St Simons Island Fishing Report 3/7/15

Monday, January 17, 2011

Best Redfish Lures--Part II

The fishing for Redfish on St Simons Island can be outstanding.  This can be said for every state from North Carolina to Louisiana.  The Redfish has become one of the most sought out game fish in the Southeast, known for their willingness to attack many different artificial and live baits as well as their ability to put up an amazing fight.  The dilemma here is that this is no secret, and has beckoned millions of new anglers, tournament fishermen and guides all over the country to seek the Redfish.   Redfish are becoming more wary of the anglers pressuring them and the many types of bait thrown their way.  Our last blog talked about our favorite lures for power fishing, which are great tools for searching for Redfish.  This article will concentrate on getting those finicky bruisers to eat once you have found them. 
In my opinion, soft plastics may possibly be the new #1 bait for fooling Redfish.  There are virtually millions of shapes and color combinations of plastics, and I’m quite sure that on any given day, any of them will work.  To keep it simple, we’ll just key on a few all time favorites, their rigging, presentation and best scenarios for use. 
 Soft plastic jerk baits are one of our favorites for fishing grass and structure.  These can be rigged a few different ways.  One of the most popular ways is to use a 5/0 extra wide gap (EWG) worm hook.  I like the larger worm hook because it gives it a little added weight and casting distance.  This lure can excel whether you have found a school of Redfish deep in the grass, around oysters or on an open mud flat.  The jerk bait makes virtually no sound when entering the water and pulled or twitched into the fish.  Typically, I work this lure pretty slow with a short twitch, a pause, and begin again.  As with virtually all lures, you may have to experiment with the cadence.  I have also seen this lure worked very fast by tournament professionals in South Florida.  The thought here is twofold in that the lure looks like a fleeing bait fish and the Red does not get a close look at it.  This can be an advantage in clear water.  Rigging options include inserting a piece of bead chain for eyes, a nail inserted for weight, glass rattles for sound and many different weighted worm hooks to customize your presentation. 
Paddle tails, plunger tails, the old Cocahoe Minnow and many other soft plastic swimbaits are all in the same category.  These great minnow imitating baits put out a nice rhythmic vibration when reeled.  This can be a major factor when fishing in stained water, grass and any area where visibility is hampered.  One thing we have found out over the last few years is that this bait also triggers strikes just by “killing it” (stopping), or dead sticking it.  Although this lure traditionally has been pegged on a jig head, it too (like the soft plastic jerk baits) excels when rigged weedless.  We typically downsize the EWG to a 2/0 or a 3/0 to match the smaller profile of the paddle tail.  You’ve probably heard me say before that I like to work the bait slow, but about three years ago--fishing with an Alabama Redfish angler--I got my hat handed to me on this bait.  I was doing my typical slow, one inch hops while Alabama Alan was literally burning his paddle tail.  The Redfish went absolutely ballistic, as you could see them wake across 20-30’ of water to hammer his bait at that speed.  This doesn’t work all the time, but it has saved many a fishing trip for me.   
A soft plastic that has lost its luster over the years is the basic curly tail grub.  I still rely on this lure heavily.  I always pin it to a jig head and work tiny, slow, one inch hops.  Typically, I use as light a jig head as I can get away with, and still be able to feel the bottom.  Once again though, I was proved wrong by a fishing partner that uses nothing but 3/8 oz jigs, and swears by them.  He maintains the argument that it is louder, falls quicker, creates a bulkier profile and stirs up more mud.  On that day, he was right. 
Assuming that we have all found our school of Redfish, here’s a few things that work for us.  Naturally, position yourself as far away from the fish as possible, while still confident you can reach your target.  We usually try to determine which way the fish are facing, and make our presentations well in front of them.  Sometimes this requires casting past them, and pulling it in front of their face, or if they are on the move waiting until they get to your presentation before working it.   On days when they are finicky, we usually keep changing it up until they do eat.  Yesterday was a perfect example, as we poled through literally hundreds of Redfish.  Our first cast with a new penny color yielded a good 27 incher.  We threw at probably 30 more fish with different colors with no results.  Finally, red and white jig heads with a white paddle tail did the trick.  That is the beauty of finesse fishing with soft plastics—you can readily change profiles, presentations, weights and colors, and eventually you’ll find what they want.  Presentation is important, and we have found our winter fish have been more cooperative by twitching the bait once or twice and letting it sit. 
I know we’ve made an obvious omission by leaving out Gulp.  This product works very well, and I think most of you are familiar with it.  We typically dead stick or work this bait very slowly.  Along with scented baits, artificial spray attractants have made huge progress on the saltwater side over the last few years.  We don’t use the spray attractants, but we’ve heard they work well, and picked up a bottle of ProCure—just in case.  I’ve also heard that Gulp makes a crab scented spray that is working well.
Tip of the blog:  Please note that we are not sponsored by any lure manufacturer, so this listing is purely our preferences:
1.       Jerk baits: Zoom Superflukes
2.       Paddle tails: CAL  minnows (DOA); Blurp Sea Shad; Fishbites paddle tail
3.       Curly tails: Gotcha Curltail Grubs
4.       Jig Heads:  Slayer Inc.
5.       Worm Hooks: Gamakatsu EWG Monster Worm Hook, 5/0

1 comment:

  1. Some great blogs you've put together. I'm fishing out of Fort Walton Beach, FL and we seem to have a lot of the same conditions here as you describe. I'll definitely put some of your tips to the test.