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snwbird fisher

Help With Reds

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Have just switched to a Kayak and I would really like to try and understand why I cannot see, let alone catch a Red. So am asking for advice/help, or maybe someone can tell me what I am doing wrong, or what exactly I have to do to find and catch Reds consistently.

 

Went to Bishops Harbor last Weds for the third time in two weeks, specifically to target Reds. Prior to I read everything posted on the forum including the advice from both Mike (Pickgrin) and Timmy674 on my last post about my trip to Palma Sola, as well as everything I could find about finding/catching Reds.

 

I studied both Google and Bing Maps of the area to get a feel for the areas I wanted to fish and then fished the Oyster Beds, Points and Glass/Sand Holes on the South West side of the Harbor from the launch to almost the Bay itself on the incoming tide. As suggested by Mike (Pickgrin) I fished depths of about 18 to 32 inches using a stick anchor to hold me in place as I moved along the edge of the mangroves. At each spot I anchored, I fan fished for 15 to 20 minutes before moving on. I alternated between a Spook Jr, an Unfair Lures suspending bait (1-5 Ft) and alternated between a couple of plastic's; Voodoo Shrimp, Lil john, and DOA Shrimp. The weather was sunny with cloudy periods, and the wind and swell was from the SSE and increased steadily after about 10AM.

 

And.......I didn't even see a Red lat alone catch one. The total outcome was one Ladyfish hooked on the way back to the launch site, and I couldn't even land that.

 

I realize it is hard for anyone to specifically tell me what I am doing wrong from a "forum post" but any advice about what I should change/do would be appreciated.

 

Thanks all.

 

Snwbird Fisher (George D.)

 

 

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Hey George!

 

My name is Chris and I too own and fish from a Big Rig.  Don't you love that thing?!

 

It took me a long time to realize that sometimes as I drifted and paddled along, I was inadvertently "spooking" the fish.  I had to really take it sloooooow when I was coming across an area that I felt held fish, and in particular reds, which are notoriously spooky to begin with.  I don't know how you are approaching your spots in the kayak, but if you are kind of just cruising and paddling onto them, you may inadvertently be scaring them away, particularly in the shallower waters.  Are you approaching your spots cautiously, stealthily and slowly?  If not, I'm thinking that may help you a whole lot more than you may think. 

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I agree with, oakleaf. I used to spook a lot of reds just by drifting. It didn't matter how quiet or stealthy I was, I would still spook them. Kayaks are great for skinny water and sneaking up on fish but they're still a boat and not a natural object to these fish. Any movement in a kayak can amplify through the water and the fish will also see you coming.

 

Try focusing on fishing for them on the outgoing and pay attention to mullet! Find the mullet, find the reds. Personally, my go-to lures when fishing for reds is either a spoon or a paddle tail. Spoon for a search lure. Paddle tail for just about anything else, especially when trying to find reds in a school of mullet.

 

Just FYI, I've been finding plenty of reds the last couple times I've gone out but they've been reluctant to bite live bait, let alone a lure. Be patient and don't get discouraged. Pretty soon the reds will be eating anything you throw at them!

 

Good luck and keep us posted.

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George, Mike and I fished Wed. also.  We were in a spot where we've caught a lot of reds in the past.  Using both live shrimp and shad tails we came up zero on reds.  We did see lots and lots of mullet but nothing much else.  The only game fish we caught was a 14-1/2" trout. I've never had a good day fishing on the day of a full moon. 

 

Hang in there, be stealthy, and you'll get your share of reds.  Tight lines!

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ok so i sight fish reds a lottttt.  I also just moved to bradenton and have been fishing this area too.  I have some kayak experience, but mostly fish from boat.  So the disadvantage to yak is that you're sitting low.  Is your kayak stable enough to stand in?  I had a big tuna, and predator 13 when i had kayaks.  I was easily able to stand in those, and i mostly did so while using the paddle or stick anchor to pole myself in the shallows instead of paddle.  This made it quiter, and less "water movement" from the push of a paddle on water.  Standing allows you to see more too obviously.  

 

It takes time on the water to know what you're looking for.  They aren't exactly easy to spot.  Do you have a quality pair of shades?  I use costa 580g green mirror and swear by them.  Even then, it take a certain skill to spot more fish.  You'll get use to that.  A lot of what i look for is also not just the fish.  look for water movement.  You will get lucky sometimes and see them tailing.  Right now I've been killing the flats just fishing grass flats and they'll be on the edge of potholes.  Work with the current too.  make it easier/quiter on yourself by mostly just floating with the current in your favor.

 

I am a huge zman fan if I'm not using fly.  Those on a mission fishing 1/16 or 1/8oz weedless jig head is a killer combo that I have gotten a lot of reds and snook to eat.  Im sure you know this, but don't make the lure land on the fishes head when you do see them.  That'll spook them.  Cast a little past them and it gives you room to work the lure whichever way you want to get the presentation in front of their nose without the landing of the lure spooking the fish. Not directly past them though where the line is reeling over their back.  Sight casting with a spook jr might be hard lol.  this is where fly fishing is so great for sight casting since the presentation is so light and won't spook the fish as easily.  But the spook is tride and true for just fan casting around, etc.  i never have good luck with topwater past early morning.  So try out a paddle tail with a light jig head.  Use a few ft of 20lb fluoro leader, and 10-15lb braid.  

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Reds can be challenging. Its why they are considered a premier game fish. You typically have to "hunt" for them. Some days they are just nowhere to be found. And many times even when you find them - they will not bite on what you are presenting.

 

Keep trying the method I described to you before. Come to the flat you intend to scout armed with a ladyfish or 2. Approach it properly according to the wind and tide conditions, and drift across the areas you have pre-scouted that look promising. Watch closely for signs of fish in front of your drift. Water disturbances, splashes, spook poofs etc. A spooked fleeing redfish in the best case scenario. When you see signs of fish in 12"-30" of water that is patchy with grass - it will most likely be reds. Pin up and deploy a 1" thick cut chunk of ladyfish freelined on a 3/0 circle hook. Aim for a pothole when you cast it if possible. Stick that in the rod holder and throw your lure all around. If nothing happens in 15 minutes, start that process over and continue your drift continuing to look for signs of fish.

 

This method will work sooner or later. The more time you spend in the process of targeting redfish - the better you will get at interpreting the "signs" that they are nearby. An experienced eye sees a lot more fish than an inexperienced one. As mentioned - some good polarized shades are a big help.

 

Like Barry said - we were out scouting around in prime redfish territory a good bit of the day on Wednesday and saw not 1 redfish. The catfish sure were prevalent though eh Barry? LOL Some days you are the bug - others the windshield.

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I really appreciate the encouragement and advice from all. It appears I need to perfect and practice what I am already doing rather than starting all over, which is really good to hear. It's also encouraging to hear that those looking for Reds last Weds were as lucky as I was, thanks for that Mike/Bob.

 

Going to go back at it tomorrow based on wind prediction at this point. Here's hoping.

 

Snwbird Fisher

 

George D.

 

P.S. Chris I love the Big Rig, it`s everything my research indicated it would be.

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Have you ever looked into something like a Hobie Kayak? Maybe the paddling is spooking them too much? Also, having your hands free might make your fishing experience a little smoother. I've never actually fished off of a Hobie Kayak, I've only watched a show on the Pursuit Channel that features them. Might be something to look into. They're always giving fishing/kayaking tips.

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