Find Sneads Ferry specks and reds in shallow water
September is one of the best times to find the two species of fish that are ready to attack lures in shallow water.
“Everything is inshore in September,” said Allen Jernigan, a veteran guide from Sneads Ferry, N.C. “And you can catch trout and red drum with the same lures.”
Three factors influence the redfish and trout bites. These include weather, water temperature and large influxes of fresh water.
“One day, you might catch 30 or 40 in the morning with topwater lures and the next day only six or seven,” Jernigan said. “Wind direction isn’t important unless it switches. I don’t care what direction the wind’s blowing as long as it’s the same direction for a couple of days. Water temperatures will be in the 80s in September. But weather systems that drop a lot of rain push trout and reds out of inside waters to inlets and the beaches” where salinity is more to their liking.
Concentrate on the edges of dropoffs
Jernigan, who with partner Jason Dail of Wilmington, N.C., finished second during 2019’s inaugural Redfish World Series tournament at Hopedale, La., said he finds September reds and specks at shallow-water spots.
“Reds and trout orient mainly at grass beds, pot holes and oyster rocks,” he said. “Trout also hang around ledges 3 to 5 feet deep. I don’t throw lures to the banks for trout. But I fish the edges of dropoffs and at pot holes. On grass flats, you’ll be going along in 18 inches of water, then come to a 4-foot deep hole that holds trout.”
Jernigan uses 7-foot or 7-foot-2 medium or medium-light rods mated to Shimano Sustain or Stradic 2500 spinning reels spooled with 12-pound braid and 12 to 18 inches of mono leader.
“I usually don’t worry about spooking red drum when I cast, especially big schools at grass flats,” he said. “I cast over them or around the school’s edges. If they hear a sound, it grabs their attention.”
“If they’re not hitting those, I throw Saltwater Assassin curlytail or paddletails beneath popping corks with a 2- to 3-foot leader,” Jernigan said. “Redfish often hit those same lures.”
He also employs She Pups, Top Pups and Top Dog Juniors for red drum, plus 1/4- or 1/2-ounce gold or copper spoons.
“A slow, steady retrieve works best with spoons,” said Jernigan.
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