I’m asked on a regular basis what time of year offers our best fishing for redfish and other shallow water gamefish. I always answer April, May and June. Sure, we have redfish here all year and we obviously catch them all year. So what makes this time frame special, you ask?
For starters the weather is typically beautiful, but for a little rain here and there. The winds may decide to blow some and it usually only lasts a day or so when it does. Most importantly, food for the gamefish is becoming extremely abundant and at a time when they need it the most!
For those of us preferring to fool our quarry with lures or flies our options are broad. The only real limitations to lures is will our choice perform well in the water depth we are fishing and will our choice maneuver well through the grass.
Anglers able to imitate small crabs, shrimp, mullet, pinfish, mud-minnows, pilchards or other generic minnows should have little difficulty catching fish in the shallows. I’ll keep a rod rigged with an Exude Dart, another rigged with a 3 inch mullet imitation like a Slayer SST, a third rod rigged with a Banks Lures Flats Creeper and a final rod rigged with an Aqua Dream weedless spoon. These few lures in a couple of colors each allow me to imitate almost any “fin-fish” in our waters and in the case of the Dart it can do double duty as a shrimp imitation!
Keep in mind the shallows are not the only place to find action during our spring season. Move to the outer edges of the shallow flats to seek out the schooling spotted seatrout. If wind direction and velocity allow drift from shallow to deep or deep to shallow, paying attention to the two foot to four foot water depths.
Rigging a live shrimp under a rattle float is a great way to catch lots-o-trout. In lieu of “real” bait try a plastic shrimp or a three inch grub rigged on a light jighead under the same float. Other soft plastic lures like minnow/ mullet imitating swim baits or a Mister Twister Sassy Shad work equally well and certainly worth a try when the shallow water action is slow!