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September 08, 2008

Big-Time Topwater Redfish Action

Redfish explode on topwater baits in skinny water

Worked with short, brisk wrist flicks, "walking" baits slither across the surface in a zigzag motion as internal rattles or clackers call to the redfish. Some examples include the MirrOlure Top Dog series, Heddon Zara Spooks, Frenzy Walkers, Rapala Skitter Walks and Lucky Craft Sammies. Since they cover considerable chunks of water quickly, they also make great search baits. Sometimes, a fish might follow a lure for a long distance before striking, so work it all the way back to the boat.

"A Spook is my favorite topwater bait for red drum," says Capt. George Beckwith, a guide from Morehead City, North Carolina. "I steadily walk the dog. Constant action often draws a reaction strike as much out of curiosity as anything."

Heavy walking baits sail long distances and cover water quickly, but reds don't always want to chase baitfish. On occasion, a slight pause might provoke a curious fish to strike. While sitting motionless on the surface, the bait still exhibits a mullet silhouette. Experiment with different retrieves to see what works that day.

"Walking the dog for redfish requires a slower presentation than for speckled trout," Thomason advises. "Hesitate about one or two seconds between zigzags. In calm water, reds can easily detect a bait barely making subtle movements. That's what baitfish do in calm water."