TWO BARBS SAFER THAN SIX
Last Saturday was noticeably cooler than the previous Saturday, but outside of a fairly stiff north wind and scattered showers, it was a stretch in terming it a “sure enough” cold front.It did, however, move enough water to push some of the bait out of the backwater and into the bayous.
It was difficult determining just how much it helped the bite in the open lake due to the whitecaps rolling southward, but the bite in the bayous and around the mouth of the drains dotting the river channel definitely improved.Redfish and flounder provided most of the action and the live bait fishermen reaped the greatest benefits, but those opting to stick with artificial did a little better as well.
There is no doubt that I could spend more time south of the Causeway and have a little better luck with the trout, but I don’t mind struggling to locate them on the north end of the lake as long as the flounder and redfish provide a reliable Plan B.There are never any guarantees when it comes to fishing, but we have managed to limit on slot reds on even the toughest of days thus far.
On the days that we have fished only the bayous, a quarter ounce spinnerbait with a red shad or pumpkin-chartreuse four inch Seas Shad trailer has been the ticket.We are catching a few flounder with it as well, but a Gulp shrimp or curly tail rigged on a quarter ounce jig head has worked much better on the flatfish.
While there are a number of factors to consider when picking the best spinnerbait for fooling bass, I have not found that to be the case with redfish or flounder.The only change that I occasionally make is to change blades and I don’t know for certain if it is the difference in the amount of vibration produced or the larger profile of the bait that triggers more strikes.
I always start with a number three gold Colorado, but there are those days when a small Willow leaf is much more productive.The willow leaf doesn’t produce as much vibration, but it yields as much or more flash and is much easier to swim through the submerged grass in backwater lakes.If you are confident that the redfish are holding in a certain area I would give both blades a try before moving to new water.
When we are fishing rock bulkheads it is very difficult for me to fish anything other than a crankbait.The ability to reel a lure down to a certain depth only to have it float back to the surface upon rest not only produces a lot of fish, but minimizes costly hang-ups as well.There may not be a better crankbait for both trout and redfish in our area than the Swimming Image, but any short billed crankbait that will dive three to five feet will work provided you are around fish and have the color they want!
These little crankbaits are just as deadly cranked around metal or wooden bulkheads, over shell and between cypress knees, but they lose some of their effectiveness in scattered grass.For the most part we seem to do better with lures in the 2 ¾ to 3-inch range with a wide body and square bill that produces a tight wobble and a lot of vibration.
The ultimate kick when fishing for redfish in shallow water as far as I am concerned is trying to remain calm after spotting that bulging wedge of water heading straight for your lure….especially when fishing a topwater lure!It is all you can do to keep from setting the hook far too soon, but even when you do….. the error in timing in no way diminishes the excitement of the ensuing explosion.
After having to remove treble hooks from body parts twice in the same week, I dug out several She Dogs that I had previously converted over to single hook baits.It doesn’t hurt any less digging a single hook out, but a single barb is much easier to avoid than three.I initially swapped the stock treble hooks out for Mustad 2/0 bait hooks to make them fish easier through floating grass, but the safety factor is an undeniable plus as well.
I mention this not because of the safety feature, but because I have been catching all of my redfish on these single hook She Dogs and I honestly can’t say that the hook up ratio has been any worse than with treble hooks.I know there is no difference at all when catching trout, but redfish can be a little more difficult to stick with a topwater.If you decide to try it with one of your topwaters make sure the barb of the front hook is pointing towards the head of the lure and the back hook towards the tail.
With the water still high, outgoing tides continue to produce the most reliable action.For the most part that tide change has been taking place in the afternoons, but that is also when the daily thunder showers roll across the area.The best bet for the remainder of the week may be fishing the bayous or river closer to the launches and employing the live bait route.Catching both shad and finger mullet has not been a problem for folks cast netting both Cow and Adams Bayou.
Photo – Solid redfish like this one are providing a solid Plan B.