Fishing for Cold Weather Redfish
In the days to come the weather will move from cool to downright cold. Just because the weather and the water are cold doesn’t mean that fishing for Redfish has to end. It’s just time to change your tactics. This is simply changing where and how you fish. First, start targeting structure in the creeks. It’s a fact that the medium to smaller Redfish move into the creeks when the water drops in the 60’s. This is actually part of their migration process as they prepare for the winter by seeking the protection of the structure and the warmer shallow water that is heated more easily by the sun. Topwater is my choice and will remain my go to bait until the water temp drops into the 50’s. They also look for food in the way of crustaceans that may congregate around the docks and other structures. Since they’re eating less and the cooler water makes them a bit lethargic, you’ll have to adjust your casting method. Also be more methodical. Slow down the retrieve and keep the bait towards the bottom. Remember, you’re in shallow water now and the Redfish are bottom feeders. This is especially true when bait fish are not available. Just keep casting. The fish are still there, they’re just a bit slow.
Now, the larger fish will move out the inlet. Over the years marine biologists have had a number of thoughts as to why this happens and there are still today multiple ideas on the matter. These larger Redfish can often be found in the breakers just off the beach. They are many times running along the beach in large schools. For this, you’ll need a good soft plastic lure drenched in Pro-Cure or any other fish scent. Make sure to use EXTREME CAUTION if you decide to try fishing near or even in the breakers. A single mistake of rouge wave can bring disaster. I recommend that you keep your distance from the breakers and cast into them, let the bait lie and be patient. You may also find that some days the mullet schools may be in just inside of the inlet. This can drive those big Reds in and provide for a great day of winter fishing.
Winter fishing for Redfish can be great to break the winter blues, but patience is the key word. Watch the temps and adjust your tactics accordingly.
Tim Wilson - Coastal Carolina Fisherman e-Magazine