I hate it, but its been a few weeks since I’ve been on the water – and a long time since I’ve gone on a solo trip. So, I needed this, some “me” time. When I go on these trips I always try to learn something new, like new tactics or new locations. Today, I did both, and had some pretty neat findings.
Starting off, I hit a couple historically good topwater spots and, not even a splash. So, I didn’t stay long after making a few fan casts in “usual” hot-spots it was pretty clear that A. The fish weren’t there, or B. The fish were negative. Either way, in the pre-dawn you only have precious minutes to spare before that big fireball in the sky burns us off the water, so off I went in search of something different. The plan was to try for redfish on top of flooded oyster rakes.
Got to my spot and within the first few casts I hook a decent trout, 16″ or so. Cast over the oyster rake and had a redfish pounce and….miss the plug. He only gave one attempt, I could not get it to come back for more. A redfish has a hard time connecting with a topwater plug, since their mouth is more on the bottom of their face, they have to raise up and belly flop the plug, or roll on their side to get it. If you have heard to not set the hook on a topwater strike, a redfish topwater strike is even more important that you simply wait to feel the fish before moving the plug – even then, they will still often miss it unless they are very aggressively feeding. This is very hard to do because their “take” is kind of like someone threw a kitchen sink in the water.
Well, I made a circle around an island and went 0 for 4 on topwater redfish strikes… There were some crazy takes too: One came out of the flooded grass and raised his whole back out of the water and plunged the plug down – and missed. Another came out of the water completely in a somersault – and missed. That’s topwater redfishing… Anyway, I got my revenge when a very nice trout nailed the plug in very shallow water, a good 20 incher.
So, by now the sun was up pretty good and the water temp is currently 88F and the air temp is over 90. The fish are gonna be deep. I went to a spot where the water peels off a bank over a dropoff down to 15 feet or so. I threw a 1/4 oz TroutEye jig and a BadShad Diesel MinnowZ into the mixing current and let it drop and sweep with the tide. A telltale *tick* of a trout came up the line and a nice trout hit the deck. A few more casts and another nice 19 inch trout. You have to be patient and let the lure make it down to the bottom.
A little later I was working some docks and watching my sounder as I often do. I noticed some telltale fish marks as shown below. These were a good 15 to 20 feet off the end of the dock in much deeper water. Again, around 12-16 ft deep. I backed off and threw a jig upcurrent and let it fall to the bottom and hopped it down through the strike zone. I was rewarded with a solid Thump. After putting as much pressure on it as I dared to I was able to get it out to deeper water and away from the structure. I got the redfish, estimated at 30-32″ to the boat and halfway in the net when it popped out and made another run and popped my 12lb mono leader. Unfortunately, no “after” pic of the redfish to go with the sounder pic.
Deep jigging inshore has intrigued me for a while now. No one else that I know does it. I have had some success in other areas doing this, and I can tell you it’s very fun to “sight fish” using your sounder, then drop down and feel the very aggressive Thump of the fish you saw on your screen.
Give it a try! – Dave
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