Redfish are no longer “second class” citizens
It’s no secret that Texas fishermen worship the speckled trout, anglers will go from one end of Texas to the other looking for that one magic 30” fish could define their angling career.The amount of print that is dedicated to the trout every year in magazines and newspapers is easily greater than that allotted to the redfish and I have no clue why that is, of all the people I have had the privilege to fish with I have never had an angler get mad because they caught a redfish. As a matter of fact most people get really fired up when a redfish strikes, especially on a top water plug because that is chaos in action.
To give you an idea about how much popularity the redfish has gained all you need to do is take a look at the tournament circuits devoted to catching redfish, speckled trout never came close to gathering this much attention or for that matter this much money.
The redfish is easily the best candidate for tournaments, the red is much tougher than speckled trout so releasing fish after a weigh in is much easier and that makes anti tournament crowd happy. Speaking of tournaments and crowds, check out the leader board of the some of the redfish events and see how many die hard speckled trout anglers now have a new favorite fish.
For most of this summer the reports on Sabine have centered on the speckled trout under the birds or chasing shrimp, but lately they all end up with high expectations of when the redfish will gang up and school in the lake. Everybody is waiting on the bigger shad to gather up because the redfish will not be far behind.
I have seen anglers leave birds working over speckled trout to chase redfish blowing holes in schools of shad, I can’t blame them either. To see a herd of center consoles leave a school of trout in hot pursuit of a bunch of surfacing redfish makes you wonder about all that love these anglers profess to have for speckled trout.
Right now is one of the best times of the year to catch these copper colored bruisers, they can be found almost anywhere in our bay system and way up the rivers in fresh water as well. Redfish can be targeted on the flats, in the marsh, in deep water near the channels, or out in the open water of the lake.
Redfish make themselves available to all anglers because they are not picky about what they eat and that plays into every angler’s hands. A favorite method of local fishermen is to throw live shad around the drop offs in the river on a Carolina rig, this technique works good especially if the wind is up and the lake gets to be off limits.
To catch redfish like this you need some tide flow and some sort of structure, a point or flat adjacent to the deeper water is textbook. Another way to catch these hard fighting fish is to sight cast to them as they hunt for food in the shallows. Areas like Keith Lake and Bessie Heights are excellent places to spot and stalk tailing redfish, the opportunity to see the fish before you catch it is a double shot of excitement that has to be one of the biggest thrills in fishing.
Now as written earlier most anglers are waiting for the redfish to really start schooling in the open lake, when this happens all you basically need to do is be in the right place and be able to hit the water with your cast because the redfish will do the rest. Top water, soft plastic, or the Orange phone book, it does not matter what you throw when these fish are really eating because they will flat out destroy your offering.
One word of advice, when you come upon this situation go to a lure that has a single hook because it’s much easier to unhook a fish and get back into the action. It’s also easier to unhook your fishing buddy if the chaos gets too great, and believe me the chaos will be great.
From now until the winter you could possibly encounter a big school of redfish in the lake so be on the lookout, birds sitting on the water, big slicks, or just really nervous water could be your key to some non stop action. Also remember that just because the fish aren’t on the surface they could still be around. Many times the fish will school on the surface for a while and then they will lose the bait, the shad or shrimp will bust up and the school breaks up as well. At this point many anglers will leave the area; this is a mistake because these fish will come back up on top if you just be patient. Hopefully the activity will get cranked up soon and turn into a daily pattern, I know plenty of speckled trout lovers who are anxiously awaiting the return of the redfish.
Photo: Big schools of redfish have begun to cruise Sabine lake during the hottest times of the day. Fishermen willing to wait it out while others go in have been rewarded with some fantastic fishing.