"Two main food sources for redfish are crabs and mullets," says Capt. Charlie Thomason, a redfish pro and guide from Hopedale, Louisiana. "Topwaters look like mullets. They displace the water on the surface and give off noise. Many topwaters come with built-in rattles. The sound travels through the water extremely well and attracts fish. Once a redfish locks on a topwater bait, he's coming and won't stop."
When not hounding mullets in the bays, redfish cruise weedy shorelines or sandy flats, sometimes in water so thin that their backs protrude, making topwaters a natural for tempting spot-tails. Ambush predators, redfish often burrow into weedy pockets or similar cover along marshy shorelines. Anglers routinely see reds "tailing," hanging downward with their tails jutting from the water as they forage for bottom prey.
"I target redfish in water 5 to 8 inches deep," says Capt. Dave Sutton, who guides on the flats at the southern tip of Florida. "When a redfish is tailing, it's not the time to throw him a bait because his head is stuck in the mud. Throw beyond and in front of its projected path. I like to throw about 10 feet beyond and 15 feet in front of it. Often, if you put it closer than that, it might spook. I walk the bait slowly over to the fish. When the tail goes down, twitch it a couple of times."