Summertime Redfish Tactics


Summertime provides anglers with great opportunities to catch some really big redfish. Generally redfish are a lot easier to catch on the extreme high and low tides around the new and full moons. The high tides push redfish into the grassy flats and salt marsh, and the lower tides will pull them out onto the deeper flats to feed. Learning how to adjust your angling techniques to match the tides will greatly increase your ability to find and catch more fish. I will try my best to share this information with you, and then it’s up to you to go out and put what you’ve learned into action.

Let’s start with the high tide when you have plenty of water to get over the flats and closer to the shoreline of cord grass and needle rush. Redfish move into these areas looking for food and cover from the hot summer sun. The best salt marsh shorelines will be the deeper ones. I prefer to fish the incoming tide; however the outgoing tide can be productive as well. Chunk bait is the best for catching bigger redfish.

My favorite cut baits are threadfin and mullet; they don’t get picked apart by the pinfish as quickly as ladyfish, which means you won’t have to check your bait as frequently. To improve your odds even more, chum the shoreline with small pieces of the bait that you are using. Just make sure to feed them enough to make them active, but not so much that they’re full. Next cast a few larger chunks of bait right at the edge rigged with a 3/0 octopus circle hook with a medium size split shot and four feet of thirty pound fluorocarbon leader. Be patient, let them soak, and keep chumming the shoreline occasionally. Don’t forget to hold on to your rod!

My favorite way to catch summertime reds is sight fishing and to chase tailers during the evening low tides. You don’t need a technical poling skiff, just anchor your boat and wade to the fish. The water cools down in the evenings and the reds will push out onto the edges of very shallow flats. With their heads down as they root around for tasty crustaceans to eat, their tails will be waving to you. This wave means, not only that redfish are there, but also they are actively feeding and ready to be taken. This opportunity allows experienced anglers to sight fish with fly rods or light tackle spinning outfits. Generally the first part of the incoming tide is when you will see the most fish. Fly fishermen can use a weighted crab fly to get down to the redfish. If the grass is too thick and the fish cannot see the fly, try using a gurgler to get the attention of the fish. My favorite bait for light tackle spin fishing is a three-inch molting or new penny Gulp shrimp rigged weedless on a lightly weighted swimbait hook.

When the Weatherman predicts rain, don’t be so quick to put away your fishing gear. Overcast, rainy days are often the best for fishing for reds. If the water temperature drops even a few degrees, it can trigger an excellent bite. Just make sure there is no lighting around before heading out. If you don’t have a boat or kayak, try wade fishing for these beauties. Good luck and happy fishing.