Burgers, pizza, Chinese, salads — the familiar mall food court concept parallels the open bays and flats over which redfish forage. Scianops ocellatus is hardly a picky eater, but like shoppers who pass by the dining collectives with varying degrees of preference and spontaneity, diversity defines the appeal.
Redfish are highly adaptive creatures that can thrive in almost any coastal habitat — even purely freshwater reaches of tidal systems. As such, they’ll eat whatever they can catch.
On the front end of a major feeding period, the fish aggressively seek substantial meal items — and lots of them. That could be pinfish, menhaden, sardines, threadfin herring, or blue crabs. Other times, they’re just grazing, leisurely cruising flats, and picking off targets of opportunity like smaller crabs, snails, and sandworms.
Whatever their mood, redfish on flats present some of your best rod-bending opportunities. The abundance of food throughout the water column makes natural and artificial bait presentations extremely effective.
HOW TO CATCH EM’
Sit and Soak: The simplest option involves live baiting with crustaceans or finfish. Rig a shrimp, small menhaden, sardine, or pinfish on a Mustad In-line Circle Hook and fish the live bait over potholes or deep grass with a popping cork. With occasional tugs, the cork chugs to create a predator-attracting sound and surface disturbance.
Chunk baits also tempt reds, so cut a mullet, large threadfin, or blue crab into 1- to 2-inch pieces and fish them over grass or in potholes.
For a more active hunt, use the trolling motor, push pole, or wind drift to cover broad areas and directly engage redfish. This is where a diverse arsenal of artificial baits serves you well. Remember, while redfish are built with downturned mouths ideal for bottom grazing, they’ll feed from the bottom to the surface.
Starting with the topside, the LIVETARGET Hollow Body Mullet will tempt larger redfish and produce absolutely brutal strikes. Walk this bait over deeper grass, along channel edges, and the deeper sides of oyster bars.
For the mid-depths, the LIVETARGET family of saltwater swimbaits offer multiple species options, from menhaden to sardines. Match your bait choice to local forage and, in diverse areas, show the fish multiple options to dial in their preference. Complement the swimbait’s steady retrieves with a LIVETARGET Sardine Twitchbait or a Flutter Sardine.
For bottom presentations, rigging a live shrimp with a Mustad Shrimp Jig Head set through the tail — bottom to top — offers a handy option for probing potholes and broken bottom (sand/grass mix). Definitely an effective technique, but when pinfish and other nibblers steal too many baits, a straight artificial approach yields greater efficiency.
One of your best options is the LIVETARGET Fleeing Shrimp . Essentially a super lifelike shrimp body with a built-in jig head, this bait works well over sparse grass bottom, in sandy potholes and across rough patches with a mix of shell, low rocks, sea fans, etc.
LIVETARGET lures are designed and engineered to build unwavering confidence through measurable success: catching more and bigger fish. Through a highly evolved research and development process, no detail is overlooked and no shortcuts are taken in the pursuit of perfection. Expect nothing less than anatomically precise profiles, ultra-realistic details and meticulously tuned, species-specific actions. By creating baits that look and act like natural forage, they’re no longer baits. They become real.
LIVETARGET is a member of the Mustad family of premium fishing brands. Setting the standard for the global hook market since 1877, Mustad’s mission is to create a comprehensive multi-brand company that leads the fishing tackle industry while focusing on innovation, employee and customer satisfaction, and sustainability. Together with TUF-LINE and LIVETARGET, Mustad continues to solidify its position as a complete sports fishing brand family.