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Redfish are Picky in the Creeks During the Hot Months

Redfish are Picky in the Creeks During the Hot Months Redfish are Picky in the Creeks During the Hot Months
By Jim Hammond

For the past few weeks the reds have been a little finicky when it comes to their feeding habits. Most of the guides I have spoke to in the past few weeks have had little success catching reds in the creeks because the mullet hatch has happened and the reds seem to be feeding primarily on these small mullet and the even smaller shrimp that have fallen from the shy with the big rains of last week. Just kidding about the shrimp falling from the sky, but it seems like over night there has been an unbelievable hatch of shrimp and it is like they fell from the sky because they just showed up from no where and all at once.

I have thrown almost everything that I have in my boat with little success on reds. It seems that unless you make very long cast and work the lure just as it was designed to be worked, the success rate is one or two fish per school, instead of the four to six in past months.


There has been a major mullet and shrimp hatch and these fish seem to be targeting these baits only. I have even placed a fat shrimp in front of reds that were feeding with little success. One of the problems with using big shrimp this time of the year is that there are so many pinfish (TR's), that the reds do not have a chance to get to the shrimp before the pesky pinfish has picked it off of the hook.

The fact that most of these reds are very spooky when in less than a foot of water is not helping matters.

Here is a way that has produced some quality fish for me and several others these past few weeks:

Choosing Your Cast Net

Take your Fitec cast net, I like a six or seven footer in 1/4 inch mesh in the early part of the season, when the baits a small and a 3/8 inch mesh in the later part of the season.

Here are some of the Fitec Nets and some of the qualities of these nets.

The new revolutionary E-Z Throw Cast Net Ring is going to change the way you look at cast netting! Our exclusive patent pending fast and easy one-handed casting design allows anyone to throw a cast net with very little practice or instruction. We have mounted a 10" aluminum ring to the center of our high quality cast nets. The circular shape naturally creates the centrifugal force needed to fully open the net every time. The ring also provides a convenient handle from which to throw up to 50 feet.

Each E-Z Throw Cast Net comes complete with a free instructional video and carrying case. Catching your own bait has never been so fun and easy. Now anyone can throw like a pro in 15 minutes. It's that easy.

This net has a metal ring sewn to the top, which allows you to throw the net just like a Frisbee and it opens in a perfect circle every time. If you want to throw a net but do not know how, then this net is for you. For

those of you that like myself have been throwing a cast net since you were a little boy, or girl, then you can step up to the plate and opt for a net that opens wider and more often that other nets, a Fitec Super Spreader or Fitec Pro Select.

Pro-Selecte' is our Top of the Line Net Series for the angler who needs the very best. The finest net sold in America. Suitable for a wide range of applications and recommended for more experienced users.

  • TRUE SPREAD 6 panel design
  • Spreads to maximum diameter with less spring back
  • Exclusive SPS Japanese monofilament resin netting
  • Superior strength, softer for better performance
  • Special purpose closed mesh netting
  • Traps more bait, reduces gilling
  • Actual 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lbs of lead weights per radius foot
  • Lightning fast sink rates with extra secure bottom seal
  • Heavy duty 24 count 100 lb test braille lines
  • More braille lines provide super secure closure on retrieval
  • Extra long high floating 30 foot polyethylene throwline
  • Great for all water situations; hollow braid for easier throwing
Catching Your Bait

Now you have chosen the Fitec Net that is best fitted to you, get out there and head to a feeder creek or the ICW Go to any creek, just pick a creek. Find a piece of shoreline that is not covered in oyster mounds and ease along until you see a school of small mullet. Cast on top of them, let the net hit bottom, then pull it back in. If your cast was on target you should have some mullet and more shrimp than you can shake a stick at. Most of the shrimp are going to be pretty small, but this is okay, this is the size that the reds are feeding on. Make enough cast to fill the live well and then lets get after it. Depending on conditions and how good your anglers can make a long accurate cast without throwing all of the bait off of the hook or throwing the Jaw Jacker jig into the oysters determines the style of fishing needed to catch these hard fighting reds.

Catching The Fish

If your anglers can make a long accurate cast, then I like to ease along with the trolling motor casting along the oyster mounds, the creek mouths and sight casting to cruising or feeding fish. This style is probably the method I like the most because it takes a degree of skill to make the cast and to know when to set the hook. For this type of fishing, you will need to go slow and be very quite as the reds in shallow water a very attuned to boat noises and once they know that you are near they will either run from you or be very cautious on feeding. I like a six and a half or seven foot Ugly Stik spinning rod, a Shakespeare 3835 Intrepid SS reel spooled with 20 pound test PowerPro braided line and a Jaw Jacker 1/4 to 3/8 ounce lead head tied to the line. Hook the mullet from under his lower lip and come up with the hook through his upper lip. If you hook him just a hair back from his lips, he will stay on the hook better. To prevent from spooking the fish, keep your boat as far away from where you want to cast as possible.

If you are blind casting to the edges, cast along the edge and let the bait sit for a second or two before making your retrieve to the boat. Your retrieval back to the boat should be very slow, keeping the bait in contact with the bottom. I like to make my cast, feathering the line with my index finger to let the bait make a soft entry. I then close the bail, take up the slack as I lower my rod tip toward the bait. For my retrieval, I slowly raise the tip, pulling the bait across the bottom. When I get my rod tip almost straight up, I wind up the slack, bringing the rod tip back down and repeating this process until the bait has moved out of the strike zone. The strike zone is normally from the edge to about ten feet out. When you get out of the strike zone, crank the bait back and make another cast.

If you are casting to cruising fish, look at the direction that the wake is going and make your cast at least 6 feet in front of the fish. If you cast on top of the wake, you will most likely spook the fish and he will no longer be catchable. If you are out of the water and ready to cast and see a fish explode on something, throw your bait past the fish toward the shoreline and quickly drag it toward the commotion. If you do not spook this one, he will be a sure thing to eat your bait.

The other method is to find and area that holds fish, such as a mud flat that you have seen them feeding, a shell bank that holds fish or a creek mouth. Ease up to one of these areas and lower your anchor, very quietly. I like to anchor as far away as I can make a cast to the area that I want to fish. When the boat comes tight on the anchor and it is where you want it, throw out as many lines as you can fish or is legal (three poles per person in Florida). For this rig, I like the same spinning outfit as previously mentioned or an Ugly Stik 7 foot long Ugly Stik Lite bait casting rod with a Pflueger Trion reel spooled with PowerPro 20 pound test. From there slide on a 1/2 to 1 ounce egg sinker, then a small swivel, then a 2 to 3 foot long, 20 pound test monofilament leader with a Daiichi D16Z Bleeding Red hook tied to the leader. Hook the mullet in the nose and throw him to the fishing spot and wait. When the rod starts to bend, let the fish tighten your line then set the hook and hold on.

If you give one or both of these methods a try, you will have some string stretchers pulling drag.

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