely it will be a fish. They would be slightly suspended off the bottom, creating a shadow underneath them. You will also be able to see the side-to-side motion of a fish, where objects most likely will not have a side-to-side motion unless the tide is strong enough to move that object.
Also when you start sighting more fish you will be able to distinguish the fish's attitude on whether he will eat or maybe strike the bait out of anger. The coloring, position and movement of the fish will give you clues on how to work that fish and what bait or lure you should present to the fish. The famous words 'tailing redfish' are a telltale sign of the redfish rooting around the bottom feeding. Not a difficult one to spot or choose a bait/lure to throw. Tail sticking up, head down. Since the redfish is already concentrating on searching and finding food, his head is in a position that makes it easier to approach. You just have to make sure you do not error in spooking the fish. This is where you should sit for a second and take your time to think about your cast, and the bait you are going to throw.
Thank you for sending in your question to The Online Fisherman. Where you count more than the fish.Captain David M. Rieumont