We had one goal for our charter: catch Kerri’s first redfish. We started with a modest flounder which was her first fish ever. As the winds picked up, conditions deteriorated. Not to be denied, Kerri kept at it and eventually a rod snapped over! A few minutes later Kerri had her prize for the day, a beautiful upper slot redfish.
As our colder months end, temperatures have been working their way higher over the last few weeks. Warmer water makes for happier fish and the Spring bite will soon be well underway. The usual suspects, redfish and trout, will be our primary targets and both will be increasingly more active. Don’t wait a couple months, grab your rods and start catching now!
Over the last few months, redfish have been doing their best to avoid hungry dolphins. Now they will switch modes from just trying to survive and instead become predators. Redfish remain in huge schools and the most productive fishing will be at low tide when they are concentrated. These fish will be spooky so you’ll want to be quiet and slow on your approach. Sometimes, the best option is to post up and wait for the school to swim within range of you.
If they are being skittish, these big schools of redfish will often turn their noses up at artificial lures. Instead of casting at them to no avail, we’ll fish bait on the bottom. Toss out chunks of blue crab or cut mullet on size 3/0 circle hooks. Place your rod in the rod holder and leave the rod alone when you see the line begin to tighten. The circle hook does all the work for you and when your drag starts to sing you are in business!
The trout bite has just begun. Artificial lures will be your best bet with little natural bait in the water. Fish these lures slowly and try to let them sink to the bottom. These trout are sluggish as well and it pays to get the lure right in front of their nose. Plastic lures that imitate small minnows are a good choice and the Zman 3.75” Streakz in smokey shad is our go to choice. Matched with a 1/8oz. or 1/4oz. jighead, this combination will work well throughout the year.
See you on the water!
Left at first light, excited about a forecast for warmer weather and sunshine. At our first stop, the redfish were clearly happy about the change in conditions too. Put a couple of ten pounders in the boat as well as some in the five to six pound range. Reds ate cut mullet and mud minnows. Able to see healthy schools of reds for most of the charter. Great weather forecast through the weekend!
Left at dark to get as much low tide fishing in as possible. Spent the first two hours targeting large schools of redfish on the flats before they went into the grass. Until it warmed up a bit the reds were finicky eaters, often picking up our cut mullet and mud minnows just to drop them right away. Had several bites on cut mullet and then moved over to the docks. Found a dock holding some beasts that smoked our rods. Even with 40lb. test these reds were hard to get out quickly from the pilings. Nice to see the bite turning up with the better weather.
David had booked a charter in Janauary to see some of the huge schools of redfish building in the Winter. The fish sure didn’t disappoint today! Spent most of the charter at one spot as pod after pod made its way down the bank and over our baits. Whether we had cracked blue crab or cut mullet on the bottom, the rods would snap over every few minutes. The action was so fierce that we even called the trip early and headed back to the landing with good memories and tired arms.
Had fantastic conditions today and were treated to warmer than expected temperatures and glassy calm water. Big schools of redfish cruised up and down the banks sometimes exposing their backs at low tide. The reds happily ate cut mullet and mud minnows fished on the bottom with circle hooks. By the end of the day, we not only had the first redfish of the year but also Michal’s biggest fish ever!
While traditionally this season conjures up thoughts of the holidays, don’t write off fishing until the Spring. One of our fisheries’ greatest phenomenon is taking place as the temperature drops. Redfish are building into huge schools sometimes numbering in the hundreds. Casting into a pod of redfish so big it looks like a dark cloud in the water will make any angler’s heart skip a beat.
These schools form as the redfish’s metabolism slows down with the dropping water temperature and they seek protection in numbers from the faster dolphins. The redfish will try to stay in as shallow water as possible and come up onto the flats at low tide in hopes of evading their predator. In addition, on sunny days, the mud flats will hold a few extra degrees of temperature which attracts these schools as well.
As you might expect, these fish are spooky and if chased will not eat. Once a school is located, it is often best to wait until the school eventually comes close to you. There is nothing more effective now than a chunk of cracked blue crab putting out a scent trail in the water. Rig these baits with a size 3/0 circle hook and it is imperative that the hook point come cleanly out of the bait. Put the rods in a holder and wait until the reel starts singing before you pick it up.
Bait isn’t the only way to catch these redfish. Fly fishermen have an advantage here as flies can land softly and quietly. Darker flies have been working the best with a size #2 black wiggler drawing some fantastic strikes. Should black not work don’t be afraid to rotate over to a size #2 white/chartreuse clouser minnow. As always, aim towards the edges of the school; a cast right over the middle will send the fish running for cover.
Sheepshead, also available, have begun their seasonal migration offshore although there will still be some stragglers around. You’ll want to target these fish around barnacle covered pilings or docks. Fiddler crabs and pieces of oyster have been working well. Suspend your bait vertically next to pieces of structure using a small sinker weight a short distance above your hook. The bite of these fish, sometimes referred to as “convict” fish because of their black stripes, can be difficult to detect. Given their fight and taste though, anglers find them well worth the challenge.
See you on the water!
The Malishenko family joined me for a morning of fishing. First cast and the popping cork dropped right away for Wyatt’s first redfish ever. The corks kept dropping while reds would nibble but not fully take cut mullet on the bottom. As the water warmed that changed and our rods kept snapping over as they inhaled the mullet. By the end of the trip, Dad had his first redfish and then some!
It turns out your can still catch plenty of redfish when the water temperature is in the 60s! We spent the day putting mud minnows out on circle hooks and letting the redfish schools swim over to us. For every fish that hooked up, there were at least ten that nosed the bait and the line. Both Noll and Pat caught their first redfish ever. Pat set the bar high for his personal best with this 12 pound beauty!
Fishing in October was fantastic and we can expect November to be great as well! Chilly nights remind redfish and trout that they had better eat soon or it will be a long few months ahead. Per usual, artificial lures become very effective as natural bait leaves our waters. Take advantage of sunny days and go catch a mess of fish!
As water temperatures dip, redfish have begun their annual phenomenon of congregating in large schools. Schools of fifty redfish will become commonplace and they can grow as large as 100+ in the depths of winter. These fish do become more wary this time of year and artificial lures can spook them on the flats. Instead of casting at the schools, we have been setting out as many as three lines with chunks of frozen mullet on #3/0 circle hooks. Eventually the redfish will find your bait and whip your rods over with some amazing hits.
For trout, artificial lures rigged on a jighead are working quite well. Trout hang together and when you catch one there will likely be others in the immediate area. Lures in darker hues of gray and blue are performing the best when paired with a 1/4oz. jighead. Remember to move your lure slowly as the fish are beginning to move slowly as well with the colder waters. Try to bounce the jighead off the bottom and wait until you feel the resistance of a striking fish.
Popping corks are still very effective for both trout and redfish. Live shrimp can be used with confidence now that the small bait stealers are gone. I’ll attach a two foot leader to the cork and a size 1 circle hook on the other end. Cast along grass banks, over oyster beds and at creek mouths and watch for that cork to dive under! It can be so hard to do but when that cork drops, reel the fish tight and let the circle hook do the work.
See you on the water!