The Clumsy Redfish

From 8/24/00</font id=blue>

Clumsy is not a word you often hear (if ever) associated with a fish. The first time I saw a hungry Redfish repeatedly slap at a top-water plug; clumsy was the only word I had to describe his effort. To be fair to the Redfish, they are a member of the drum family and their mouth is really designed more for feeding along the bottom, rooting up crabs and smaller fish. During the later months of the summer our creeks become full of bait and the poor Redfish cannot help but chase bait all over the place. They become very aggressive this time of year and will hit a top-water plug with the same fury they attack schooling baits.

Tim and I spent a few summers fishing the flats near in Charleston Harbor from an open water kayak. We were able to paddle right up to schools of feeding fish and watch them in action. At low tide they would chase shrimp and finger mullet into water so shallow their eyeballs would be out of the water and they would still be feeding. After seeing what the fish were feeding on and how they chased the bait, a top-water plug was a natural selection. Not only could we fish the top-water plug in the shallow water without getting hung up, we could actually watch the fish turn and come after the plug. Watching the fish try to get the plug was the exciting part. The fish would take several swipes before actually getting the plug in their mouth and when they did water flew everywhere. There is something about catching a 6-8 lb. fish in 6 inches of water that is hard to describe. Here are a few tips we have learned along the way through trial and error and talking with other fishermen.

I prefer to use top-water tackle in the early morning or just before dark. The Redfish are more aggressive at these times of day and will be much more likely to feed on a surface bait. Fishing the last hour of outgoing and the first hour of incoming are the most productive for this type of fishing because of the type of places we generally find the fish. Look for a small