By Capt. Gus Cane
A variety of baits—live or dead—will entice redfish, which have a keen sense of smell. But artificial enthusiasts can get in on the fun, too. These three lures consistently put red drum in the boat:
The Go-To lure for guides and tournament anglers is the venerable weedless spoon. Designed to flutter like a scuttling crab or wounded baitfish, a spoon is an effective search bait to locate the fish since it can be fan-cast in all directions to cover a lot of water. Find one redfish and others are usually in the vicinity. Spoons should be retrieved at a slower pace to impart the most action and to cover the lower part of the water column. The twisting action does tend to twist the line, so adding a ball-bearing swivel to the lure itself or the leader will help eliminate problems. Gold is the top color choice, although don’t discount silver or chartreuse patterns for clearer water or pink in tannin-stained areas.
Minnow jigs are another fake that mimic mud minnows and finger mullet, two favorites in the redfish diet. These soft plastics can be rigged a number of ways, including with standard lead jig heads (go as light as the depth will allow) or weedless with swim bait hooks. Pinning them on a spinner blade rig also adds flash and vibration to draw the targets in. Natural patterns like olive/pearl or black/pearl are seldom refused. New penny and root beer are more good options.
With their underslung mouths, redfish have difficulty eating a lure on top. But that doesn’t stop them from trying and the visual thrill is worth that alone. Smaller plugs with internal rattles to create noise and commotion will have the fish humping up and inhaling ones that dart side-to-side in the retrieve commonly referred to as “Walking the dog.”
You can carry huge tackle boxes full of lures on the boat. But if you’re seriously about success, a handful of the above will generally out-perform all others.