While the redfish bite has stayed steady all summer, it’s been heating up even more lately. The waters around Morehead City are cooling off as air temperatures have starting dropping a little earlier than normal this year. Bait is plentiful, and redfish will spend the next month or so gorging themselves on this abundance, knowing that it won’t be long before the bait leaves the inshore waters.
With so many baitfish around, anglers can catch redfish on a variety of lures. They all look similar to some type of bait that is currently present. Brandon Key spends much of the year fishing in freshwater, but this time of year, he switches to redfish in the Morehead City area, and he fishes exclusively with three types of lures.
“I would never say these are the only three lures that work. I’m sure that’s not the case, but I’m also sure these lures have worked for me better than anything else,” said Key. His lures of choice include Gulp! plastic lures on jigheads, Billy Bay Halo Shrimp, and the Redfish Magic spinnerbait.
“I’ve caught redfish on Gulp! lures more than on anything else, so that is my go-to lure. I usually switch between the 3” shrimp and swimming mullet body styles, and Pearl White and Cajun Purple are my two favorite colors. I use them almost exclusively, but I will change the color of my jighheads often,” he said.
Key said these lures work really well around grass lines and docks, but said he won’t pass up casting them into deep holes at low tide.
“I’ve also been a big fan of Billy Bay Halo Shrimp, and they have a new version out now called the Perfect Sinker. It’s got an improved balance and rate of fall, and I’ve done well with it, especially on the incoming tide. I like to anchor closer to the shore, then cast along the edges of flooded shell banks and flats. I want the Halo to be falling into deeper water that is just off those flats and shell banks,” said Key, who likes to use several different colors of the Halo Shrimp.
The trick, said Key, is to do absolutely nothing as the shrimp falls. “Just cast it and let it fall. Do not reel at all or move it. Let it sink all the way to the bottom. It’s hard to do when the water is 20-feet deep or so, but that’s what you want to do. Just concentrate on feeling it hit the bottom. Often you’ll get hammered on the way down, and that’s what you really want. When that doesn’t happen though, start twitching and reeling once you feel it touch the bottom,” he said.
Key said one lure that he believes many anglers overlook is Strike King’s Redfish Magic. He also said he’s never seen another angler fish it quite the same way he does. “Most folks anchor down within casting distance of the shore, cast toward the bank, then reel it back. I use it the way freshwater bass fishermen use spinnerbaits. I anchor so that I can cast parallel to the bank,” he said.
With his parallel casting, key moves further away from the bank if he’s not getting bites. As the water gets deeper, he slows his retrieve to allow the lure to sink more. He experiments with depths and distance from the shore until he finds the fish.
“If you find baitfish in creeks, redfish will be in there, and they’ll move up and down the banks with the tides. The fish are there. It’s just a matter of finding them when they’re biting. These three lures really help do that,” said Key.
Read more redfish tips at http://www.northcarolinasportsman.com/details.php?id=3234