We are living in a material world and I am a material… angler. Most of us hate to admit it, but we love our fishing “stuff” as much as we like fishing itself. There seems to be no end to the gadgetry and equipment as companies come out with the latest “must haves”. What’s funny is that even though every so often a product comes out that makes you wonder how on Earth you managed before it’s existence, for the most part, we stick to what we’ve always used in some form or another.
This got me thinking about what I would do if I could only have five baits to target Redfish for the rest of my life. While I have boxes upon boxes of baits of every size, color, and weight, I tend to reach for the same ones time and time again. Maybe one day I will need a pink and purple, glow in the dark, vibrating, oscilating, half shrimp, half mullet, floating, diving, plug with a flashing light… but most of the time it’s much simpler than that.
In this article I am going to share my five must have Redfish baits. We’ll save size, color, and rigging options for another article and talk solely about the style of bait and perhaps a suggestion as to what brand I prefer. 1. Spoon
First I have to admit that I have lost my way in the past and excluded the spoon from my tackle inventory. I believe it’s a classic bait that might have lost favor for a time but never went out of style.
I go to the spoon when I need to cover a lot of water without having to worry about snagging grass. This bait is mostly weedless and allows you to fan cast with a fast retrieve. I almost always pick it up when I am not able sight fish due to light conditions or poor water clarity. I also find it useful when I notice the fish refusing other baits. Chances are that you’ve heard of reaction bites, and that is precisely what the spoon triggers. The fish don’t have time to think about eating it. It just passes in front of them and they pounce on it because they are programmed to.
Photo Credit: www.matrixshad.com
2. Jig / Grub
The jig head / grub body combo has to be the deadliest bait in the marsh. In a matter of seconds you can switch between minnow, shrimp, crawfish, and crab imitations without having to retie. An added bonus is that you seldom have a fish come unbuttoned on a jig head. You can fish them deep, shallow, and in between. You can swim them, hop them, and dead stick them. They are cheap, effective, and highly versatile. What more can you ask for? My personal favorites are Strike King Redfish Magic or Lite’m Up jig heads and Saltwater Assassin or Z-Man plastics.
Photo Credit: www.rapala.com
3. Top Water Plugs
I find that a top water plug is one of the best search baits you can find. Like a spoon, you can cover water efficiently, but you don’t have to worry about dragging it into a shell mound or other underwater hazards and breaking off. When you are scouting new waters you can quickly work through a new area and find where the fish congregate allowing you to come back later and really dial in each spot. While you are likely to miss a lot of fish, you will at least get them to tell on themselves so you know where they live. You also get to enjoy the thrill of the blow up when a fish comes up from below and explodes on your bait. My personal favorite is a Rapala Skitter Walk.
4. Spinner Bait
The spinner bait has a lot of the same qualities that make a spoon so effective. It might not be as weedless as the spoon, but it creates a lot of vibration and moves a lot of water making it easy to find when the water is a bit stained. It also has some of the characteristics of the jig / grub combo in that you can easily swap out trailers until you find the right combination. You can slow roll it, burn it, or drop it right in their face. The bottom line is that Redfish love to snack on spinnerbaits.
5. Popping Cork
While I absolutely dread days where I need to pick up the popping cork, it is so effective that I can’t leave it out. Paired with the jig / grub combo of your choice, it can be a real day saver. When you can’t see the fish, it allows you to draw them in while the bait stays right in the strike zone. I definitely prefer to catch Redfish on any of the other baits on this list, but, I absolutely do not go to the marsh without a Bomber Paradise Popper.
I’m sure that if you ask around you’ll find that many anglers will have a list that is a bit different than mine. I fish mostly in Georgia and Louisiana and very seldom in south Florida so naturally my favorite baits will reflect the areas that I fish the most. We would love to hear from you about what your favorite baits are for the areas that you fish. Leave a comment or find us on Facebook and let us know what you never leave home without.