Redfish for Beginners
By Craig Lamb
The red drum—or redfish—is the most popular coastal game fish from the Chesapeake Bay south to Texas. Red drum favors shallower water that makes this sporting gamefish easier for beginning saltwater anglers to find and catch.
Follow these basics for tackle, locations and tactics to get in on the action.
Redfish are strong and can put tackle to the test. For beginners, a good choice is spinning tackle. You get fewer backlashes and better fingertip lure control than with a casting reel.
Photo Courtesy: Home Run Charters
Rig up with quality monofilament or even better, fluorocarbon if you plan to fish around shoreline cover like a jetty, bridge or anywhere else abrasion can weaken the main link between fish and angler.
Tying it on
Smell and hearing are the senses that attract red drum to their favorite foods. Favorites on that menu are hard-shelled creatures like crab and shrimp. The crushers found in the back of their throats and a downwardly turned mouth provides the visual evidence why crustaceans are a high priority food.
Red drum are oriented to the bottom and will target shrimp and crabs accordingly. As predators these aggressive fish will ambush mullet, ladyfish and other shallow water fish.
For warmer months—and especially during a summer vacation to the coast—go natural with live bait. Live shrimp and crab are ideal when rigged on a popping cork. You can rig your own or find pre-rigged popping cork outfits at the same tackle shop where you purchase the live bait.
You can also use the popping cork when all else fails. The chugging action of the cork is an attention grabber. The rig is fun, easy to cast and beginners get the thrill of watching the cork disappear as the popping cork rig gets pulled the opposite direction by a red drum.
The most universal artificial rig for red drum is the jig head rigged with a scented soft plastic lure. Remember the key is the scent. Red drum feed by smell and the lure must be impregnated with a scent. Berkley Gulp! and D.O.A. Shrimp are popular choices.
For a reaction strike, the soft plastic stick bait is a good bet. Popular choices are the Zoom Salty Super Fluke and Berkley Gulp! Minnow.
Topwater and subsurface casting plugs the action can provide the most fun of all. The classic Heddon Saltwater Super Spook and MirrOlure should be inside the tacklebox of any red drum angler. The twitching, splashing and diving action make these lures irresistible for hungry red drum.
Red drum of all sizes inhabit brackish creeks, grass flats, mangroves, oyster beds, bridges, passes and even beaches. The key is the presence of food. In shallow, calm water look for the telltale sign of the tail of a red drum slicking slowly through the surface.
Choose baits based on the mood of the fish. Use topwater plugs when the fish are actively feeding. Switch to popping rigs when the water is calm or under slight breezes. The deeper the water, the heavier the rig should be.
You can’t expect to have the skills, tackle, and luck without the right boat. Inshore fishermen, and especially redfish anglers, need a boat with plenty of gear storage and space to move around and make pinpoint casts to the fish. You get all of that and more in the Tidewater 2400 Bay Max. This boat is big with lots of room to roam. Large fish boxes for bull reds, dual live wells for keeping shrimp and bait alive, and lockable rod storage for peace of mind. Add gunwale rod holders for quickly grabbing a rig and a console with room for a marine head, and you get the storage needed for the long hauls.
Click here for the spec sheet about the 2400 Bay Max.
Tidewater Boats are designed with distinctive Carolina Flair, setting up the dry ride, to direct waves away from the hull using reverse chines. Tidewater likes to appropriately call that feature the Dry Chine Ride.
Carolina Flair and the Dry Chine Ride are enhanced by another feature adding to the smooth, dry ride. The Corrugated Grid Stringer Vertebra absorbs the shock of waves against the hull in choppy water. Filled with foam to reduce noise and vibration, the stringer system works like a human skeleton to create a rigid, unified construction that tightly secures all of the internal parts. Those include fuel tanks, consoles, seating and storage compartments that are fastened to the stringer system. To ensure a solid, tight fit, every stringer system is customized for each Tidewater model.
Another defining Tidewater feature is the Spray Relief Point. That is the point of impact on the hull deflecting water away from the boat. Multiple SRP areas enhance the characteristic dry ride of the Tidewater.
Composite construction, foam filled hulls, cored decks, and gunwales plus much more quality design, materials and construction are extras that come with the price of a Tidewater.
By taking extra steps not found in most brands, Tidewater has the confidence in providing owners a 10-year, transferrable warranty that covers the hull.
Tidewater stays close to it’s saltwater roots with the manufacturing facility located in Lexington, S.C. Find out more about the complete lineup of models, at tidewaterboats.com. Visit the growing community of Tidewater owners on Facebook at Tidewater Boats LLC.
Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle