Here are a few places and situations we like to look for in searching for winter Reds. One of the most reliable places to look is in the back of smaller tributaries. Approach the back of these smaller systems very slowly, whether poling or using your electric motor. Often you will actually see the Redfish. Other times you may see their wakes. There are times when the water will just “raise up” or have a small disturbance. Chances are, any movement in shallow water will be Reds, as there is very little bait around. The minute you see, suspect or approach an area that has Redfish, anchor or power pole down and be quiet. Even if you spook the school, they likely won’t travel far this time of year, and very often will return to the spot you found them on. Try not to be tempted to continually push these fish.
Now that you are stationary, choose your bait and make your presentations as quietly as possible. The lure or bait will need only very subtle movement, if any. The Reds that are hungry will find your offering. Scented plastics really shine in these situations (See Redfish Secrets, Part II).
Along the Georgia coast, another common place to find Redfish is on those expansive mud flats you may have seen at low tide or actually run aground on in the bigger creek and river systems. The bigger a mud flat, the better. You may have to run the trolling motor, pole or drift a long way before finding fish. Again, look for fish, wakes, disturbances or—if the water is especially clear—you may see muds. As in the creeks, stop immediately and make many slow presentations, changing it up often to find what they like. There will be situations where the Redfish may not eat. This happens. The main thing to remember is to move slowly, and be stealthy. It will pay off.
Tip of the blog: For sight fishing, don’t skimp on sunglasses. I like Costa del Mars, but there are many good polarized sunglasses on the market. We prefer amber, vermillion or copper colored lenses. If at all possible, keep the sun at your back. Lastly, as odd as this may sound, rig one pole with a half ounce sinker only. This rig will allow you to make a longer “search cast”. When you lose the fish, or suspect them to be in a spot but can’t see them, throw the sinker- rigged line to that area to “bump” the fish. It will bump them, but is usually subtle enough not to spook or blow them out.