By: Eric Henson
With spring rolling in and it being a mildly cool winter, I try to enjoy the cooler weather while it lasts! There are many species to take full advantage of in their wintertime patterns but, one fish that will absolutely test your mind, body, and tackle are good ole redfish! There are many different ways to target this species from live bait, cutbait, to my favorite artificial lures. Out of the three major edible game fish species, they are POUND FOR POUND – THE HARDEST FIGHTING!
These fish can travel in giant schools of up to thousands of fish. However, at this time of year I find them as singles or doubles cruising the flats looking for their next meal. Their diet consists of crustaceans, crabs, and smaller fish pretty much most of their lives, but I’ve seen them eat just about anything that comes into their path and that will fit in their mouth, and they can be found just about anywhere on our coastline inshore and offshore. I’ve seen them where the saltwater begins to turn fresh. Redfish can give themselves away when they are around whether they are pushing a giant wake cruising the grass flats or exploding on bait. Nothing is more invigorating than when you see a school of giant redfish the size of a football field erupting on top of the water and the ocean turns RED! You can’t help but to have your heart pounding out of your chest when you see them coming toward you! And if you are able to get a bait out in front of them, get ready because it is generally going to be game on. Generally, the setup I use for targeting them is a 3000-size spinning reel, 10-20# rods, and 10-20# braided line, 30# fluorocarbon leader. But for the big ones I would suggest go big or go home because they don’t like to give up. I generally start out by using top water style lures first thing in the morning. Then I switch up to soft-plastics like the monster 3X X-SWIM on an open face jig-head swimming them super-fast waiting for it to get hammered!
Remember to take great care of these fish when releasing them and check your local rules/ regulations on harvesting them. In our area, the legal limit is one fish 18-27 inches. Please protect our fisheries so they will be there the next time you are out there and for future generations.