Most inshore anglers agree that fishing on a moving tide provides better results than a slack tide, but what do they do when the few hours they have to fish fall during the high end of the tide? Capt. Stephen Fields of Charleston Fishing Company has a few tips for fishing at high tide that can put quality redfish in the boat.
“At high tide, especially slack-high tide, the fishing is definitely tougher, but the fish are still there and will eat if they see something appealing enough,” Fields said. “Casting out a bait that’s just going to sit on the bottom won’t do the trick. That’s fine when the tide is moving because that moving current keeps the bait active and gives the baitfish or shrimp something to fight against that looks natural and appealing to redfish. At slack tide, those same baits will just sit on the bottom and are barely noticeable. Anglers have to create their own movement at slack tide.”
Fields (843-412-6811) likes to use artificial baits around grass lines on high tide, using three types of lures: soft plastics, spinnerbaits and hard-plastic lures. He said certain conditions are more favorable to each lure.
“It’s a lot like bass fishing, and the key is to really cover ground at high tide,” he said.
When the spartina grass is thick without any open space, Fields prefers soft plastics, especially Z-man ShrimpZ and Jerk Shadz baits rigged weedless.
“I’ll just cast into the grass and work it through and continue fan-casting to cover ground. The redfish like to get into this grass when the water allows, and they’ll hit these soft plastics long before they’ll come out of the grass to look for a minnow just sitting on the bottom,” he said.
When the grass is thinner or has small pockets of open water, Fields like to throw a spinnerbait. Typical freshwater spinnerbaits designed for largemouth bass will work, but they don’t last long in saltwater. Fields likes the DieZel Spin, a spinnerbait built to stand up to the salt and brutish redfish.
“I like to cast these as far back into the grass as I can, and reel it through. It’s just a great bait for running through this grass, and I change the speed of my retrieve to match what the fish want—just trying different speeds until they start biting,” he said.
Fields also likes to cast parallel to the grass lines, and when doing this, he opts for hard-plastic lures like LIVETARGET’s Yearling BaitBall Series crankbaits, jerkbaits and rattle baits.
“Especially when it’s windy, I will throw these baits because they have enough weight to cast them in some wind, and swimming them parallel to the grass line keeps you in the strike zone throughout the entire retrieve,” he said.