Blue skies and clearing water have been the norm for the past several weeks and that’s the perfect combination for sight fishing! To top it off, the flats are littered with redfish cruising the shorelines and sandbars or laid up in potholes.
I prefer soft plastic baits when sight casting to redfish but have also had great success with small topwaters, suspending baits and weedless spoons. Conditions will often dictate what you should use. For example, if there’s a lot of dead grass floating on the surface, you should probably opt for a weedless bait. When fishing clean water over sand, you can get away with a jig with an exposed hook.
In addition to the flats, there are also nice schools of redfish in deeper water around big points, right at the transition from sand to shallow grass. I’ve found the most fish on points loaded with pilchards so, if you run across big schools of them, it's worth a stop and some casts.
The speckled trout bite, which has been getting pretty good, will get even better once the weather begins to cool. I’ve had success in three-to-five feet of water in areas with good broken bottom and fluctuating depths. Look for moving water – you can get fish to bite on both incoming and outgoing tides but they get more concentrated when the water is falling. They like to move out onto the flats and wait for baitfish to flush out and provide an easy meal. Topwaters, suspending plugs, jigs and live bait have been effective.
Mangrove snappers are still hanging around inshore structures such as docks and bridge pilings. You can sometimes catch them on artificial lures but I always use live baits (pinfish, pilchards and glass minnows) when specifically targeting mangroves. Pilchards seem to work best because you can chum with them, but switch to small pinfish if you want to attract the bigger snappers.
I’ve found some nice founder in 10-15 feet of water around drop offs and submerged structures. Look for swift current where you can use a drop shot rig straight under the boat and rely on the current to cover water. Once you get a bite, be sure to feed a little line out and give the fish a few seconds to eat the bait before coming tight and setting the hook.
Remember: you don’t have to keep every legal fish you catch. It can be just as rewarding to release a fish as it is to stuff it in the cooler.
As always, if you have questions about what’s biting, how to catch them or want to book a trip, give me a call or shoot me an email.