The redfish – probably the most sought after inshore fish in the southeast – is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in shallow water angling. Following these ten tricks will significantly increase your redfish catches.
1. Fish the Tides
Redfish are very migratory within the estuaries and lagoons, and follow the tides to feed on crabs, shrimp and fish in the grassy waters of the flats. Set up shop in shallow water about two hours before high tide, and watch the numbers of fish that pour into the shallows.
2. Don’t be Afraid of Shallow Water
Just because these fish are big, doesn’t mean they don’t love shallow water. Redfish cruise the shallows looking for their favorite prey, so don’t be afraid to fish water that looks too shallow.
3. Look for the Tails
You’ve probably heard the expression, “tailing redfish.” These fish are primarily bottom-feeders, and so when the water is shallow enough, you will see their large spotted tail sticking straight out the water. This is the perfect time for throwing a bottom jig or live bait on bottom.
4. Know Your Seasons
Almost every fish has a preferred water temperature – redfish will move throughout the day to find that temperature. In the summer, fish will be shallow early in the day, and move deeper as the day warms. In the winter, the opposite occurs – fish are deep early in the morning and throughout the night, and shallow during the afternoon. In the spring, the fish will be just about anywhere, anytime, and in the fall will be near the inlets or even offshore for spawning.
5. Use Crabs for Bait
Redfish absolutely love crabs – they’re perfectly adapted for sucking small crabs out of their hiding places. Most species will do, including blue crab, fiddler crab or even mud crabs.
6. Use Cut Bait in Murky Water
Redfish have an excellent sense of smell, and using cut bait will usually get more bites in murky water than a live fish.
7. Use Live Mullet in Clear Water
Whereas redfish rely more heavily on scent in murky water, vision will obviously prevail if water conditions are clear. Using a live mullet on bottom in clear lagoons and on the beaches will result in fish.
8. Use a Circle Hook
When it comes to the strike, redfish are certainly a “hit and run” species, making circle hooks especially effective. When the fish bites and runs, the circle hook will essentially set itself.
9. Use Gold Spoons
For whatever reason, gold spoons tend to work better than silver spoons for Redfish. They will of course bite a silver spoon as well.
10. Use Topwater Plugs Near Bait Schools
When the bait is schooling thick, there is no doubt that there are some nearby predators. Fish a top-water plug near the school, and it will catch the eye of that looming redfish.