Stalking Pumpkins on the Flats

Launching your kayak at first light as you make the paddle tword your favorite flat you see wading birds fly by. You feel the cool brisk morning air as the fog lifts and rolls passed your paddles. Your like a predator in there natural habitat. The water is calm and slicked out nobody is around then suddenly one tail, two tails, three, four. You found what your after. A school of red fish feeding off the bottom heads in the grass and there tails waving at you like a good morning hello. You make the perfect cast drop your soft plastic just ahead of them then, bang! Your hooked up and going on a sleigh ride. There’s almost nothing better then sticking a solid redfish and sight casting them on the flats. It has to be one of my favorite styles of fishing it can be very technical at some times and even more diffucult but on the perfect day when everything comes together it can be udderly amazing. When looking for the perfect place to find these pumpkin colored bull dogs I look for a few things. First would be good bottom always look for shallow water with turtle grass and sandy potholes and a mangrove shoreline wih deeper pockets. These fish will hang out in the pot holes waiting to predate on smaller baits (crabs,mullet,shrimp,pinfish etc) as they pass by or down deeper in the deep mangrove pockets. When sight casting for reds I always use a 7’6″ medium light tackle rod with a 3000 or 4000 class spinning reel 10-15lb braid and 20-30lb florocarbine leader. You have to make nearly the perfect cast to these fish and sometimes almost anything will spook them. When casting to tailing reds or reds pushing water make sure to always lead them off because placing the bait in the wrong place may spook the fish or just won’t get any attention at all. Be methodical not always does it happen on the first shot but being persistent is key. Some of my favorite go to soft plactics for doing this are gulp jerk baits, various swim baits and walk the dog style top water plugs. When rigging the soft plactics I use a weighted weedless hook and a loop knot giving the bait as much action as possible. There feeding pattern often changes so using proper technique and switching up your retrieve and bait style is a must. Redfish are a hard fighting fish and will give you there all everytime you hook one. Keep at it learn the pattern for your local water and you will succeed in catching them. Good luck tight lines!

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